Nathan Phillips to Speak on Environmental Effects of Gas Leaks at 2017 Newton Inspires on November 13

On Monday, November 13 from  7-9:30pm at Newton South High School (140 Brandeis Rd, Newton Centre), Newton resident Nathan G. Phillips, Professor in the Department of Earth & Environment at Boston University, will speak on “Cooking the Planet, One Meal at a Time” at Newton Schools Foundation’s seventh annual Newton Inspires: An Evening of Ideas and Community.

Hear Nathan speak about how cooking — what makes humans social—has been co-opted as a metaphor for planetary destruction. In his talk, he will reclaim cooking — in a new way — as one of our keys to saving the planet, and doing it with gastronomic delight.

Trained as a tree physiologist and forest ecologist, Nathan Phillips spent the first 15 years of his career studying the “plumbing of trees” — how the tallest trees in the world move water to their crowns and draw carbon down from the atmosphere, and how they may fare under climate change. A chance meeting in 2010 in Auburndale revealed to Nathan how public street trees are killed by gas leaks—and became a wormhole to other dimensions of gas leaks impacts including emissions of methane-as-a-greenhouse-gas-on-steroids, air quality, and even explosions. The last seven years of Nathan’s research has been a journey in documenting a multi-faceted environmental and climate problems of gas leaks while grasping for solutions.

Nathan found allies and solutions in a grassroots coalition of statewide climate advocates, which has come to be known as the Gas Leak Allies, led by the powerhouse climate action group Mothers Out Front, allied with the Cambridge non-profit Home Energy Efficiency Team, Gas Safety USA, Massachusetts Sierra Club, 350 Massachusetts, Clean Water Action, the Massachusetts and Boston Climate Action Networks, and Green Newton and 350 Newton. Together we have changed state law and passed the first ordinance of its kind to accelerate gas leak repair in the City of Boston.  Moving beyond solving the problem of gas leaks, this coalition is now pivoting to addressing our grandest challenge of transitioning off fossil fuels altogether, through electrifying our building sector. This is much more than a technology issue, involving the very human and social activity of cooking.  In his talk Nathan is excited to share an economic and gastronomic case about how the way we cook can spur our transition to a 100 percent renewable energy future.

A diverse array of Newton community members will join Phillips at Newton Inspires to share their experiences and insights.  Newton Inspires is FREE to Newton residents and $15 for non-residents. Space is limited so register early at

The Village Bank is the lead sponsor.  Newton Inspires is also supported by premium sponsors Chestnut Hill Realty, Mark Development, and The Street Chestnut Hill.

Refreshments will be available courtesy of the following: Anna’s Taqueria, Baker’s Best Catering, Better Life Food, Blue Ribbon BBQ, L’Aroma Café & Bakery, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, Rancatore’s Ice Cream and Yogurt, Sweet Tomatoes, and Whole Foods Market. Doors open at 6 pm.