Remembering Owen Toney

Written by Loie Hayes

Owen is second from the left, pictured with members of Green Neighbors Education Committee at an Energy Fair in Harambee Park, Dorchester. All of these folks had earlier participated in Low Carbon Living workshops led by Owen and BCAN members.

In honor of Black History Month, BCAN wants to share a posthumous tribute to one of Boston’s most active Black climate organizers in the early 2000s: Owen Toney.

Owen was an organizer with the local chapter of ACORN in 2008, when BCAN and ACORN began co-hosting energy saving workshops in Fields Corner, Dorchester. Over the next several years Owen expanded his organizing efforts to host Energy Fairs in many Boston neighborhoods. The first Energy Fair featured political commentator Van Jones as its keynote speaker. Owen founded and directed Green Neighbors Education Committee and played important roles in a number of area environmental organizations.

 Owen helped introduce hundreds of Boston residents to issues of climate change, energy efficiency, and energy justice. He championed solutions for energy and health that centered the disproportionate impacts of climate change and energy injustice on Black, brown, and poor communities. He loved creating community events to bring energy innovations into neighborhoods. And we loved being a part of his efforts. Owen, you are missed!

Owen (near center) was an organizer at this Mission Hill Energy Fair, held on Oct. 25, 2009, in conjunction with the International Day of Action led by (See more photos on our blog: 350 International Day of Climate Action – Boston Climate Action Network (