In the wake of the Grand Jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson for the shooting of Mike Brown, many 350Mass volunteers and Better Future Project staff have spoken out, calling on climate activists to stand in solidarity with all those who demand an end to police brutality and institutionalized racism. There has been quite a lot of interest in creating an open space for reflecting on the events in Ferguson and the connections between climate justice and racial justice, and a series of responses and reflections is currently posted on our blog. If you have a response that you would like to share, email it to Emily Kirkland, firstname.lastname@example.org, so that it can be posted.
Last week, despite intense pressure from the fossil fuel industry, climate champions in the United States Senate kept the chamber from approving the Keystone XL pipeline by a single vote. All of us share in this victory. Celebrate it.
With a dramatic change in Senate control next January, the Senate will undoubtedly pass this measure next session, and all eyes will be on President Obama, waiting to see if he’ll veto the bill or allow the pipeline to go forward. His decision will have consequences here in Massachusetts: if Keystone goes forward, tar sands could make up nearly 18% of our liquid fuel supply by 2020.
We’ll be watching Obama as eagerly as anyone. But pressuring the President is no longer enough. Despite the millions who have spoken out, Big Oil is still calling the shots in Washington, and we can’t trust our national leaders to do the right thing.
The national scene is grim, but we have an opportunity to lead locally now. Governor Patrick has the chance to move towards a ban on tar sands in Massachusetts before he leaves office. Strong action by Patrick will help stiffen Obama’s spine and show him there is grassroots support for bold climate action.
We’re collecting thousands of offline and online petitions in the next two weeks telling Governor Patrick to ban tar sands. (Sign the postcard here — and please forward it to five friends.) We’ll deliver the postcards on December 11. And we’ll see where it goes from there: one way or another, we will keep organizing to keep the tar sands out of Massachusetts.
We’ve had victory after victory on city divestment in Massachusetts this year — but our biggest win may still be ahead of us! City Councillors Michelle Wu and Matt O’Malley are sponsoring a Boston City Council resolution in support of state divestment from fossil fuels. High schoolers from the Boston Student Advisory Council have been leading on the campaign to divest Boston, and the 350MA Boston node is now getting involved. If you’re a Boston resident, call your city councilor (look up their contact info here) and tell them to support divestment! And save the date: there’s a City Council hearing on November 17th – it’s time to pack the room with Bostonians and show our support for divestment!
WHAT: Hearing for a Boston City Council resolution in support of state divestment
WHEN: Monday, November 17, 4 pm
WHERE: Boston City Hall, Council Chamber, 5th Floor
For years, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has been rubber-stamping new gas pipelines and plants, ignoring the overwhelming scientific evidence that we need to move away from fossil fuels as quickly as possible to preserve a livable climate.
Now, it’s time to stand up to FERC. From November 3-7, people are gathering at FERC’s headquarters in Washington, DC to oppose new gas infrastructure.
In solidarity, the 350 Massachusetts Climate Legacy campaign is mobilizing to submit comments to FERC opposing two new gas projects proposed for Massachusetts: the Spectra pipeline expansion and the Kinder Morgan pipeline.
By submitting hundreds of thoughtful, well-researched comments, we can help turn the tide and stop the new gas projects planned for Massachusetts.
HOW TO SUBMIT A COMMENT
2) FERC will send you an email. Click on the link at the bottom of the email. The link will take you to a page for submitting your comments with your name and contact information already filled in.
3) Start by inputting the docket number for the Kinder Morgan pipeline (PF14-22). Hit the button marked “Search”, then wait a moment for a response. Then, click on the blue cross in the far right column under the heading labelled “Select”.
4) Then, input the docket number for the Spectra pipeline expansion (CP14-96). Again, hit “Search” and wait a moment for a response. Then, click on the blue cross in the far right column under the heading labelled “Select”.
5) Finally, enter your comment and tell FERC why we need to stop new gas pipelines! It lets you enter up to 6000 characters. It’s best if you type up your comment before, and just copy and paste it into this box. When you’re done, hit the “enter” button on the site.
WHAT TO WRITE
FERC is required by law to read each comment carefully and weigh the arguments for and against each project. At this stage, our primary objective is to be loud and show the strength of the grassroots movement against the pipeline.
Share personal stories about how gas pipelines will impact you, and talk about the opposition to new gas infrastructure that you’ve seen in your community!
Note: do not share specific information about your individual objections to the Kinder Morgan pipeline (such as, “the north end of my property is home to this endangered species”, etc.). The Kinder Morgan pipeline is still in the “pre-filing” stage, and it’s better to reveal such information during the “filing” stage.
Fifty state senators and representatives endorsed state divestment this year, thanks to tireless grassroots organizing all over Massachusetts! With the next legislative session right around the corner, this is a great moment to thank these legislators for their leadership. Can you send your local representative or state senator a thank you card? If they endorsed state divestment, thank them for their support; if they haven’t endorsed divestment yet, thank them for engaging with us on the issue and remind them that you look forward to their support next year. Not sure who your legislators are or how to contact them? Find out here! Not sure if your local legislator endorsed divestment? You can see the list here. If you have questions or need further guidance, contact Eli Gerzon,email@example.com, or Darcy DuMont,firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sample wording for a thank you card:
- All utilities (including municipal utilities) should be required to comply with the standard
- The CES should only include wind, solar, geothermal, small-scale hydro, and other renewables as clean energy (alternatively, the Renewable Portfolio Standard should be raised)
- The standard should require utilities to use 100% clean energy by 2050, including strong and aggressive 2020 and 2030 targets
Overall, the CES should dramatically increase the amount of clean energy available on the market and dramatically decrease climate pollution and associated public health risks
The 350 Massachusetts divestment team met this weekend on Cape Cod for two days of planning, strategizing and fun. We’re excited to make MA the first to divest in 2015! Interested in getting more involved in divestment? Contact Eli Gerzon, State Divestment Organizer for Better Future Project, email@example.com.
On Monday, October 20, 350 Massachusetts Pioneer Valley / Climate Action NOW, Arise for Social Justice, the North End Organizing Network and 27 other ally organizations brought 200 people together for the Springfield ClimateJustice March. All were there to support the passage by the City Council of the Springfield Climate Action Plan, to mitigate global warming by cutting the city’s carbon emissions. In response, all the City Councilors, one by one, declared the necessity of the ClimateAction Plan and funding for an office to implement it. This was a major step forward for the 2nd largest city in Massachusetts, and historic in the character of the coalition that produced it: African-American, white, Latino, young, old, upper and lower valley all brought together by common cause. You can read more details of the big day here!
Question 1 is a ballot measure to repeal the indexing of the state’s gas tax to inflation, which is scheduled to start in 2015. Indexing means the tax will keep pace with the cost of repair and growth. Without indexing, the value erodes each year: a 24 cent tax today is worth 33% less than the 21 cent tax in 1992. In addition to bridge and road repair, some of the money raised will fund alternative modes of transit like the T, buses, commuter rail, and bike paths, all of which reduce greenhouse gas emissions. For more information, see the poster, quarter-sheet hand-out and one page info sheet and go to saferoadsbridges.com. We need outreach volunteers too! Join us to hand out flyers and hold signs at transit stops and polling places. Contact Jack Spence at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Arise for Social Justice, in collaboration with 350 Massachusetts Pioneer Valley, has been working to get a Climate Action Plan for Springfield, the biggest urban polluter in the Valley. We have focused on involving the neighborhoods most affected – poor, Black and Latino – to incorporate their needs to decrease air pollution and thus prevent asthma, emphysema and heart disease, all of which affect people in these communities disproportionately.
A coalition has formed with demands for a Springfield People’s Climate Action Plan and a resolution for staffing to implement it. The resolution will go before the Springfield City Council on Monday, October 20 at 6:30 pm in City Hall. We are planning a march and rally after which we will pack the City Council meeting and share our passion for a cleaner Springfield.
WHAT: Springfield Climate Justice March
WHEN: Monday, October 20, 5:00 pm
WHERE: Meet at Northgate Plaza, 1985 Main Street in Springfield, for the march to City Hall (another contingent will meet at the offices of Arise for Social Justice, 467 State Street in Springfield).