350 Massachusetts has expanded across the state! One year ago, we had just one node in Cambridge, and now we have 8 regularly meeting nodes, with another one (welcome, Berkshires!) on the way. We are building a social movement to stop burning fossil fuels, and Massachusetts has proven that it is the right state to build it in. Within a year, our membership has more than tripled! Congratulations to all of the nodes, who have started up and grown rapidly in the past year. We have accomplished much in the past year! And with two thriving statewide campaigns, there is much more to be done. Join us at 350MA by finding the node near you! Contact information is under the “About” tab.
The divestment wins keep coming in Massachusetts. Did you hear that the city of Amherst, the Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst, and the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts all voted in favor of divestment in the last month? All of that momentum carries on with the 350 Massachusetts’ State Divestment campaign and the wider climate movement. On Saturday morning, there will be an expert panel on State Divestment (bill S.1225) in Worcester, featuring experts on divestment including student divestment, faith based divestment, and the financial sector. Want to learn more about what state divestment means and how you can get involved? Come to the panel on Saturday, and invite friends!
WHAT: State Divestment Panel
WHEN: Saturday, November 23rd, 9:30-11:30am
WHERE: First Unitarian Church of Worcester, 90 Main Street, Worcester, MA
We could really use your help: if you live in Worcester, please contact your State Representative and State Senator and ask them to attend! Make sure to include a note about how and why climate change and divestment are important to you. Find your State Representative and State Senator at wheredoivotema.com.
Can’t come to either but still want to be involved? Come to the next node meeting near you! 350MA has 8 meeting node locations across the state. Check out the 350MA calendar at http://350ma.org/calendar/.
MetroWest kicked off the eighth 350 Massachusetts node last Thursday. 60 people gathered to start the important work of building a social movement in Massachusetts to confront the climate crisis. Participants in the kick-off spanned the age range from toddler to retiree. Representatives from Sustainable Sudbury, Transition Wayland, and Concord Climate Action Now, among others, plan to continue their efforts in local communities, and support 350MA’s statewide initiatives. The new MetroWest node has immediately become engaged in supporting both 350MA statewide campaigns: Climate Legacy and Divestment. Welcome to 350MA, MetroWest! All local members are encouraged to go to the Pathways to Action event this Friday, and the next general 350MA MetroWest meeting is on Thursday, December 5th at Peace Lutheran Church, 107 Concord Rd. in Wayland.
At a congregational meeting on Sunday October 20, members of the UUSA voted unanimously that the Society divest of all fossil fuel funds over the next five yeas. They voted also to urge the national organization, the Unitarian Universalist Association, to divest; and they voted to support divestment efforts in the wider community, including the Town of Amherst and Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The UUSA has acted on it’s commitment to green values over the years including receiving Green Sanctuary Certification, having an active Green Sanctuary Committee, sponsoring an annual Connecticut River clean up, ensuring that the meetinghouse is energy efficient, including planning to install solar panels on the new addition, encouraging the purchase of local food, overseeing a voluntary individual carbon tax program for members, and by various other programs to reduce their carbon footprint.
With this vote the UUSA joins a growing number of churches, colleges, towns and states across the country, which are bringing pressure to bear on government and industry to act now to slow climate change.
This is the same plant where two leaders from our network, Ken Ward and Jay O’Hara blocked the delivery of coal to in June. It is the same plant that 350 individuals from our network protested in July, and 45 of them were arrested for trespassing. And it is again the very same plant that 300 of us marched from to the future site of Cape Wind on the Energy Exodus.
It is no coincidence that the announcement of this plant closing is coming so shortly after our actions to defeat it. The people making decisions to close this plant were painfully aware of our efforts to shut it down. Our promise to continue fighting it until it closed absolutely weighed in on their decision not to keep fighting to keep the plant going. David is turning the tide, gaining momentum over Goliath!
Congratulations also to the local activists who have been fighting to close the Brayton Point Coal Plant for over a decade, without whose leadership, courage, and vision, this victory would not be possible. We need to keep working to help these local groups and to ensure a just transition for the local workers.
As important as this victory is, we still have much important work to do. We must make sure that the plant does in fact close by this date (if not earlier). We must be vigilant to make sure that as Massachusetts completes its transition off of coal, one fossil fuel plant is not replaced by another. We know that we can replace these aging death machines with efficiency, conservation, and renewables, which will allow us to keep the lights on without poisoning our air or our water or further degrading our climate. That’s our charge and challenge moving forward. Let’s carry on to the next victory.
350MAers across the state have repeated the message loud and clear: “No Keystone XL Pipeline”. On Saturday, September 21st and during the preceding week, actions were staged in Boston, Newton, Worcester, and Amherst. In Boston, hundreds of people engaged in a tug-of-war dramatization of the struggle to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline, played out as street theater in front of the State House. In Amherst, activists gathered at the town common to construct a 100-foot long tar sands pipeline dragon and portray the consequences a leaking toxic oil spill would have on the town of Amherst. In Worcester, a street theater production demonstrated the push and pull over the Keystone XL decision and the need to bring it to closure. The “Draw the Line” actions in Massachusetts were carried out in conjunction with over 200 others across the United States to send a message to President Obama and Secretary of State, John Kerry. A photograph of the Boston action was included in Huffington Post’s coverage of the nation-wide protests.
College students, people of faith, environmentalists, economists, labor unions, mothers, and others will be converging on the Massachusetts State House on September 10th to support S.1225, a bill sponsored by Sen. Ben Downing that requires MA to divest from fossil fuels!
WHAT: Rally and Hearing for MA State Divestment bill S.1225
WHAT TO EXPECT: Inspiring speakers, music, and hundreds of people supporting S.1225
For more information, visit our state divestment campaign page or contact Darcy DuMont at email@example.com. Send petitions to 142 Pondview Drive, Amherst, MA 01002.
45 people were arrested yesterday (pictured in red, above) at the Brayton Point coal and gas power station in Somerset, Massachusetts after placing model wind turbines and solar panels at the gates in an act of nonviolent civil disobedience. Hundreds of supporters joined them for a rally and march to the power plant, which is the largest coal and gas fired power plant in New England. Participants called on Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to close the plant while ensuring an equitable and sustainable transition for workers and the town of Somerset. Handmade banners displayed messages such as “Governor Patrick: Quit Coal!” and “No More Coal, No New Gas” and “Power without Pollution, Energy without Injustice.”
Participants want the governor to close the plant without undue burden on the local community. “I am here to push for real long-term solutions for Somerset residents, solutions that will create a stable economy, not a dying and dirty industry,” said Camilo Viveros, a Somerset native. Job retraining and state financial support to replace lost tax revenues could be part of what organizers referred to as a “just transition” for Somerset. They emphasized that Somerset residents should lead the way in determining the specifics of this transition.
Yesterday’s action is part of “Summer Heat,” a coordinated effort by 350.org and their allies in the national climate movement to draw attention to the rapidly increasing dangers of climate change. Thousands of people across the country are currently taking part in nonviolent direct action against the fossil fuel industry, with hundreds prepared to engage in civil disobedience.
Putting a stop to the burning of coal, our most carbon-intensive fuel, is one of the most important changes the world can address to mitigate climate disaster. We have work to do right here in Massachusetts: the massive Brayton Point plant in Somerset (shown above) is the largest carbon emitter on the east cost north of Maryland. For the communities in West Virginia, whose mountains are being ravaged for the coal burned at Brayton Point; for the citizens of Somerset, plagued with health problems they attribute to living in the shadow of the plant; for the peoples of the world facing climate cataclysm; we need to shut down the Brayton Point plant.
We’ll meet and train for this action on Saturday, July 27, and then on Sunday, July 28th, more we’ll gather at Brayton Point, where we’ll send a simple message to Massachusetts’ Governor, Deval Patrick: this plant kills people, destroys communities, and must be closed immediately. Massachusetts could shut down the Brayton Point plant tomorrow and meet all of its additional energy needs through renewables and increased energy efficiency. So, let’s come together and make sure that a just transition is provided for the workers and communities—from West Virginia to Massachusetts—who have been bearing the burden of coal for so long.
Hundreds have signed up to join us already, and we need hundreds more. Add your conviction, your passion, and your voice, by joining in this event.
Sign up here to join in this historic action.
If you are concerned about the climate and ready to commit to action, you are welcome and encouraged to join with climate activists from across Massachusetts to share ideas and set plans for the climate movement.
On Sunday, June 30, climate activist from across Massachusetts will meet at Worcester State University to celebrate the first year anniversary of 350MA.org and to participate in the People’s Action Assembly. We will leave with a vision and an 18-month strategic plan for a stronger statewide climate movement. We will explore the current state of the following themes and define going forward plans for each through November 2014.
- Theme 1: Movement Strength – including topics such as growing the movement, organization, and a special session focused on harmonization of the peace and climate movements.
- Theme 2: Infrastructure - addressing pressure points and tipping points in the sun-setting of existing infrastructure and in proposed new infrastructure.
- Theme 3: Engaging Government – featuring topics such as carbon tax, effective government engagement, and claiming the high ground on election issues.
Following registration starting at 11:30am, proceedings will begin at noon and continue until 6:00pm. A plenary session, including a video message from Bill McKibben, will be followed by a lightning round, breakout working groups, and integration of report backs. Details are in the People’s Action Assembly Brochure, but may change based on input offered via the online survey. All participants in People’s Action Assembly, and others who want to share their thoughts on the climate movement in Massachusetts, should please complete the on-line survey by end of day on June 26.
We will emerge from this assembly with an updated vision and action plan for confronting climate change in our state. Everyone who is excited to be a leader in MA is welcome to come, whether you are an veteran or developing leader. Admission is free, but we ask for a donation, if possible, to cover food and lodging costs.