Category: Uncategorized

Press Advisory: Constituents of Congressman McGovern encourage him to support the ‘Green New Deal’

PRESS ADVISORY PRESS ADVISORY PRESS ADVISORY

From: Climate Action Now

Date: November 20, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

“Constituents of Congressman McGovern encourage him to support the ‘Green New Deal’”

South Deerfield, MA. Constituents of Congressman James McGovern concerned about the threat of catastrophic climate change will join him in as he walks through the rain and snow in Monte’s March IX. The Congressman is on the second day of the walk to end hunger from Springfield to Greenfield on behalf of the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. The climate group, including Valley young people, will ask him to support the creation of a federal Green New Deal that would quickly convert our nation’s energy system from fossil fuels to conservation and renewable sources. They will ask him to sign on to the Resolution to create a House Select Committee on a Green New Deal. They will join him in South Deerfield near Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory around 3 pm today.

Today has been designated the Day of Action for the Green New Deal, sponsored by the national youth-based Sunrise Movement. Recently members of the group sat in in Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s office demanding immediate action to stop greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate change that has already brought megastorms to the Gulf of Mexico and uncontrolled fires in California. Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined them and together the group proposed that Pelosi, if elected Speaker in the new Congress in January, establish the House Select Committee on a Green New Deal to formulate a Plan for a Green New Deal to be implemented beginning in January, 2020.

A recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has lent extreme urgency to the effort to stop burning fossil fuels. It stated that, to avoid the catastrophic climate change coincident with a rise in global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius, emissions must be reduced by 40% by 2030 and to net zero by 2050. At present, the Trump Administration’s policies are founded on denial of the threat of climate change and are geared to expanding the burning of coal, oil and gas, thus increasing carbon dioxide and methane emissions.

Today is Congressman McGovern’s birthday, and the climate marchers will wish him a happy birthday, support his walk against hunger and encourage him to continue a long history of championing environmental efforts by signing on to the Resolution.

Start Here: Climate Action 101

Good news: one person CAN do something about the climate crisis. One of the most effective actions is to spread the word!

Our task at this moment, spring 2019, is to rapidly build public backing for necessary immediate and aggressive solutions. The coming months are crucial to elevating climate to an important voter issue in the next election.

Start by understanding the basic problem, the basic reasons that global warming has been allowed to proceed, and the basic solutions.

Then talk to your family, friends, co-workers.

Clear & sharable Q & A from the New York Times:

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/climate/what-is-climate-change.html

GREEN NEW DEAL information and actions

[3/21/19: page in progress…more to come]

Green New Deal: Actions and Resources

We need a nation-wide Green New Deal, and we need Massachusetts Green New Deal. for our state. This page will be updated with organizing opportunities and actions. Last update: 4/1/2019

!ACTION: Senator Markey is getting intense pushback about sponsoring the Green New Deal. Call his office to voice your support:
413-785-4610 / 202-224-2742

!ACTION: APRIL 22 Green New Deal Forum focusing on local and state applications on Earth Day, April 22 in Northampton. Earlier in the day, Earth Dance downtown will preceed a march from downtown to the high school.

2 pm – 5 pm Earth Dance starting in front of First Churches Northampton, 129 Main Street (in the sanctuary in case of inclement weather). An afternoon of music, dance and theater promoting principles of the Green New Deal.

5 pm – 6 pm People’s March for Climate Action from First Churches to Northampton High School, 380 Elm St. The public is invited to carry signs, banners and flags in support of the Green New Deal.

6 pm – 7:30 pm Green New Deal Forum in the Northampton High School auditorium. Students from the NHS Environmental Club and the Northampton Sunrise Hub will present the principles of the Green New Deal and question local political leaders. Guests, including US Congressman James McGovern, State Senator Jo Comerford, Mayor David Narkewicz and Community Action Pioneer Valley Director Clare Higgins, will speak about possibilities for the Green New Deal at all levels of our government. This forum is part of the Sunrise Road to a Green New Deal Tour.



Green New Deal Policy Group: The New Consensus




Read the Official Congressional Resolution

https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-resolution/109/text

The GND & The case against incremental climate policy

“The only way Democrats can hope to pass climate legislation is by radically shaking up the status quo balance of powers. ” 3/28/19 David Roberts, Vox
https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2019/3/28/18283514/green-new-deal-climate-policy


Podcast with the Policy Lead at New Consensus


Great interview with Rhianna Gunn-Wright, the policy lead at The New Consensus


Climate Justice and the Green New Deal


This article is very interesting and talks a lot about the justice piece of the GND :http://harvardpolitics.com/united-states/time-for-climate-justice/

Green New Deal for Massachusetts

June 4 2018 – Action in Springfield – Poor People’s Campaign of Massachusetts

Monday, June 4. 1-3 PM Court SQ Springfield.  FMI contact Arise Springfield

The Mass Save energy efficiency program is seeking input from the public

MASS SAVE NEEDS TO BE BROADER, DEEPER AND MORE ACCOUNTABLE!

Speak out:  Thursday, April 5 at 6pm in Springfield

Submit written comments:  by email.  See below.

We are facing a climate crisis with rising temperatures and sea levels, megastorms and droughts caused by the burning of fossil fuels. We need to cut our greenhouse gas emissions now, and by doing so, improve our air quality, our health and our energy bills.

Massachusetts is a nationwide leader in energy efficiency and conservation, which are the most cost-effective and potent means of decreasing emissions. Our energy efficiency programs are known as Mass Save, which uses the dollars taken from our electric and gas bills to fund weatherization for our houses and replacement of inefficient furnaces, refrigerators, air conditioners and lightbulbs.

It is a great start, but the electric and gas companies that make up Mass Save CAN DO BETTER, allowing us to better cut pollution, fight climate change and meet the challenges of the Global Warming Solutions and Green Communities Acts.

Energy experts are calling for:

  1. Accountability. Overall energy efficiency (EE) goals for the program should increase annually and be aggressive and science-based.  These goals should generate  penalties for the utility Program Administrators who do not reach them.  Performance incentives should be tied to not only meeting, but exceeding the goals.   Goal attainment must be assessed by measured results- actual energy savings– not just on estimates.  These actual outcomes need to be reported to the public in a way that is easy to understand, so that we know where our dollars are going and how much of an impact they are having.
  2. Serving those in need. Better outreach must be made to low income and non-English-speaking households, households with disabled, elderly and people of color.  Pilot programs should be designed and tested to see which are most effective in reaching those in greatest need.  This should be coupled with transparency about the services that these households are actually receiving from Mass Save. Furthermore, there should be an “opt-out” policy, assigning audits to all those low income customers who qualify for LIHEAP and any discount utility rates. These customers could be offered the option to opt-out of such services, and not be burdened by having to request the energy auditing services themselves.  Energy audit results from these customers should be reported, along with a listing of the remedial actions taken and the energy savings that resulted.
  3.  Expansion of coverage. More moderate income people (up to 120% of median income) should qualify for full subsidies of all energy saving measures. These households often cannot afford to pay the remainder of the cost of the upgrades that are not subsidized by the program
  4. Better serving renters. Mass Save should publicly engage landlords in discussion of the benefits of energy efficiency and explore ways to grant rights to their tenants who pay their own utility bills such that the tenants can institute  energy efficiency measures on their own. We suggest that the utility could prepay for such improvements and could be repaid over time through the utility bills.
  5. Redefine cost-effectiveness. Energy assessments and subsidized energy efficiency (EE) upgrades must be more comprehensive and science-based than the limited ones now provided. EE measures should be included that may take more than seven years to pay back in cost savings or that provide health benefits to the household and neighborhood. Contractors should be given some leeway to expand their work once on the site, according to their determination of what EE measures would have continuing benefit. Additionally, energy efficiency measures that reduce peak demand (and thus lower demand for the dirtiest, highest cost electricity) should be covered.
  6. Transparency. Communities should know how many households have been served each year, how many low and moderate income households were served, how many households were served in which English is not a primary language, and what specifically what services were provided.  In addition, customers should be surveyed about their satisfaction with the services, and the broader population should be surveyed to determine barriers to using the Mass Save program.
  7. Air source heat pumps. Energy efficient air source heat pumps should be made available and heavily subsidized for those houses already benefiting from energy efficiency measures, including those households presently using gas, oil, coal or electricity for heat.

Every year, Mass Save is unable to spend all the money taken from our bills to fund energy efficiency. Mass Save needs to work more effectively, broadly and deeply, and with more transparency and accountability.

Please take your comments to the  Mass Save Listening Session, 6 pm,  Thursday, April 5 at the UMass Center, 1500 Main Street, Springfield. We want to pack the room and want all to speak out for our right to health and sustainability through energy efficiency.     If you are interested in carpooling from the north, meet at 5pm at the Sheldon Field lot in Northampton.

Whether you are able to go to the hearing or not, please submit your comments by email by sending to:   info@optenergy.comrachel.evans@state.ma.us and DOER.ENERGY@state.ma.us .  In the subject line, put “Written statement for Energy Efficiency Advisory Council”.  Then ask for confirmation that it will be distributed to councilors.

Click here for Facebook event

 

 

 

Why Your Vote Doesn’t Count

Support Indigenous Ceremonial Stone Landscape Protection

August 18, 2018

Dear Friends,

This is a special fundraising appeal to ask supporters of Ceremonial Stone Landscapes to donate to a Climate Action Now project that is very important to us: the protection of indigenous ceremonial stone landscapes. Here are two reasons why:

– Justice for indigenous people

– Restoration of accountability for federal agencies

This project combines these goals in one lawsuit against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the agency that approved the Kinder Morgan gas pipeline in Sandisfield, Mass. and allowed the destruction of Ceremonial Stone Landscapes that are of cultural significance to indigenous peoples.

Please note: Sugar Shack Alliance has offered a matching grant for up to $4000.  Please make a donation on our  fundraising page https://tinyurl.com/CeremonialStones. Once we match this grant we will have only $500.00 to go.

Ceremonial Stone Landscape Feature  

Photo credit: Doug Harris

Do you know that hidden among the hills and valleys of New England are Ceremonial Stone Landscapes created over thousands of years by the indigenous peoples of this region? Indigenous tribes along the east coast of North America used stone structures as part of their religious and cultural ceremonies, and some of these sacred sites are now being destroyed for gas pipeline projects.

Last summer, right in our own backyard, Kinder Morgan/Tennessee Gas Pipeline built the Connecticut Expansion Pipeline through protected land in Otis State Forest. In the process they desecrated at least 23 of the seventy-three ceremonial stone landscapes that had been identified by the New England tribes.

What are ceremonial stone landscapes?

A ceremonial stone landscape is a series of stone groupings, petroglyphs, chambers, or other features created by indigenous   reasons that include marking astronomical cycles, deaths, or other significant events. In the Northeast we generally find these “prayers in stone” hidden in fields, woods, near streams, and even under water. Doug Harris, the Deputy Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Narragansett Indian Tribal Historic Preservation Office, explains the traditional belief that these stones are physical manifestations of living prayers to Mother Earth, calling for balance and harmony in places where traumatic events took place. They should not be altered. When the stones are disassembled and reassembled, the spiritual content is broken.

Who allowed this desecration to happen?

Any time federal approval or federal funds are required for a project, the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) mandates a federal agency, in this case FERC, to consider the impact on historic and cultural resources before the project is approved or funds are expended. The NHPA requires consultation with federally recognized Indian Tribes for projects that are on tribal lands and with any tribe that “attaches religious and cultural significance” to the property, regardless of where it is located. FERC approved the Connecticut Expansion Project before the Tribes documented the 73 ceremonial stone landscapes that would be impacted and then did not engage in meaningful consultation with the tribes on how to mitigate the impact on them.

This is nothing new – FERC regularly violates NHPA by delaying review until it is too late to avoid destruction of these sacred resources. FERC’s failure to follow the requirements of the NHPA is illegal and the Narragansett Tribe has filed a lawsuit.

 One third of the ceremonial stone landscapes in Otis State Forest have already been destroyed. Why file a lawsuit now?

When it learned that the ceremonial stone landscapes would be destroyed, the Narragansett Indian Tribal Historic Preservation Office (NITHPO) moved for party status in the FERC permitting process and opposed the start of construction. On May 10, 2017, NITHPO requested a rehearing of FERC’s order that authorized construction; it took until January 10, 2018, for FERC to deny the request. It was too late to save the stone landscapes from destruction.

Photo credit: Lisa McLoughlin

On March 2, 2018, NITHPO filed a petition in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit asking the D.C. Circuit to review: 1) FERC’s orders granting the Tennessee Gas Pipeline the right to construct the Connecticut Expansion Project, and 2) FERC’s rejection of NITHPO’s request for rehearing.FERC also denied NITHPO’s motion to intervene, forcing NITHPO to file a second request for rehearing, and then filed a motion to dismiss NITHPO’s petition in the D.C. Circuit. These procedural maneuvers indicate that FERC is trying to keep NITHPO out of court.

Although harm has been done, good can still come of it.

Across the U.S., fossil fuel infrastructure is being built at an alarming rate. FERC oversees all interstate gas pipelines and many other energy infrastructure projects in the U.S. The goals of this case are threefold: to clarify and enforce federal law, namely the National Historic Preservation Act; to clarify FERC’s consultation requirements; and to establish FERC’s fiduciary duty to Tribal Nations. After reading the parties’ briefs and questioning their counsel in oral arguments, the U.S. Court of Appeals will issue an order that will be binding on FERC. If NITHPO prevails on some or all of its claims, FERC will have to comply with the court’s holdings in future pipeline and other projects across the country.

Why should I help?

Given the historical and continuing genocide of indigenous peoples through the taking and destruction of their lands, their resources, their sacred sites and their way of life, this campaign offers us a rare opportunity for a concrete act of solidarity and respect, and in that spirit we are asking you to join our efforts with as generous a contribution as you can offer.

NITHPO’s lawyer, Anne Marie Garti (who was instrumental in defeating the Constitution Pipeline in New York State) believes this case has a high likelihood of success. She is working at a reduced rate for this social justice effort.  Because of the generosity of people like you, Climate Action Now has raised  $48,248 for this lawsuit through donations and a few small grants.

We are hoping that this is our final fundraising appeal.

We only need another $8,500 to fund this lawsuit.

You can be part of this precedent-setting case.

Please give as generously as you can – a gift that’s significant for you – whether that is $5 or $1,000.

Mail a tax deductible check made out to Creative Thought and Action with CSL in the memo line to:

Rene Theberge, Climate Action Now Treasurer

77 Prospect Street, Apt. 35

Northampton, MA 01060

MA 01002

Sincerely yours,

Susan and Rene Theberge

Columnist Marty Nathan urges taking action for climate justice

Printed in the Hampshire daily Gazette

http://www.gazettenet.com/Columnist-Marty-Nathan-on-the-climate-justice-movement-9658048

Columnist Marty Nathan urges taking action for climate justice

Community members lead the Springfield March for Climate, Jobs and  Justice on Saturday. RENE THEBERGE
By MARTY NATHAN

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

I’m writing this from a near-horizontal position on my living room couch, resting my elderly bones after a good march from the Federal Building to the Springfield City Council steps on Saturday.

It was a sister event to the 200,000-strong People’s Climate March in Washington, D.C., one of hundreds around the country. My husband and I joined 1,200 others in Springfield, and were struck by a tone and integrity different from past such rallies.

What distinguished the Springfield March for Climate, Jobs and Justice?

First, it was bigger. As an organizer, I have known the frustration of encouraging people to show up to make the needed case. Political activity is not on most people’s front burner. Jobs (often more than one) kids, housework — the immediate — need to be taken care of before dealing with climate change, war, or immigration.

Too, there is a feeling of powerlessness in the face of government and corporate policy, and some anxiety about the kickback of taking a public stand. Most people may have strong feelings about the headlines but encounter a certain embarrassment at the thought of marching holding a sign and repeating “The people united will never be defeated!” I get it.

But the Trump era has changed a lot of things. His and his administration’s brutal racism and sexism, his open embrace of the wealthiest at the expense of public interest, his ignorance and willingness to endorse the most cockamamy excuses for his actions have both frightened and emboldened people. And once they have been out in the streets, the empowerment, existential meaning and social connection are a welcome alternative to despair and a stiff drink.

Second, it was broader. On April 29, we marched for climate justice, the concept that we can and we must reverse the deep-seated inequity of our society even as we fight against climate change. In my many years as a political activist, I have found that often people’s personal and cultural needs have interfered with our ability to get along.

Environmentalism has been viewed as a “white thing.” White people don’t show up for Black Lives Matter or immigration rights events. Racism, sexism, genderism and just plain individual needs have divided folks who should have been supporting each other around issues of human rights and a sustainable world.

But again, Trumpism has made us examine our priorities. Although the majority of marchers were white folks, Springfield’s diverse neighborhoods and unions were well represented and had skin in the game. Hip hop artist Tem Blessed gave the most sophisticated analysis of the intertwining of our social problems and environmental destruction, blending his experiences as a young victim of police brutality with his longing for a sustainable world. The march endorsed the May Day immigrant workers strike and the rights of women to equal pay for equal work.

It was a good step forward and I am deeply grateful to all who came out and made the long march. Those who went to D.C. get special respect for having borne the hottest April 29 in recorded history. We still have jobs, kids and homes to attend to, but we thoughtfully chose to sacrifice a day for more intangible but absolutely necessary ideals.

Two recent studies point out both the dangers of our not acting on climate justice and the benefits of confronting it. A January study by Ray Bradley of UMass found that New England will warm faster than all other parts of the country except Alaska and will reach a 2-degree Centigrade rise by 2025. Snow will become a relatively rare commodity and wintertime rain and flooding will prevail. It confirms previous studies that indicated Boston’s sea level will rise higher than previously predicted: 10 feet by 2100, causing flooding in 30 percent of the area.

On the other hand, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health last week published research on the impacts of putting a fee on all gas, oil and coal coming into the state, what is called a “carbon fee.” They found that the implementation of either of the two bills before the Massachusetts Legislature now, S.1821 (An Act Combating Climate Change), and H.1726 (An Act to Promote Green Infrastructure, Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and Create Jobs), would result in 349 lives and $2 billion in health benefits saved in Massachusetts from 2017 through 2040. The decrease in pollution that would occur as we combat climate change would also reduce asthma, heart attacks and stroke.

The flooding, extreme heat and pollution-related disease always have weighed heavier on poor and low-wage working communities, particularly those of color. Precarious housing, lack of transportation and air conditioning, and increased direct exposure to pollutants in these communities make them particularly vulnerable to the ravages of bad air and climate change, though they have contributed the least to the problem.

The climate justice movement has always made sense. The lives most at risk are the lives already weighed down by economic stress and racism. We in the climate movement are finally beginning to get it. And act on it.

Marty Nathan, MD, is a mother and grandmother who lives in Northampton and works at Baystate Brightwood Health Center in Springfield’s North End. She is a steering committee member of Climate Action NOW.

Press release: Public Denied Access to Otis State Forest; Local Activists Vow Peaceful Resistance

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Public Denied Access to Otis State Forest; Local Activists Vow Peaceful Resistance
For Immediate Release
Contact: Abigail Ferla at abby.ferla@gmail.com and 860-882-7510

With tensions building regarding the controversial Connecticut Expansion Project in Sandisfield, MA, the normally sleepy Otis State forest has become the site of 24/7 private security detail and the apparent focus of intensifying law enforcement at the local and state level.

As the Berkshire Eagle reported Monday, “Tennessee Gas has hired three Massachusetts State Police details for daylight hours and eight full-time security guards for around-the-clock coverage” for security at the site.

Meanwhile, the MA Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) acting on behalf of Kinder Morgan and their Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company (TGP) affiliate, has begun dramatically restricting access to the state forest– apparently in an attempt to stifle expected protests. In the last week, signs have been appearing at access points to the forest, restricting the public from entering the tax-payer-owned forest.

Area closed to public access,” the signs read, “This area is subject to a temporary construction easement.”

In stark contrast to the response of Kinder Morgan, about fifty residents of Western Mass met in a large circle Tuesday night to recommit to their values of non-violence, civil disobedience, and peaceful resistance to fossil fuels– regardless of the heavy security presence. TGP hopes to begin felling thousands of trees on or about Thursday, April 27, but the activists, calling themselves the Sugar Shack Alliance, are determined to keep up their opposition on the ground, in courts, and in the media.

We need to protect our forests, not build pipelines through them,” said Sugar Shack Member Susan Theberge Wednesday, “We are facing climate chaos. We need to move rapidly away from fossil fuels and towards a sustainable energy future.”

The group, calling itself the Sugar Shack Alliance, is a coalition of activists based in Western Massachusetts. Sugar Shack Alliance is rooted in the principles of non-violence. Originally formed in resistance to the Northeast Energy Direct pipeline, Sugar Shack has expanded its mission to resist all expansion of the fossil fuel industry. All members of the alliance are committed to non violence, have completed eight hours of comprehensive nonviolent direct action training, are members of affinity groups, and agree on all decisions using a consensus-based model. The group has proactively met with both local Sandisfield and State Police officials to keep channels of communication open, ensure the safety of all involved, and the peaceful nature of actions.

Cate Woolner, a member of Sugar Shack, described the group’s strategies as “imaginatively nonviolent,” explaining that the SSA’s code of conduct “includes a commitment to no property destruction, peaceful actions, and the presence of peacekeepers, legal observers, and police liaisons at all actions.”

Woolner added, “Anyone who acts outside of these conditions is not endorsed or part of Sugar Shack.”

In conjunction with their presence on the ground, the group has launched a creative social media project emblematic of its mission. This #whyiprotect project, found as a hashtag on Twitter and group on Facebook, is driven equally by a profound concern for the accelerating pace of climate disruption and by a deep reverence for places like Otis State Forest and the conservation principles that are meant to protect them.

In his first #whyiprotect entry, the project’s curator, Bob Barba of the Affinity Ashfield group, wrote, “I still abide by the apparently quaint notion that conservation land is actually conserved in perpetuity and not just unless and until we find some profitable or expedient reason to destroy it.”

In the past year, this 3.8 mile piece of the CT Expansion Project has faced ongoing opposition from local residents, private citizens, environmentalists, and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts – which owns the land in conservation. Though Article 97 of the state constitution states that publicly-owned land cannot be used for private interests, the state was forced through federal eminent domain law to reach a settlement with the company in December.

For more information, see http://sugarshackalliance.org. Those who would like to contribute messages, quotes, songs, and/or images to the whyiprotect Facebook page can email them to whyiprotect@gmail.com. Follow the project at @whyiprotect.

 

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Would you like to help with the April 29 Western Mass Climate Justice March?


If you wish to help with this march, here are some ways:

* Please spread the word about the march, invite people, and make solid plans to show up with  your friends and family on this important day. 

—     Click HERE for the march webpage.     

—     Click HERE for the facebook event.

* If you would like to help organize or volunteer to help setup on march day, please email us at climateactionnowmass@gmail.com

 

* If you are on facebook, please share the event and rsvp/going to the event. 

Here is the facebook event page for the march:     https://www.facebook.com/events/622655164600213

* Financial – a march like this comes with expenses such as port-a-johns and staging.

If you would like to contribute, you can use paypal or a check. 

— Paypal – use this donate button

 

 — Check: please make your check payable to “Climate Action Now”, put “March” in the for line
and mail it to our treasurer  
Rene Theberge, 250 Shutesbury Road, Amherst, MA 01002

 **** Thank you! ****

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