Update from Audrey Ortega of Arise for Social Justice on The Springfield Climate Justice Coalition (SCJC)
Springfield’s air quality was given an “F” rating by the EPA and its effects are seen in the high rates of asthma and other respiratory illnesses that our residents suffer. This is one of many compelling reasons why Arise is reaching out to the community to continue to gather support for the implementation of our Climate Action Plan for Springfield; a plan that was unanimously approved by our City Council in October of 2014 after a spirited march, rally and speakout at City Hall.
Building on over a year of grassroots organizing, Arise has sent out letters to over 150 organizations in Springfield, urging them to pursue the implementation of the Climate Action Plan by writing to Mayor Sarno asking that the city hire a full time Environmental Coordinator (EC). The EC’s job will be to ensure that the changes called for by the Climate Action Plan reflect the will of the community and happen in a timely manner. Serving as an agent for climate change mitigation, the EC’s job will include listening to and representing the community’s interests by advocating for changes in infrastructure and policies that will improve public health, encourage sustainable development, increase energy efficient and accessible public transportation and housing, access to healthy foods and ecological systems for waste management and empower the community through public education as part of the effort to combat climate change here in our city.
We have made many new connections with community organizations and are growing our Climate Justice Coalition. SCJC and the Campaign for Non-Violence are organizing an Earth Week march and rally on April 19th to publicly show our Springfield elected representatives that our community is invested in implementing the climate plan. We have reached out to residents and begun a postcard campaign along with the letters to local organizations. Arise representatives engage local residents and personally explain the climate action plan, then ask if they would sign postcards to the Mayor and City Councilors to encourage the plan’s implementation. We have gathered hundreds of postcards in the weeks since the postcard campaign began!
As part of our educational campaign for Health Awareness Month (April) we have organized several upcoming workshops and education programs to be locally broadcast (see calendar). These contain information on what economic activities are exacerbating our current climate issues and how we can come together to create a local movement and mitigate the negative impacts of climate change and air pollution.To find out more about the growing climate justice movement in Springfield, visit arisespringfield.org/whatsnext
Springfield Arise for Social Justice
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