Category: Archived Posts

Refugees, Immigrants & Climate Crisis: Panel Discussion and Mini-Conference

  Refugees Immigrants & Climate Crisis A Panel Discussion and Mini-Conference

Saturday April 15th 2017                11:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Springfield Technical Community College, Scibelli Hall

1 Armory Square, Springfield 01105

Sponsored by Arise for Social Justice

A panel of experts and activists on the connections between war, climate disasters and refugees, health impacts on immigrants, climate justice locally, and examples of activist organizing. Climate change is fueling the growing refugee crisis around the world, as individuals and entire communities are forced to flee their homes due to its effects. Come explore humanitarian implications as well as questions of responsibility and justice at the international, national and local level, and afterwards participate in workshops to understand how you can make an impact.



(1)  Internationally recognized author and professor Vijay Prashad (Trinity College); 

(2)  Dr. Martha Nathan, of Climate Action Now, Baystate Health and La Cliniquita; 

(3)  Michaelann Bewsee, Executive Director for Arise for Social Justice and co-founder, Springfield Climate Justice Coalition; and 

(4)  Ravi Khanna, philanthropic advisor at Philanthropy for Change.



(1)  Interfaith organizing led by Tahirah Amatul-Wadud, lawyer, member of Council on Islamic Arab Relations & Joan Butler (Springfield Unitarian Universalist Society);

(2)  Organizing for Immigrants led by Rose Bookbinder (Pioneer Valley Workers’ Center), and

(3)  Health Impacts of Climate Change, led by Sarita Hudson (Partners for Healthier Community).


Schedule of Events 11:00 AM Registration/Check In

11:15 AM Panel & Discussion

12:45 AM Lunch/Networking

1:15 PM Workshops

2:30 PM Closing


Free lunch and childcare provided.

Free parking at Pearl St. lot. Follow signs to Scibelli Hall.

For more information contact Ann Ferguson:, 413-367-2310


Co-sponsors include: Springfield Climate Justice Coalition, Climate Action Now, Markham-Nathan Justice Fund, Rosenberg Fund for Children, Springfield Unitarian Universalist Society, Pioneer Valley Workers’ Center, Jobs with Justice, Pioneer Valley Interfaith Refugee Action Group, Western MA American Friends Service Committee,  Traprock Peace Center, UMass Social Thought and Political Economy Program, UMass Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies Program

Art build! Help Build Props for the Climate Marches in DC and in Springfield

Who wants to make some stuff?

Help Build Props for the Climate Marches in DC and in Springfield 

Come and work (play) with us as we construct large pin-wheels and solar disks on poles to carry in a group in both the Washington, DC and Springfield People’s Climate Marches. Help us represent creative Western Massachusetts and our plans for the clean energy revolution! Contribute to the marches even if you cannot be there In person!

Saturday, April 15 .   
9:00 to 5:00

Join us for an hour or the whole day- whatever part of the day works for you. 

Robin M has kindly offered lead this project, to host, and to provide tea & coffee. Please bring a bag lunch if you plan to be with us all day.

 We will send the address when you RSVP to

We are especially in need of thin poles, like bamboo,  & yellow or orange latex paint.


Here are some more items on our materials list:

 duct tape- white or silver

shoelaces; zip ties; soft cord; heavy yarn

latex or acrylic paint in sun color, yellows, oranges, metallic, magenta

big dark magic markers or dark paint for making lines.

Ribbon or fabric for pinwheel streamers: blue, white and silver ribbon

Ribbon or fabric for solar disk streamers: orange, red, metallic

Poles under ¾” diameter at least shoulder height – bamboo, tree saplings, etc.

folding tables – or saw horse set

plastic or paper to cover tables – old cheap tablecloths are great.

Jingle bells, jingles /rattles from junk to tie to poles?

Here’s Robin with her  mock-ups!  She is envisioning the sun faces in yellow and oranges instead of the pink, and the pinwheels with blues hanging. We plan to paint the backs as well, and put our simple messages there.

Rate Hike Hearings! Pittsfield, Springfield, Greenfield.


Join Public Opposition to the Eversource Rate Hike Request!

Show up,  speak up,  write a letter.  Please attend even if you do not intend to speak – we need people power showing support for speakers.


Eversource has asked the MA Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to approve:
  • A 10% rate increase for residential customers in western Mass
  • Increased investor profits to a guaranteed 10.5% (exceeding the average)
  • Imposition of confusing demand charges on unsuspecting consumers and new fixed charges on households with solar panels


What can you do?

  • Attend a DPU hearing on the rate hike request


    • Pittsfield Monday April 10 – 6 pm Berkshire Antheneum

    • Springfield Wednesday, April 12 – 7pm, City Hall, School Committee Meeting Rm

    • Greenfield, Wednesday, April 26 – 7 pm, Greenfield Middle School Auditorium

You can sign up to speak or simply attend to show your opposition.  No signs allowed in the hearing room but T-shirts or buttons with messages are fine.



You must include the docket number (17-05), your name, a brief description in the subject line (eg Comment on Eversource rate hike request).


Some talking points:

I oppose the Eversource rate increase request because it asks for:

  • Unjustified rate increases that will be hard on our families and businesses

  • New charges to residents with solar panels that will slow the vital uptake of new solar installations

  • Excessive profit for the companies and their stock holders with no assurance of the company meeting our clean energy and energy efficiency goals

For more talking points go to this document.


Urgent request: Seeking help for legal efforts to protect Otis State Forest

Photo: Ben Hillman, Berkshire Eagle

Dear Friends,

Climate Action Now (CAN) has a long-standing commitment to challenge the construction of any new and existing fossil fuel infrastructure in our region.  As part of that commitment we have been deeply involved, along with other groups and organizations in Western Mass, in efforts to protect Otis State Forest, in Sandisfield, Mass. CAN opposes construction of the Kinder Morgan Connecticut Expansion Pipeline, which will involve the felling of thousands of trees, endangerment of protected bird species and wetlands, and destruction of sacred Native American ceremonial stone landscape features, in this pristine forest in the southwestern corner of Massachusetts. At present, Kinder Morgan is awaiting a  “Notice to Proceed” from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission so that they can begin tree felling in Otis State Forest. Tree felling could begin soon.

Seventy-three sacred ceremonial stone landscape features have been identified along the proposed pipeline route. There is currently an effort to explore legal avenues to protect these sacred ceremonial stone landscapes from being destroyed by the pipeline project.

We are writing to you to ask for financial support to help pay for the initial costs of this effort.   If you are able to contribute to this undertaking, please make your check payable to “Creative Thought and Action”, the fiscal sponsor for Climate Action Now. Please put CSL in the “for” line and mail it to our treasurer:

Rene Theberge

250 Shutesbury Road

Amherst, MA 01002

If money is raised in excess of the attorney’s fees needed in this endeavor, we will redirect any excess funds from your donation to help cover the legal costs incurred in the ongoing legal challenge to the 401 Water Quality Certificate for the Connecticut Expansion Project, another avenue we are pursuing at this time. Thank you for your kind attention to this urgent and time sensitive request.

Susan Theberge from Climate Action Now

Columnist Marty Nathan: Massachusetts leads on renewable energy

Published in the Hampshire Daily Gazette March 1, 2017

I am sitting on my porch reveling in the glorious, sunny day. It is 72 degrees. I am in my shirtsleeves, my neighbor just biked by in shorts and my friend will soon bring her 6-month-old for a walk. So I should complain?

Well, yes. Last week’s high temperatures in Boston, Buffalo and Pittsburgh broke records. Weather is not climate, for sure, and a couple of days do not global warming make. But the trend, which is climate, is ever upward.

In February, almost 4,500 daily high temperature records were broken, and the winter of 2016-2017 is on its way to beating 2015-16 as the warmest in recorded history. Arctic sea ice decreased by 9 percent, but more shockingly, Antarctic sea ice was at its smallest for January since records began, down 23 percent.

As the ice melts, the ocean surface it covered absorbs solar radiation rather than reflecting it back to space as did the white ice. This is one of those feedback loops that at a certain point incur warming independent of human-derived greenhouse gas emissions.

Yet even as we hurtle toward climate disaster, never has the federal government so belligerently denied the problem nor so aggressively repositioned to increase greenhouse gas emissions in order to foster fossil fuel company profits.

 The cabinet members appointed and the bills and executive orders signed just in the first month illuminate the regime’s objective.

Scott Pruitt was narrowly confirmed to head the Environmental Protection Agency after Senate Democrats battled unsuccessfully in committee to postpone the vote till thousands of emails ordered released by a federal judge from Pruitt’s office of the Oklahoma Attorney General became available. That the nomination was shoved through without that information was a disgrace to the deliberative process. That the emails exist is a testament to corporate corruption.

First, it should be noted that Pruitt used a private email server to conduct public business, something that he denied under oath at his Senate hearing. More importantly, though, he worked “arm in arm,” according to the New York Times, with major oil and gas producers, electric utilities and Koch Industries-linked groups to roll back any and all environmental regulations.

Pruitt represented their interests in the most precise manner and in return received big dividends. Not just once did Pruitt transfer corporate-written complaints about federal restrictions on their pollution directly to his official stationery.

His ghost-written appeals protested controlling the belches of a coal-fired power plant, limiting the spewing of potent greenhouse gas methane from wells on federal land, and preventing smog-causing chemical release.

His closest buddies were Devon Energy, Oklahoma Gas and Electric and the American Fuel and Petrochemicals Manufacturers. In return he was granted huge donations to his political campaigns, fundraisers at company expense and even the management of his reelection campaign by the Devon CEO.

As is now well known, Pruitt sued the EPA, the very agency he is now appointed to head, 14 times to prevent it from doing its job. Rachel Maddow calls him a puppet.

Even as Pruitt was being confirmed, Trump signed two of what can only be termed climate-change promotion bills. The first eliminated the requirement for US energy companies to report their payments to foreign governments in their dealings to extract fossil fuels. The bill was designed to prevent bribing of corrupt leaders for access to oil and gas (Exxon/Putin/proposed Siberian oil megadeal comes to mind).

The second reversed an Obama regulation restricting coal companies from toxic dumping in streams, a small step toward stewardship of the land they mine. Both bills made extraction and emissions easier and cheaper for big oil, gas and coal.

In late February, the administration released two executive orders. Both are focused on eliminating federal agency regulations. I am not alone in assuming they will be used to free corporations from all restraint based on public health, consumer and worker protection, and a sustainable climate. His proposed budget promises to cut funding of domestic agencies including the EPA and the Department of the Interior, even as military spending and the nuclear arsenal are expanded.

The intent is clear. Steve Bannon, Trump’s closest adviser, has admitted that their plan is to destroy domestic federal agencies. Be it by legislation, executive order, budget cuts or the likes of Pruitt, Rick Perry and Rex Tillerson, we will lose protection from corporate excess. There will be dirtier air and water, sicker workers and communities. The billionaires will be richer.

But we are being given a choice. This month, a statewide coalition of environmental groups led by Environment Massachusetts and including local Climate Action NOW, announced a legislative plan to achieve electricity powered by 100 percent renewable energy by 2035. HD 3357 and SD 1932, submitted by state Sen. James B. Eldridge, D-Acton, and state Reps. Marjorie Decker, D-Cambridge, and Sean Garballey, D-Arlington, would make the state a leader in solar and wind power and an example for the country in the fight against climate change.

Also firmly on the Massachusetts legislative agenda are viable bills for carbon pricing, grid upgrades, conservation measures and specific acts immediately to encourage wind and solar power production.

Trump has touted his actions as a job-creator, but this is a pile of alternative facts. Results are in and energy efficiency and renewable sources produce 2.5 to 9.5 times as many jobs as fossil fuels per dollar spent. Massachusetts’ course is not only the most beneficial to environment and humanity but to economic growth as well.

If this were a horse race, I would bet on little Massachusetts and all the other states that are bucking the corrupt tide. Unfortunately, it’s a race for our health and our future. All the more reason to bet the bank.

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.


No New Pipelines Resolutions

Under construction

Sample Municipal Resolution

Content in process (3/2017)

Sample town resolution

Content coming (3/2017)

Columnist Marty Nathan: Saving the world while building community

Published in the Gazette Feb 1, 2017

Columnist Marty Nathan: Saving the world while building community


I remember the 1962 Cuban missile crisis when I gathered cans of food to store in our carport cabinets in preparation for nuclear war. We were supposed to stock our basements with water and food to consume after the bombs fell and we waited for the radiation to decrease.

Problem was, our house was small and we had no basement and thus no protection. With my 11-year-old brain, I tried to comprehend annihilation of the world as I knew it.

Now in my 60s, the feeling is eerily similar and equally unreal. We are approaching destruction of our biosphere, this time in slow motion but nonetheless terrifying. The cause this time is climate change.

The threat has ramped up dramatically since the inauguration of Donald Trump. His advisers and cabinet picks are fossil fuel company CEOs and shills who are dedicated to drilling and burning every last molecule of carbon left in the ground in order to ensure corporate profits.

This is the opposite of scientific dictates to immediately eliminate emissions to prevent geologic and climatologic feedback loops — albedo effect, melting tundra, carbon sink-filling — that will continue the process completely outside of our control.

On Jan. 28, over 600 people filled First Churches in Northampton. They came because there is rapidly growing recognition of the crisis. In the past, we could console ourselves that somebody else would fix it, but suddenly a whole lot of folks are realizing that our best resource for fighting this massive peril — the federal government —- is now openly fronting for the enemy.

What are we who love Earth and the coming human generations to do? I think we have several options that will require commitment, courage, time and energy.

Do not give up on the federal government. We must limit the damage from the present regime and fight to replace it with those not promulgating “alternative facts.” Protest the blasphemy and carnage, building a movement that is interlocked with all others suffering from Trumpism: workers, poor people, immigrants, people of color, women, children, LGBTQ people.

Support nationally important legal and regional fights. The repermitting of the Dakota Access and the Keystone XL pipelines is a disaster for all of us and we must be willing to back up the resistance of those whose homes, culture and livelihoods are affected by oil, gas and coal infrastructure.

Put on your marching shoes. On April 29, come to D.C. for the second People’s Climate March, and respond to every invitation possible fighting for climate and justice.

Begin work now for the next critical election in 2018 when we must break the stranglehold that the fossil fuel industry holds on Congress.

Since much is blocked on the federal level, though, organize locally and statewide to make Massachusetts into a model for the rest of the country in climate justice.

Join an organization that is working on what you think is important.

Push locally for rooftop and community solar and insulation, especially for low-income neighborhoods; tree-planting and care; environmentally sound zoning; expanded public transit; streets safe for pedestrians and bicycles; and schools that teach about climate change and environmental sustainability.

Be ready for direct action to prevent the building and extension of fossil fuel infrastructure. We scored resounding success blocking the Kinder Morgan Northeast Energy Direct pipeline last year.

It’s not over, folks. We have in Sandisfield an attempt by Tennessee Gas to build a storage pipeline through pristine Otis State Forest. Destructive, dangerous and unneeded, our resources should instead be spent on conservation and the expansion of renewable energy.

Become a citizen lobbyist to focus the Massachusetts State Legislature on the most important task it has ever undertaken, creating potent laws to stop emissions while establishing a just economy. Many such laws are being introduced right now, calling for rapid transition to 100 percent renewable energy while focusing the derived economic development/green jobs on so-called gateway and environmental justice communities.

Some bills restrict new pipeline building, two would create a carbon pollution fee, some divest state pension funds from fossil fuels, while others formulate funding for new green energy investment. They all need co-sponsorship by our state representatives now to become law. Contact your representative by Friday and ask them for co-sponsorship of all the bills endorsed by Climate Action NOW at

I must repeat: This is the fight of our lives, folks. Through it we can not only literally save the world as we know it, but build community we are proud of.

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.

Moving Solarization Forward: Event Feb 28 2017

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