ECA Massachusetts Newsletter

April 2020
To our readers: Before you jump into all the important news and events reported in this month's newsletter, please take a look at this excerpt from a thought-provoking essay by Seth Evans of the ECA Massachusetts Leadership Team. (Then read his complete article here at our website.)  
Crisis, Opportunity, COVID-19, and Climate
     There are many memes connecting the ideas of crisis and opportunity.  Winston Churchill, for example, invoked the idea in the aftermath of World War II, saying, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” Many of us have heard the meme that the Chinese word for “crisis” is composed of two Chinese characters signifying “danger” and “opportunity,” though native Chinese speakers recognize this as a slight misinterpretation of the word.
     In any case, during this time of coronavirus, many climate activists have tried to emphasize the opportunities that the combined health and economic crises have wrought. It is activists’ “job” to do this. We look at the problems of the world with a keener sense of both pessimism and optimism than the ordinary citizen. The pessimism comes from taking the problems seriously. The optimism, in turn, comes from the belief that once people are educated about the problem and mobilized into action, that action will help ameliorate the problem.
      But while the crisis does present opportunities, activists also need to guard against any false optimism. We must remember what we know about the raw exercise of economic and political power.  Indeed, this is a time to increase our level of activism to make it more likely that the positive outcomes we seek are promoted, even at the risk of offending those who would say, “It’s too early to focus on the climate when we are in the middle of the coronavirus emergency.” 
     Instead of a mantra of “crisis equals opportunity,” we would be better off invoking the words of Joe Hill, the legendary songwriter and union organizer, who beseeched workers, “Don’t mourn, organize.”

Image Courtesy of Ricardo Levins Morales,
. . .

Of course, we all have reason to mourn, during this unprecedented pandemic. And our first priority must be focusing on our own wellbeing and the needs of our families and loved ones.  But ECA Massachusetts will continue to organize, as we pivot to become a “virtual” community of climate activists, finding new ways to advance our pro-climate advocacy. You’ll find many opportunities to connect with other ECA members and take meaningful action as a virtual organization in the days and weeks ahead – including activities marking the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.
Read more below! We hope you’ll join us!
In This Issue
  • Crisis, Opportunity, COVID-19 and Climate
  • Mark Your Calendar!
  • Promote the Vote
  • MA Statehouse Update
  • ECA MA Updates
Elders Climate Action on the web

Elders Climate Action Massachusetts is a chapter of the national ECA organization. We are a movement of elders committed to making our voices heard... to change our nation's policies while there is still time to avoid catastrophic changes in the Earth's climate.
Visit the ECA Massachusetts website, event calendar, and Facebook page to learn more about our chapter's activities and climate news. And for more helpful information about how concerned citizens can become effective climate-change activists, visit the ECA National website.
Join ECA Massachusetts and Stay Connected! 

Subscribe to our monthly newsletter, and for more active participation, sign up to receive Action Alerts and meeting announcements.Fill out our subscription form.
Mark Your Calendar!                                                  

Some details and Zoom links for events listed below are not yet available or subject to change. To stay current in this fast-changing environment and get all our Action Alerts and meeting announcements, please email Dawn Edell,, and ask her to move you from the “Newsletter Subscriber only” list and put you on our ECA Massachusetts “Activist” list. Also be sure to check the ECA Massachusetts website event calendar and Facebook page.

TODAY! Monday, April 6, 4:00 – 5:30 PM, on Zoom

        Our new Deep Dialogue series continues (every Monday, except the week of a Chapter Meeting)! The first two sessions in March focused on building community and planning for effective pro-climate action as a virtual organization. In the session on April 6, “COVID-19 and Climate Change: Making the Connection,” we’ll discuss how the corona virus and other diseases are connected to climate change, and how climate activists can learn from the COVID-19 crisis. Click on the Zoom link,; or to join by phone, dial 646-876-9923 and when prompted enter Meeting ID 826 836 378.

Friday, April 10, 5 PM
          Deadline to Comment
on the 2050 emissions limit for the Massachusetts Administration’s “2050 Roadmap” Planning. (See and related article in this newsletter, below.)

Tuesday, April 14, 11:30 AM – 2:00 PM, on Zoom

          Our next regular Second-Tuesday-of-the-Month ECA Massachusetts Chapter Meeting will be held remotely through Zoom. The first half hour we’ll make time for getting set up and comfortable with the Zoom audio and video, socializing with each other, and maybe eating our lunches at the same time – together, but physically distanced. We'll start our meeting promptly at noon with a full agenda. April’s guest presenter is Amber Hewett of Newburyport, who is Campaign Manager, Offshore Wind Energy, for the National Wildlife Federation. 

To join the chapter meeting Tuesday April 14, click on the Zoom link,; or to join by phone dial 646-876-9923 and when prompted enter Meeting ID 735 454 252. It will be great to see your face, and we always want to Hear Your Voice!

Monday, April 20, 4:00 – 5:30 PM, on Zoom
          Deep Dialogue
. Topic and Zoom link to be announced.
Wednesday-Friday, April 22-24, (Virtual) Earth Day Activities

          ECA Massachusetts (and ECA National) are co-sponsors of Earth Day 2020, the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970! We will participate in the Climate Strike Coalition’s Three Days of Action for Earth Day and other virtual initiatives, including:
            Wednesday, April 22, Earth Day
Virtual rallies demonstrating our collective power and unity through community building and storytelling, such as Earth Day Live .
             Thursday, April 23, Stop the Money Pipeline Day of Action
We will target financial institutions across the country that are the largest funders of fossil fuels and deforestation, led by the Stop the Money Pipeline Coalition. We want to reprogram the economy so that it works for people and the planet, not polluters and politicians.
              Friday, April 24, Day of Political Action and Voter Engagement
We will focus on the urgency of political change through registration of young voters and increasing voter participation across the board. ECA National will be hosting an Elders Promote the Vote text and phone bank. We are working with the Environmental Voter Project to finalize this Earth Day campaign. (Read more about Elders Promote the Vote opportunities in the article below.)
Monday, April 27, 4:00 – 5:30 PM, on Zoom

            Deep Dialogue. Topic and Zoom link to be announced.

Promote the Vote:
Responding to the Coronavirus Crisis
By Informing Environmental Voters How to Access Mail-in Ballots
Elders Promote the Vote is a national partnership between ECA and the Environmental Voter Project to contact millions of environmental voters in the run-up to the 2020 election. Our goal is to encourage low-voting environmentalists to vote in higher numbers. Up until a few weeks ago, the message was “Please pledge to vote in all upcoming elections.” Now, in the face of the coronavirus crisis, the message is “Here is how you can exercise your right to vote by mail.”
This is critical work. Elections are being postponed in many states, and mail-in ballots are the best way for voters to exercise their right to vote without putting themselves or others in harm’s way. Voters are confused and disheartened. We are responding by disseminating accurate information to thousands of environmental voters in 12 key states. Over the past week, our Promote the Vote volunteers have contacted more than 25,000 Pennsylvania environmental voters informing them how to request and cast a mail-in ballot. We will be picking up in Florida within the next week or two.
Most of our contacts so far have been text messages using the powerful Hustle app. Now we will add another method - the good old telephone. Our new initiative - Elders calling Elders - will call lists of 60 years or older environmental voters to connect with them personally and help them figure out how to vote. We are starting in Pennsylvania and will move to other critical states at the appropriate time.
Please join our amazing volunteer team to participate in texting or calling. We will be scheduling orientations over the next two weeks. Please sign up as a volunteer at to find specifics about how to do this work and upcoming orientation sessions. Please email Paul Dryfoos,, with any questions.


Massachusetts Statehouse Update:
The Administration’s “2050 Roadmap” Planning

And Why Net Zero Legislation Is Also Necessary
Earlier this year, Governor Baker announced support of a net zero emissions target for 2050.  The existing Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) enacted in 2008 requires statewide emissions reduction of “at least 80 per cent below the 1990 level.” Because the GWSA mandate requires “at least” an 80% reduction, it can be used as the basis for a net zero target.  This target is being formalized under the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (“EEA”), which held a series of public meetings to describe the process they will use to develop potential pathways to meeting this target and solicit public input. ECA member Allan Fierce wrote an analysis of the administration’s 2050 Roadmap planning, available here

ECA Massachusetts applauds and supports the administration’s work to target and plan for net zero emissions. We also want to make it clear why it is necessary that net zero legislation ALSO be enacted – in particular our legislative priority, the 2050 Roadmap bill (H.3983):
  • Legislation will make the net-zero target state law, ensuring that it outlasts the current administration.
  • The 2050 Roadmap bill requires that regulations be enacted to implement the plan and calls for regular assessments of progress, as well as reviews and updates of the plan and the regulations.
  • The 2050 Roadmap bill requires that interim emissions limits, through 2050, be set by the end of 2020. This will avoid the short-term thinking that brought us natural gas to reach the GWSA’s 2020 emissions target.
  • The 2050 Roadmap bill provides tools to help achieve the target, including fees on top emitters, authority to implement carbon pricing, and regulations that apply to all utilities in the state.
The administration’s planning process lines up with the 2050 Roadmap bill and provides a “head start” for its implementation.  More information on the administration’s planning is here including a request for public input by April 10. 

ECA Massachusetts Updates:
What We’ve Been Doing and Planning – and How You Can Help

March ECA Massachusetts Chapter Meeting
When we suddenly had to change our usual gathering place, Brookline member Dawn Edell stepped in to pinch-host our meeting on March 10 (likely the last of our in-person ECA Massachusetts Chapter meetings for a while). Practicing the then-current guidelines on social distancing, we did not potluck, although people enjoyed their own lunches, and 20 people filled the room, with eight people participating on Zoom. We will be working on virtual meetings and other ways to carry on our work while practicing physical distancing in the months ahead.
Roger Luckmann of the ECA Massachusetts Legislative Team updated us on the status of Massachusetts climate legislation. Rick Lent of the Presentation and Education Team spoke next about effective ways to talk with others about climate change, and updates to our chapter's presentation, “What Can One Person Do About Climate Change?” and how we use that publicly in venues like community centers and libraries. We also shared a small group interaction on what brought us into ECA, which in almost all cases was personal connection. We watched "A Message from the Future" with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, which took us into talking about and practicing telling our personal stories of what motivates us – from head, heart and gut – to be climate activists.
Then we turned the meeting over to our guest presenter, Michael Kellett, Executive Director of RESTORE: The North Woods, who is working to protect Massachusetts forests and advocating against the use of woody biomass for electricity production. Here is a link to a good article by Bill McKibben explaining H. 897 "An Act Relative to Forest Protection," which is also on our Facebook page along with more information about these initiatives. You can take action here:
Stay tuned – by checking the ECA Massachusetts website event calendar and Facebook page, and reading our monthly newsletters and weekly Action Alerts – as we explore ways to keep our community informed,  engaged and active, continuing our work on the climate crisis in the midst of the global pandemic. Despite the difficulties we all face, we believe there is hope that some positive outcomes will emerge for our society through this struggle.

 Action Planning Team

The Action Planning Team is continuing to meet and discuss how we support climate actions, causes, and events in this time of physical distancing. In particular, we will be participating in planning for upcoming Virtual Earth Day activities, including virtual rallies (April 22), actions in support of the Stop the $ Pipeline campaign (April 23), and voter registration and activation activities (April 24) (see Mark Your Calendar above). We also will be helping publicize and organize efforts to support the 2050 Roadmap bill (see Legislative Team update below) and to support measures to bring vote-by-mail options to Massachusetts (see Promote the Vote update above). If you have questions or would like to join the Action Planning Team, please contact Seth Evans,

Legislative Team

Our team continues to focus on getting the 2050 Roadmap bill (H.3983) passed this session. The bill commits Massachusetts to achieving net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 by identifying feasible pathways to reach interim GHG emission reduction targets, implementing regulations to reach those goals, and requiring periodic reviews of progress to ensure effective follow-through. The bill is now in the House Ways and Means Committee awaiting action by House leadership to move it to a floor vote, after which it would go to a joint Senate/House committee for reconciliation with climate legislation already passed by the Senate. While dozens of bills related to COVID-19 are going to be occupying legislators for the next several weeks, it is likely that the legislative session, now slated to end on July 31, will be extended to the fall to allow legislators to address climate and other issues. The Legislative Team will continue to work with the 2050 Roadmap bill’s sponsor (Representative Meschino) and key climate organization allies to keep pressure on House and Ways and Means leadership to move the bill to a vote, possibly in May or June.

In the meantime, we will support and monitor the study initiated by Governor Baker to identify alternative pathways to achieve net zero by 2050 (see related article above) while encouraging the governor to support the 2050 Roadmap bill as a means to ensure future administrations will be required by law to continue to implement key features of his plan.

We are also pleased to report that Tina Grosowski has joined the Legislative Team; she brings lots of public health advocacy experience.

Social Media Team

ECA Massachusetts’ Facebook page has about 800 followers and several hundred “lurkers,” who see the page fairly regularly but haven’t yet “liked” it. We try to vary the information provided on the page — good news, sad news, bad news, technology updates, activities of allies, etc. There is so much important and compelling information to transmit. 
Because our FB page can be controversial, quite a few snarky deniers show up, and we do what we can to eliminate their content. Thoughtful and respectful criticism is always welcome. The page is fairly closely monitored, and the only people who can post really easily are those with assigned “page roles”. However, anyone of you can submit a visitor post, and the greatest likelihood is that we’ll get it up on the page. As stated before, the best way to improve the impact that our page has is to “like” it and to invite your friends to do so as well.
We continue to welcome volunteers who’d like to participate in our ECA Massachusetts social media activities. If you want to help, or if you want assistance in protecting your privacy on Facebook, opening an account, or using an existing account more actively, please contact Michael Sales,

Presentation and Education Team

We have a group working to prepare virtual sessions on climate change and individual actions, for use by ECA Massachusetts in coming months. We are still in the development stages of new presentations and session design, but we are now looking for opportunities to hold sessions for any group interested in a virtual presentation on what they can do about climate change. We meet once a month as a whole group, and a smaller team is working on details of the messages, slides and exercises. New members are welcome! We particularly need people with backgrounds in adult education, message design, media, and related areas. Contact Rick Lent,, if you’d like to know more.  

Research Team

Although Research Team library presentations are on hold, the team maintains an active calendar. Current research topics include biofuels, carbon sequestration, and ecosystem restoration. We stay in contact with the Presentation Team and have begun to collaborate on creating presentations incorporating the work of both teams.
This month, we are pleased to introduce new members of the Research Team, Charlie Flammer and Jerry Halberstadt.
ECA Massachusetts Leadership Team
If you have questions or want to share ideas, please reach out to a member of the Leadership Team. Although we all tend to multi-task, we’ve noted some of our interests/responsibilities below with our contact information:
Maiyim Baron, – Membership, chapter meetings
Paul Dryfoos, – Elders Promote the Vote, ECA national liaison
Arnie Epstein, – Research and Legislative teams
Seth Evans, – Action Planning team
Rick Lent, – Presentation and Education team
Diane Rapaport, – Newsletter editor
Larry Rosenberg, – Research team
Michael Sales, – Social media team


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Elders Climate Action Mass Chapter · 51 Taylor Rd · Stow, MA 01775 · USA

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