ECA Massachusetts Newsletter

May 2020
One (or two!) things you can do NOW about climate change…

If your inbox is anything like ours these days, you have too many messages to read. You care about climate change, but the complicated logistics of daily life during the COVID-19 pandemic can be overwhelming. So if you don’t have time today to read all of this month’s newsletter, we understand. But we hope you’ll scroll down and check out our two lead articles (just below “Save the Date”), and choose one small action now to:
  • Stop the money pipeline that finances fossil fuels, and/or
  • Promote safe and fair elections in 2020
Next, on a lighter note (we all need reasons to smile in these challenging times!), go to the end of the newsletter for a funny and relevant picture that was a big hit recently at our ECA Massachusetts Facebook page.
 
Then read the rest of the newsletter when you can, to learn more about our climate advocacy and how you can connect with other ECA Massachusetts members to advance this important work. Please join us!

 


 
In This Issue
  • Save the Date!
  • Stop the Money Pipeline
  • Promote Safe and Fair Elections in 2020
  • MA Climate Legislation Update
  • ECA MA Updates
  • More Help Wanted
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.
      

Tuesday, May 12, 11:30 AM – 2:00 PM, on Zoom

          Our next regular Second-Tuesday-of-the-month ECA Massachusetts Chapter Meeting will be held remotely via Zoom. The first half hour we can socialize with each other, maybe eating our lunches at the same time – together, but physically distanced. We'll start our meeting promptly at noon with a full agenda. This month our guest presenter, Casey Bowers, Legislative Director for the Environmental League of Massachusetts, will discuss efforts to protect the state’s “green budget” from being slashed as a result of the state’s revenue shortfall. 
Click on the Zoom link, https://zoom.us/j/735454252; or to join by phone, dial 646-876-9923 and when prompted enter Meeting ID 735 454 252. 

Thursday, May 14, 3:00 – 4:00 PM, on Zoom

         
          Climate Conversations
, informal second-Thursday-of-the-month group sponsored by ECA Massachusetts and the Chelmsford Public Library. At our May meeting, we will discuss Municipal Aggregation, the bulk purchase of electricity by municipalities, like Chelmsford. This will include a history of Chelmsford's two aggregation programs: Chelmsford Choice, and a new program starting in November. Beyond cost savings, aggregation programs can drive demand for more renewable energy. Hear about how our neighbors, Lowell and Westford, have adopted Green Municipal Aggregation programs. Learn about RPS (Renewable Portfolio Standard) and Class I RECs (Renewable Energy Certificates).
Please register at the library's website before 2 PM on May 14, and the Zoom link will be sent to you: http://chelmsfordlibrary.evanced.info/msignup/Details. (At the library website registration link, click on "Main Library," then scroll down to the May 14 events.)


Monday, May 18, May 25, and June 1, 4:00 – 5:30 PM, on Zoom
         
          Deep Dialogue
. Our thought-provoking Deep Dialogue conversation series continues (every Monday, except the week of an ECA Massachusetts chapter meeting). Please join us!  Topics to be announced.
Click on the Zoom link, https://zoom.us/j/826836378
; or to join by phone, dial 646-876-9923 and when prompted enter Meeting ID 826 836 378.
(Scroll down to ECA Massachusetts Chapter Activities and Updates in his newsletter to read about last month's Deep Dialogues.)

To stay current and get all our Action Alerts and meeting announcements, please email Dawn Edell, dawnedell1017@gmail.com, 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.
 

Stop the Money Pipeline 

By Joel Kershner, ECA Massachusetts member

Hello fellow ECA climate activists,  
   
Earth Week 2020 is done and gone. The crying need for collective efforts to slow climate change is not. Personally, I have been struggling with how to re-energize my climate activism during this disorienting time in our lives. My participation in a Massachusetts-based actionar "Stop the Money Pipeline" recently gave me the energy boost I needed. 
 
I highly recommend that you consider participating yourself. Participation doesn't require much time, mental energy or knowledge about financing, but thousands of people who have made their voices heard already have begun to make an impact.

The Stop the Money Pipeline Coalition is a strong national and international campaign to pressure the largest financiers and backers of fossil fuel companies including:
  • JPMorgan Chase: the world’s top banker of fossil fuels, providing $196 billion in financing to fossil fuel companies since 2016.
  • BlackRock: the largest asset manager in the world, managing nearly $7 trillion in assets globally, and the biggest investor in fossil fuels and deforestation-linked commodities.  
JPMorgan Chase, BlackRock and other Wall Street financial institutions are sensitive to public opinion. They have brands to protect, and customers to retain. They’ve made some concessions hoping that we'll be content. We're not. The fossil fuel industry is particularly shaky now. This is the right time to build up the pressure to stop the money pipeline!
 
Here's what you can do to make a difference:

ACTION 1 LINK: Sign up to Give Chase an F on Climate
Steps to take when you click on the above link:
1.  Scroll down to sign up for a specific week (or two). The earlier weeks are already filling up.
2. Click on the link on that page called "Chase genius attachment3.doc," which contains a link to more detailed instructions. (Note: the hyperlink to the detailed instructions took a while to load on my computer. Wait it out.)
3. You'll need to create a Signup genius account if you don't already have one. It's worth the minor annoyance of doing so.
 
ACTION 2 LINK: Tell Big Investors to Vote Lee Raymond off the JPMorgan Chase Board
The link explains why the campaign is focusing on this powerful fossil fuel lobbyist, former Exxon CEO and climate denier, and what you can do, including phone calls and letters to giant investors like BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street.

Stop the Money Pipeline activists already have achieved partial victory! JPMorgan Chase just announced that Lee Raymond will be demoted from his previous lead director role. (See details at https://www.blackrocksbigproblem.com/post/victory-chase-backpedals-on-lee-raymond-thanks-to-you
.) But he still needs to be voted OFF the board, and we need to keep up the pressure. 
 
We’re taking on the world’s largest funders of dirty energy and we’re winning! I hope you decide to take action!


 
Promote the Vote and Stand for Fair Elections
By Paul Dryfoos, ECA Massachusetts Leadership Team


Since 2018, ECA volunteers have contacted more than 750,000 environmental voters with a strong get-out-the-vote message through our Elders Promote the Vote partnership with the Environmental Voter Project. In the past month. In the wake of COVID-19 election delays, we have contacted thousands of voters to explain what they need to do to vote safely from home, mostly using vote-by-mail. Most of our contacts so far have been text messages using the powerful Hustle app. Recently we added another method - the good old telephone. With our new phone initiative - Elders calling Elders – we are calling lists of environmental voters 60 years or older to connect with them personally and help them figure out how to vote.

Now, in the wake of obvious vote suppression in a recent Wisconsin election, we need to do more. That's why ECA has started a new campaign, Elders Stand for Fair Elections. Our campaign is working to galvanize elder support for the principle that every eligible voter gets to cast a vote safely and have that vote duly counted. We are researching the most concerning barriers to fair voting, organizing advocacy campaigns in support of legislative and administrative fixes, and joining forces with other organizations concerned about environmental action and social justice. We understand that the path to responsible public policy requires a fair election in 2020.

We need your help on these important campaigns! To participate in texting or calling for Elders Promote the Vote and attend upcoming orientation sessions, sign up at www.eldersclimateaction.org/promotethevote. To help with the Elders Stand for Fair Elections campaign, please email Paul Dryfoos (pauld@eldersclimateaction.com) with any questions.

 
 

 
Update on Massachusetts Climate Legislation
By Tina Grosowski
ECA Massachusetts Legislative Team
(with Roger Luckmann and Arnie Epstein)
  
 
ECA Massachusetts remains committed to advocacy and support for state legislation which moves climate change goals forward. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Massachusetts legislators have not been able to move on any bills except by consensus, and those have been related to the COVID emergency.  Rules for legislating remotely have now been put in place. The state budget is the next focus of the legislature. It is anticipated the budget process will be difficult given the expected shortfall in revenue. 
 
Nonetheless, House leadership has expressed support for passing climate legislation this session. The ECA Massachusetts Legislative Team has been working with Representative Meschino and other climate activist groups to advocate for the House Ways and Means Committee to get the 2050 Roadmap bill (H.3983) reported out. Key elements are net zero emissions by 2050, a robust planning process with deadlines and interim goals that will lock into law the process the administration has started. If reported out of House Ways and Means and approved by the full House, the bill would then be reconciled with the Senate’s net zero emissions bill (S.2477).  Both the Governor and House Speaker have expressed support for a net zero emissions target.

 
 
Another bill supported by ECA Massachusetts, the GreenWorks bill (H.3997), which would provide funding to communities for clean energy and resiliency, passed in the House and is now in the Senate Bonding and Capital Expenditures Committee.
 
Other climate bills prioritized by ECA Massachusetts, including Carbon Pricing (H.2810) and Utility Transition to Renewable Energy (FUTURE, H.2849), are still in the Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Committee.  Their future this legislative session is unclear.

 

ECA Massachusetts Chapter Activities and Updates
 
April ECA Massachusetts Chapter Meeting
 
On April 14, we gathered for our regular second-Tuesday-of-the-month ECA Massachusetts Chapter Meeting (for the first time remotely via Zoom). Our guest presenter was Amber Hewett, Campaign Manager, Offshore Wind Energy, for the National Wildlife Federation, who spoke extensively and authoritatively about the great potential of off-shore Atlantic wind power for New England and much of the East Coast. She estimates that about 50% of the power needs of New England could be supplied by offshore wind! Amber told us that she was inspired to become a “climate champion” about 15 years ago, after watching the global warming documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. A Newburyport resident, Amber recently launched a campaign for State Representative in Amesbury, Newburyport, and Salisbury. Further information about Amber is available at https://www.amberhewett.com/.
                                     .  

Deep Dialogue

In this time of physical distancing we are enjoying wonderful Monday afternoon Deep Dialogue sessions using Zoom, which allows people to join us from far afield who might not otherwise participate. We've been averaging around 30 participants, and Zoom lets us move into breakout rooms for smaller group discussions too.
 
On April 6, Seth Evans coordinated a lively and satisfying discussion on “Crisis, Opportunity, COVID-19, and Climate.” The discussion focused on ways that the pandemic both created opportunities for advancing the goals of the climate change movement and ways that the crisis could set the movement back. The key takeaway: a lot depends on the organizing we do during this critical time.
 
On April 27, we were privileged to have state Representative Tommy Vitolo from Brookline join us. We certainly did not expect Rep. Vitolo to spend the whole hour and a half with us but he must have enjoyed our pertinent and incisive questions, and we kept up a good discussion, talking about various committees’ work and what's happening in the State House now. Tommy’s experience and expertise was evident on transportation issues including the MBTA and EVs, and it was wonderful to hear some of Tommy's “out of the box” ideas.
 
Please come to our next Deep Dialogue (May 18, and most Mondays, from 4-5:30 PM, except the week of a chapter meeting). Keep your eyes on our website calendar and Facebook page for announcements as they are scheduled, along with notes on the topics and background briefing materials suggested for reading or viewing before the session. Don't be shy about joining for the first time! There are always new people on the call.


New Presentation Designs for Virtual Times

The Presentation and Education Team has been meeting for the past several months to update and redesign ECA Massachusetts’ general presentations for groups. Do you know some organization or group that might want to host a virtual session from us? Church and community groups would be good candidates. 
 
We now have two different sessions to offer. Our core presentation is “What Can One Person Do About Climate Change?” It is designed to review (briefly) the challenges of global warming and then focuses on areas of progress and specifically the steps individuals can take to help us address this climate crisis…including joining ECA. This session is best run with discussion over Zoom and lasts about 90 minutes.
 
We also have a new three-session program called “Can We Stop Climate Change?” This program is intended to address the concerns of a general audience who may still be skeptical of the reality of climate change – and includes actions they can take.
 
Contact Rick Lent, rickmlent@gmail.com, for more information on either of these sessions.


ECA Massachusetts Facebook Page
 

At least 1,200 people clicked on this funny and relevant photoshopped picture that was posted on our Facebook page. Long-time ECA Massachusetts member and climate activist, Wayne Wild, contributed it. We’ve got about 900 steady viewers of our page, and big “winners” like this is one of the ways ECA Massachusetts gains attention.
 
Do you like to collect and follow climate info from a variety of sources? Do you see things that are funny about the climate sometimes that you’d like to see in circulation? Do you have Facebook video skills? If you answered “Yes!” to any of these questions, we should talk! Contact Michael Sales, Mjsales@comcast.net.

 
More Help Wanted

We're also looking to update our ECA Massachusetts website. If you have website design and maintenance skills and would like to volunteer, please contact Arnie Epstein, arnold.epstein@comcast.net.
 
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 multi-task, we’ve noted some of our interests/responsibilities below with our contact information:
 
Maiyim Baron, maiyimbaron@gmail.com – Membership, Chapter meetings
Paul Dryfoos, pauld@eldersclimateaction.org – ECA national liaison, Elders Promote the Vote and Elders Stand for Free Elections
Arnie Epstein, arnold.epstein@comcast.net – Research and Legislative teams, Website
Seth Evans, setherkim@verizon.net – Action Planning team
Rick Lent, rickmlent@gmail.com – Presentation and Education team
Diane Rapaport, diane@dianerapaport.com – Newsletter editor
Larry Rosenberg, larry.rosenberg@gmail.com – Research team
Michael Sales, mjsales@comcast.net – Social media team
 
Email
Facebook
Website

Our email is:
massinfo@eldersclimateaction.org


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

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