ECA Mass Newsletter

January 2020
Letter from the Editors
ECA is on the move! 

We hope everyone had a pleasant and restorative holiday season. This is the first ECA Mass newsletter of 2020. Given the political climate and urgency of climate action, 2020 is certain to be a pivotal year for the worldwide movement to address climate change. ECA Mass takes this mission very seriously. We try to walk the walk by backing up our hopes for climate sanity with specific actions and initiatives designed to increase public involvement in climate advocacy and action. 

This works because we have a growing group of committed activists who show up to do the organizing work and amplify the caring voice of our generation. ECA initiatives include public education and lobbying on behalf of clean energy legislation, contacting “environmental voters” with a get-out-the-vote message (Elders Promote the Vote), opposing new fossil fuel infrastructure such as the Weymouth LNG compressor facility, policy research to inform viable climate policies, working in local, state and national coalitions and much more. 

Here’s the key point ------ We need you. Everything that ECA has been able to accomplish is attributable to our member activists – all volunteers. Please read on to find out about some great opportunities to engage and to grow as a leader and activist. We are committed as an organization to supporting each others’ work through mentoring and contributing our time and skills to emerging projects and initiatives. 
Please read on to learn about specific opportunities to engage with the work of Elders Climate Action. Most of our current team of project and organizational leaders were followers a year or two ago. We are very proud of our members’ increasing confidence and effectiveness as activists, persuaders and leaders. 2020 is our test -----can we as an organization influence climate policy in a healthy direction at this critical time? 

Please read on. This is a long issue because we are introducing several examples of the chapter’s work and opportunities for members to participate. So it’s very good news that we have lots to talk about. 
By the way, did we mention that ECA and the pro-climate movement need you?

 
 ECA in action - Global Climate Strike
September 2019
In This Issue
  • Letter from the editors
  • ECA Mass forges ahead
  • Make climate action a New Year's resolution
  • Notes from the Chelmsford node
  • Join the ECA Mass research team
  • Social media: the new town square
  • ECA is a vibrant national organization
  • ECA scales up national Get Out the Vote initiative
What's Happening
Check out the ECA Mass event calendar 
This newsletter is published for members and friends of ECA Mass

Editors: Paul Dryfoos, Diane Rapaport
Publisher: Arnie Epstein
Membership/circulation: Dawn Edell
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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 Mass and national websites here for helpful information about how concerned citizens can become effective climate change activists.

ECA Mass forges ahead with exciting new programs
and a shared leadership model

 
By Rick Lent

At December’s chapter meeting we announced changes and additions to the ECA Mass leadership teams and activities. We are growing, and our leadership is growing too! But the changes also reflect the decision of our founder, Dr. Grady McGonagill, to step back to a less active role. We celebrate Grady’s leadership, and we look forward to his continued presence in our community. 
 
Under Grady’s leadership, ECA Mass, the first state chapter of the national Elders Climate Action, was formed in September 2015. Grady’s tireless energy and skill over the past four years has developed ECA into an important voice for climate action in Massachusetts – and beyond. His patience and willingness to work with multiple perspectives has drawn many people to his dynamic vision of an activist organization composed of elders—people at or near retirement age, with extensive life experience and expertise—committed to preserving a livable climate for our children, our grandchildren and all life.
 
The retirement of a founder from active leadership can challenge an organization. But fortunately, ECA Mass is blessed with talented members willing and able to take on responsibility, so we are evolving a shared leadership structure. With more members in leadership roles and gaining organizing experience, we expect our impact as climate activists to grow.
 
ECA Mass now has nearly 300 members on our “active” list and over 1,000 stay informed about the chapter’s work through the newsletter and other announcements. We have new folks stepping up into a variety of roles. Here’s an overview of all the ways our members approach this work. Please think about where you might fit in, where your skills might have high impact, or where you see an opportunity for personal growth and learning. Here’s a quick overview, with a lot more information in the individual articles to follow.
 
The Leadership Team Is the chapter’s central coordinating and decision-processing group. The team meets weekly to address the decisions and plans for chapter operation, and seek input from members and contacts at partner organizations to inform key decisions. The current Leadership Team consists of Arnie Epstein, Maiyim Baron, Rick Lent, Paul Dryfoos and Michael Sales, plus new members Betty Krikorian, Larry Rosenberg, and Seth Evans. 
 
Rapid Response Team. ECA often gets requests from our partner organizations and coalitions to sign a petition or letter of support for a particular cause or policy proposal. We often can’t wait for the next weekly Leadership Team meeting to act. A smaller group (Arnie, Maiyim, Rick) is the initial response team. These three can certify our organizational support on short notice.  
 
Coordinating Council. We are always looking for ways to make planning and decision-making more inclusive. More minds on a problem often lead to a more incisive solution and better member engagement. To this end, one Leadership Team meeting per month (third Monday, 10:30-12) will be an open meeting with all active chapter members invited to attend and submit agenda items. We will send out a reminder and invitation to all our active members to participate on the Coordinating Council regularly or when a particular agenda item is of interest.
 
Action Planning Team. This team will plan lobby days, protests and related actions. See related article on this team below, and contact Seth (setherkim@verizon.net) or Maiyim (maiyimbaron@gmail.com) for more information.
 
Presentation and Education Team. Now that ECA has a higher profile in Massachusetts, we receive lots of requests for presentations and trainings. The Presentation and Education Team will fine tune our chapter’s presentation materials and provide training and support to anyone willing to talk with others about climate concerns and the steps we can take. (Members of the Research Team also will be doing presentations.) See related article below, and let Rick know (rickmlent@gmail.com), if you are interested in joining this growing group.
 
Representation to ECA National. Paul Dryfoos has participated with Grady on the National Coordinating Council for the past year. He welcomes others to work with him on national coordination, representing our chapter at national Zoom meetings, mentoring new chapters, etc. Contact Paul at pauld@eldersclimateaction.org, if interested.
 
Other roles. Individuals and small groups continue to help run aspects of the chapter: Paul Dryfoos and Diane Rapaport for the newsletter, Joel Kershner for finances, Michael Sales and Maiyim Baron for Facebook, Arnie Epstein for the website, the Chelmsford “node” team of Tom Amiro, Bern Kosicki and Kathy Cryan-Hicks, the research team led by Arnie, and the membership database team with Dawn Edell, Elizabeth Vernon and Maiyim. (See related articles in this newsletter.)
 
Please give this newsletter a read and think about where you might fit in. If you are interested in local organizing, please don’t miss Kathy Cryan-Hicks’ account of how the Chelmsford node got started, and how a small group of local activists is making a huge difference. 

Make fighting the climate crisis one of your New Year’s resolutions
ECA’s Action Planning and Presentation Teams need your help




Presentation and Education Team
 

As ECA Mass has become better known, we receive many requests for presentations to community groups and other public events. We need your help so that we have the capacity to honor all these requests. These presentations are a fundamental building block for our organization and participating in this group is a terrific opportunity for personal growth.

The Presentation and Education Team will develop a set of compelling presentation materials and provide training and support for both presentation skills and content knowledge. Many of our active members first learned of ECA when they attended an ECA presentation in their community.

We will take our presentation to community groups and lead discussions about climate change, with a focus on what each of us can do as individuals to work collectively for positive change. No experience? No worries. You can co-present with a more experienced member. Please contact Rick Lent (rickmlent@gmail.com) to find out more or join the team!


Action Planning Team

ECA Mass is heading into the new decade with a renewed emphasis on ACTION. With the climate crisis accelerating and expanding, we activists also need to expand and accelerate our activities to protect the planet and future generations. ECA Mass has created an Action Planning Team.
 
Each week, the Action Planning Team will send out an Action Alert, keying on important upcoming events or campaigns that correspond to ECA priorities. The Action Alert will always contain three sections: SHOW UP, SPEAK UP, and KEEP UP. The goal is to allow members to get curated, ACTION-able information from one reliable source each week, rather than having to sift through lots of emails to find out how to make a difference.
 
The Action Planning Team will help prepare members to take part in those actions by making calls to members, drafting letters, providing training, and arranging logistics for lobby days, demonstrations, and other public events. The team needs your help with this important work.  

Please contact Seth Evans (setherkim@verizon.net) or Maiyim Baron (miayimbaron@gmail.com).

Notes from “The Chelmsford Node”
 This is how local organizing is done

By Kathy Cryan-Hicks
 

Over the past year, ECA’s Chelmsford Node has been meeting regularly at the Chelmsford Library, and we are fired up about saving our planet! We want to let you know about some of the things we’ve been doing. Maybe we can inspire others to copy and customize our success in their communities. 
 
Our group began in January 2019, when Grady McGonagill and Rick Lent gave an inspiring presentation to the Learning in Retirement Association (LIRA) in nearby Lowell and ECA Mass was invited to participate in Chelmsford’s annual Volunteer Fair that March. At the Fair we added enough people to the ECA Mass mailing list that we felt confident in scheduling a public meeting in June at the Chelmsford Library to promote the work and mission of ECA.  
 
Since that June meeting, “The Chelmsford Node” (as Rick titled us) has been meeting regularly bringing in speakers, inviting our local state reps to join us for climate conversations and running interactive programs. We’ve had conversations with State Senator Michael Barrett and Rep. James Arciero.  Rep. Tami Gouveia attended one of our meetings on the 2050 Roadmap bill. We partnered with Chelmsford TeleMedia and are now producing our own TV series hosted by Rick. We’ve already produced three shows on climate issues. (You can watch our shows at ChelmsfordTV.org).
 
We are planning to branch out to Senior Centers in the area. On March 6, 2020, we will participate in Chelmsford’s annual Volunteer Fair for the second time where we hope to add even more names to ECA’s mailing list. 
 
Individually we are writing letters, sending emails and making calls to legislators. During Climate Strike Day a number of us took part at different strikes in the area, including Dracut, Acton and Lexington. Several of us joined ECA Mass at the State House in November to lobby for the 2050 Roadmap bill. And we continue to reduce our own carbon footprints and reach out to others with ECA’s message to combat climate change. One of our members contacted the Town of Chelmsford’s Sustainability Manager and joined the town’s Energy Conservation Committee. Another member has been working with the Environmental Stewardship Group at her church (CCU Dracut) where they have organized a Solar Fair and are planning a Green Fair in the spring. 
 
At our January meeting, Rick led us in “The Legislative Game,” a tool developed by developed by the Clean Water Action Alliance of Massachusetts and Mothers Out Front that teaches how legislation actually does (or does not) get passed on Beacon Hill. We will meet again on the second Thursday of each month at the Chelmsford Library, 25 Boston Road, from 1 to 3 pm. Please consider joining us. 
 
The Chelmsford Node: Bern Kosicki, Tom Amiro, Alisa Knight and Kathy Cryan-Hicks.

 

Join the ECA Mass Research Team
You don't have to be a scientist - just curious and committed
 
By Arnie Epstein

 ECA’s fight against the climate emergency is informed by science. We believe our understanding of the threats and solutions to climate change are shaped through the best research available. In that spirit, the ECA Mass chapter formed a Research Team nearly two years ago.
 
The team has written papers and developed pres
entations on topics such as the impact of a 1.5-degree temperature increase, aspects of ecosystem restoration, and ways to generate and deliver clean energy. Members of the team focus on issues that are key to our understanding of climate change, as well as topics of personal interest. 
 
Our team’s work influences the legislative priorities of ECA Mass and contributes to a better understanding of climate change among our members, as well as the broader community. We have begun to engage in presentations targeted to community groups such as local environmental organizations and libraries.
 
The team meets weekly via a Zoom video conference call. The agenda ranges from a formal review of a research topic to a lively discussion of a new area of interest. 
 
No special background is required to become a member of the Research Team. But you should be curious, open minded, able to participate in reviewing the work of other members and have your own work reviewed, and, of course, be passionate about climate action. Our current team members are Jim Campen, Arnie Epstein, Betty Krikorian, Paul Reisberg, Larry Rosenberg, and Adam Sacks.   If you would like to join us, contact Arnie at arnold.epstein@comcast.net.  

Social Media: The new town square
What you can do right now to build ECA's visibility

By Michael Sales

More and more people get their information and communicate with each other through social media. Facebook is the largest social media outlet, and 53% of all Americans use Facebook, averaging 35 minutes there every day! For many people, Facebook is their primary news source. Traditional news sources frequently get information from social media.

Our ECA Massachusetts chapter has a social media presence through our Facebook page, and already we’ve had significant success. For example:

• Almost 750 people follow our Facebook page.

• Our page’s estimated average “reach” per day (the number of people who see our Facebook content) is about 340; our highest daily “reach” last year was about 6,000, when we featured an article about Greta Thunberg.

• About 30 people share one or more of our posts every day.

But we’ve barely scratched the surface of possibilities for ECA Mass in the vast social media field. For example, with a stronger Facebook presence, we could network more easily with scores of other organizations and allies. We also could do more effective intergenerational outreach, since young people are active on social media. Only 2% of people over 65 use Facebook, compared with 30% of people age 25-34, and 51% of all teens. And we are completely unrepresented in other forms of social media, such as Twitter. There is so much that we could do!

A team of folks working with us on Facebook and other social media could expand our presence and impact significantly. If you would like to help, please contact Michael Sales (mjsales@mac.com).

Key Action Items that you can do right now:

Like” ECA-Massachusetts Facebook page, invite any of your friends to like it, and post info about your ECA experience. You are key to the expansion of our social media impact.

 

Did you know Elders Climate Action is a vibrant national organization?
 

We are very pleased that ECA Mass has grown to nearly 300 activists and 1,000 members and friends. Our chapter is deeply engaged in Massachusetts climate policy, believing that our state can be a true leader in the transition to clean energy. We understand that the movement toward sane climate policy is happening on the local, state, national and multinational levels. That’s why it is important that ECA Mass is part of a vibrant national organization.
 
The national organization of Elders Climate Action is building chapters in 12 states, has enrolled more than 10,000 members and followers, is collaborating with hundreds of other environmental organizations through the U.S Climate Action Network, and developing several national initiatives to amplify the impact of elders on sane climate policy. ECA is particularly committed to intergenerational collaboration. Both the national organization and state chapters are co-planning actions with Sunrise Movement, Mom’s Clean Air Force, Mothers Out Front and others.
 
The mission of ECA is to build a movement of elders and everything that is done on the national level is to support members and chapters in taking action. As with the Massachusetts chapter, volunteers are the key to the national organization’s power. Several of our Massachusetts volunteer leaders work with our counterparts in other chapters and the national organization to support the work and learn from each other.
 
There are several ways for Massachusetts members to engage with the ECA national organization. Joining ECA’s monthly national calls and webinars with fascinating climate experts is an inspiring place to start. Also, be sure to read the ECA national newsletter, published on-line monthly. One of our “ready-for-prime-time” national initiatives is Elders Promote the Vote, our volunteer-driven campaign to activate environmental voters. And stay tuned for news about promising collaborations with other highly effective climate action organizations. Please go to eldersclimateaction.org for more information about the national organization and how to engage. The events calendar is a great resource, at eldersclimateaction.org/events/. 

For additional information about the national organization, contact Paul Dryfoos at pdryfoos@gmail.com.

 

ECA scales up ambitious Get Out The Vote initiative 
Elders Promote the Vote: “Make 2020 the year of the environmental voter”
 
 

Elders Climate Action is committed to increasing the power of pro-climate, pro-environment voters in the 2020 election and all future elections. It's an important goal of our movement to put lawmakers at all levels of government on notice that the voters care deeply about meaningful climate action. That is why ECA has formed Elders Promote the Vote, a partnership with the Environmental Voter Project - to contact millions of these pro-environment voters with a clear get-out-the-vote message.
 
We are doing this because research shows that people with strong environmentalist priorities are not always the most consistent voters. But they are very persuadable to vote. Promote the Vote is forming and training teams of volunteers to text, call and canvass to encourage strong pro-environment voters to get to the polls. We have gained experience in 2019 with some critical races. This will help us to amplify our efforts in 2020. We will message prospective environmental voters in twelve key states. 
 
To do this we need your help. This is a volunteer-driven initiative with high potential impact on pro-environment voter turnout. We’ve done a lot in 2018 and 2019. We need to do lots more in 2020, and our amazing volunteers are the key to generating thousands of pro-environment votes. Our members sent more than 248,00 messages to non-voting individuals in 2019 and 645,000 text messages in total. 
 
Promote the Vote is well on our way to contacting several million voters before the 2020 election, with the potential to turn out tens of thousands of votes. We mostly text because the experts tell us it's really effective, but we also knock on doors and make phone calls to potential environmental voters.
 
Please join the more than 100 volunteers who have already signed up. With another 100 or more additional volunteers, we will be contacting millions of voters and turning out 10s of thousands who would not have otherwise voted.
 
Volunteering is one-stop shopping. Just sign up at eldersclimateaction.org/promotethevote/.
 
Your phone number and other personal information will never be disclosed to the voters whom you contact. We will provide training, technical support, and regular updates keeping you informed of when we have new voter lists to work with.
 
Promote the Vote will host at least 4 training calls in January. If you haven't already, please sign up for the project to receive a full volunteer briefing and an invitation to the trainings. Please help us amplify the environmentalist voice in 2020!

 

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

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