Newsletter: December 13, 2017

We are imagining the sighs of relief that were exhaled when you learned of the news of the Alabama victory for Senator Doug Jones. Make no mistake: this is a victory shared by many people (including some in our own state) who rolled up their sleeves and/or opened their wallets and made the “impossible” happen. And it is by no means the end of our Indivisible journey, as you probably know when you think about the current “tax reform” bill that appears to be close to passing, despite its overt and absolutely unapologetic crippling of the poor and those who struggle day to day. Continue reading “Newsletter: December 13, 2017”

Newsletter: December 3, 2017

In November, eleven of us went to the Indivisible Massachusetts Conference in Worcester where we learned strategies to Connect * Affect * Elect in 2018 and beyond. Of the many valuable lessons learned, some of the most valuable are those of hope and connection. In an invigorating speech, Elizabeth Warren reminded us that the actions of Indivisible groups like ours are working; that when people rise up and take a stand, the world changes.

Continue reading “Newsletter: December 3, 2017”

Opinion: Massachusetts Climate Accord

Accord (noun)
  1. proper relationship or proportion; harmony.
  2. a harmonious union of sounds, colors, etc.
  3. consent or concurrence of opinions or wills; agreement.
  4. an international agreement; settlement of questions outstanding among nations.

As Donald Trump decides to pull a reluctant nation from the Paris Climate Accord, a symbolic move that takes our country backward and reduces our standing in the world of nations, Governor Charlie Baker has stated that Massachusetts will participate in the U.S. Climate Alliance, along with California, New York, Washington, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.

As the Commonwealth reiterates its commitment to exceed the emission reduction targets of the Paris Climate Agreement, today we join the U.S. Climate Alliance to expand on our efforts while partnering with other states to combat climate change. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker

In addition, Maura Healy is working with a coalition of 19 state attorneys general called “We Are Still In.”

On behalf of our communities, our businesses, and our residents, the state attorneys general are proud to join this national alliance in support of achieving American commitments to the Paris Agreement.Massachusetts AG Maura Healey

How can we who believe that clean water, clean air, and renewable energy are the only sane way forward participate in helping Massachusetts move toward the goal of exceeding the emission reduction targets of the Paris Climate Agreement?

Below are a few recommendations for actions at the state, local, and federal level. By taking action, despair and frustration transform into empowerment and hope.

This is how we fight back!

State Legislation

The first step is to educate ourselves about Carbon Pricing bills currently in the Massachusetts legislature. There are two: one in the House and one in the Senate.

MA House Bill H.1726:

MA House Bill H.1726: An Act to promote green infrastructure, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and create jobs was proposed by Jen Benson, and co-sponsored by Jamie Eldridge and 57 others.

Sheila Harrington has not yet co-sponsored this bill. She represents First Middlesex, consisting of Ashby, Dunstable, Groton, Pepperell, Townsend, and Precinct 1 of Ayer.

Let’s ask her why:
Representative Sheila Harrington: 617-722-2305.

MA Senate Bill S.1821:

MA Senate Bill S.1821: An Act Combating Climate Change was proposed by Sen. Michael Barrett with 62 other signers.

Senator Eileen Donoghue has not yet agreed to cosponsor this bill. She represents First Middlesex, consisting of Lowell, Dunstable, Groton, Pepperell, Tyngsborough, and Westford,

Let’s talk with her about it:
Senator Eileen Donoghue: 617-722-1630.

Information Session:

Representative Jen Benson will be giving a presentation on MA House Bill H.1726 on Thursday, June 29, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. in the Shirley Town Hall, located at 7 Keady Way, Shirley.

The Town Hall is located in the municipal complex between the police station and Hazen Memorial Library.

You can read more about the event and RSVP here: Moving MA Towards a Low-Carbon Economy.

Act Local

Barbara Rich spoke in church recently (First Parish Groton), saying that when things feel big and overwhelming, she reminds herself to start small, to start local.

We all have things we could be doing at home to reduce our impact on the environment. Right now there is an embarrassingly large bag of shopping bags in the back of my car waiting to be recycled.  I’m going to start keeping reusable shopping bags in the car so I don’t forget.

Here in Groton we have a Sustainability Committee with a volunteer board (hint: 2 openings on this important board!).  They promote initiatives on Climate Action, Pollinator Protection, ongoing erosion to the Squannacook and Nashua Rivers, and a well-being initiative.

Take a look at what they’re up to–all politics is local!

Federal Legislation

We started at the state level, and moved to the personal and local.  It’s time to cast a wider net and look at what’s happening in the halls of Congress. There is a bill lurking in the Senate: S.951: The Regulatory Accountability Act of 2017.

Senate Bill S.951:

During the upcoming weeks of June, Republicans will be seeking Democratic support for Senate Bill S.951: The Regulatory Accountability Act of 2017. This anti-regulatory, anti-environmental bill could have long-lasting effects on the environment and other regulatory agencies long after the 2020 election.

Massachusetts Senators Warren and Markey will not, as far as we can tell, support this.

However, Democrats in red states could be tempted. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota are both cosponsors, although West Virginia Indivisible is actively challenging Manchin for his stance.

Indivisible has provided us with excellent materials on this complex bill.

The most effective thing we can do is talk to environmentalists in other states about this bill and let them know about its far-reaching and environmentally destructive ramifications. Call some old friends that haven’t heard from you in a while.  You know, the ones you used to hike with, who love the fresh air and wide open spaces of our beautiful country.

Ask them how they’ve been; they might be open to hearing more about possible actions they can take, like joining a local Indivisible group, supporting the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council, and most importantly for those in red states plus West Virginia and North Dakota, ask them to call both of their senators and register their concern about this bill.  Who knows, perhaps that old friend is part of the national Indivisible network!

Renewing relationships with old friends brings us full circle back to the concept of accord: a proper relationship or proportion, harmony.  The current climate in Washington is one of discord, yet there are signs of hope.  Cities, states, and even corporations have come forward to fill in the gap left by the federal government in climate protection.

We are not alone.

Deborah Santoro
with Margaret Scarsdale and Dina Samfield

Opinion blog posts represent the opinions of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by Indivisible Groton Area or its individual members. IGA invites input and opinion from among the diversity of its membership.