Because of COVID, the monthly ECA Mass chapter meetings have been virtual “zoom” meetings. We have also continued our series of Deep Dialogue sessions to explore important areas in depth. A number of these zoom meetings have been recorded and converted to YouTube videos with the permission of the participants.
ECA Mass chapter meeting – 9/14/21 – The federal Clean Energy Performance Program and state legislation for decarbonizing the building sector
You’ve probably seen the acronyms RPS, CES, and CEPP, but you’re not alone if you’ve been confused about what they mean and why they’re so important in tackling climate change. Arnie Epstein and Roger Luckmann of our Research and Legislative Teams answered our questions and clarified what climate activists need to know about the state Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and Clean Energy Standard (CES), and how those compare with the Clean Energy Performance Program (CEPP) in the $3.5 trillion federal Reconciliation Bill now in Congress.
After their informative talk, we heard from Leah Robins, Senior Government Affairs Specialist at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC). Her engaging presentation focused on a state bill we support, H.3350/S.2202, An Act Relative to building energy and decarbonization filed by Massachusetts Rep. Joan Meschino and Sen. Jason Lewis. The bill provides a plan for how the state can address greenhouse gas emissions from new construction and existing buildings, empower municipal leadership, and ensure access for overburdened communities. Leah also told us about the wide-ranging climate initiatives of MAPC.
As usual, we learned a lot at the September chapter meeting! Watch the recording of the meeting with all the presentations, discussion and announcements here.
ECA Mass chapter meeting – 8/10/21 – ECA Mass Policy on Climate Solutions
At our August 10 meeting, our Research and Legislative Teams shared a draft policy statement about the climate solutions ECA Mass supports, and why we sometimes differ from the positions taken by friends and allies in the climate movement.
ECA Mass believes that we should be open to all potentially effective technological, socio-economic, and nature-based means of combating climate change. But we disagree with some other environmental organizations, which contend that certain approaches, such as carbon capture and sequestration, carbon fees, and advanced nuclear power, are “false” solutions that should be taken off the table.
We divided up into small break-out groups on Zoom to consider the ECA Mass draft policy statement, and then we all came back to the full meeting group for a lively facilitated discussion about our feedback and questions.
ECA Mass chapter meeting – 7/13/21 – Actions to Protect Democracy and Update on Bills in Congress
At our July 13 chapter meeting, Paul Dryfoos of our ECA Mass Leadership Team and his colleague Jan Singer updated us about the Elders for Sound Democracy (ESD) campaign. (ECA Mass is partnering with ESD, which is a project of our parent organization, Elders Action Network.) Watch the video of their presentation, explaining the threats to our democracy and many specific actions we can take NOW to protect our freedom to vote. See the presentation slides here, and read the ESD Action Agenda and ESD Why Now?
We also heard from Michael Sales of ECA Mass, who has been following federal climate action, about the bipartisan infrastructure bill soon to come before Congress and the proposed budget reconciliation package that will likely include a lot of climate funding. He helped us make sense of the complicating political maneuvering on climate in Washington! Watch his presentation on the YouTube video. The slides from the presentation are here.
Deep Dialogue – 6/28/21 – Nuclear Energy
In environmental discussions Nuclear Energy is often as welcome as a skunk at a picnic. Do we really need it? Isn’t solar, wind, and storage enough? What about safety in a world full of malfeasance and incompetence? Don’t waste products lasting millions of years make it a nonstarter? Are the next-generation reactors an improvement? Paul Reisberg of our Research Team took us on a deep dive into Nuclear Energy and its future.
Paul dives into this important and controversial topic along with questions and perspectives from the Deep Dialogue participants. The slides from the presentation are here.
ECA Mass chapter meeting – 6/8/21 – Senator Barrett guest speaker
At our June 8th chapter meeting, we were honored to host state Senator Michael Barrett. Senator Barrett is a longtime climate champion, the lead author in the Senate of the landmark climate “roadmap” bill, and the Senate chair of TUE (Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy joint committee) which is responsible for most state climate legislation.
Senator Barrett shared his thoughts about the climate bill and the way forward. He presents this issues head on and directly addresses difficult issues during the Q&A period.
Deep Dialogue – 5/24/21 – Forest Protection
Our May 24 Deep Dialogue featured a presentation and Q&A with guests Michael Kellett of RESTORE The North Woods and Janet Sinclair of Concerned Citizens of Franklin County, co-authors of two complementary forest bills we support, H.912 (An Act Relative to Forest Protection) and H.1002 (An Act Relative to Increased Protection of Wildlife Management Areas).That legislation would designate most public lands as parks and reserves that are off-limits to commercial logging and other resource development, protecting almost 9% of the state’s land base.
Deep Dialogue – 4/26/21 – Federal Climate Policy
Michael Sales, one of the founding members of ECA Mass, facilitated a Deep Dialogue discussion on April 26, giving us an overview of national climate initiatives and the people in Washington DC who are moving these proposals forward. Guest Anna Lenhart, Senior Legislative Assistant to US Rep. Lori Trahan (Mass 3rd Congressional District), shared her perspectives. (Michael’s introductory remarks, and the discussion with Anna Lenhart, were not recorded.) But you can watch the video of Michael’s illustrated presentation, and the lively Q&A that followed.
ECA Mass Chapter Meeting – 4/13/21 – Representative Joan Meschino and Legislative Priorities
“We’ve got the Roadmap – Now what’s the Road Forward?” was the topic for our April chapter meeting. We began with a round of applause and thanks for our special guest, Rep. Joan Meschino, who sponsored the original Roadmap bill in the Massachusetts House and with whom we had worked long and hard since 2018 to get the landmark Next-Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy passed and finally signed into law. She praised ECA Mass for our teamwork and advocacy! Following a discussion with Rep. Meschino, the ECA Mass Legislative Team explained more about next steps to implement the climate law, and legislative priorities for the new 2021-2022 session.
ECA Mass Chapter Meeting – 2/9/21 – Video of Poet Amanda Gorman, Speakers from Other ECA Chapters, and Legislative Updates
Our February 9 chapter meeting led with an inspiring 2018 video of poet Amanda Gorman presenting her poem “Earthrise.” Then the meeting featured three guests from other ECA chapters around the country telling us about the climate work they and their members have been doing, followed by a Massachusetts legislative update.