February 2023 Newsletter
In this Issue
  • Save the Date!
  • Legislative Team Ponders Priorities
  • Virtual Statewide Climate Rally
  • Mass Youth Climate Coalition Lobby Week
  • 3.21.23 Day of Action: Time to Cut Ties to Fossil Fuel Funders
  • Can We Talk About Soot? (EPA Proposed Rule Change)
  • A Library of Things to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
  • What We're Reading: At Home on an Unruly Planet: Finding Refuge on a Changed Earth, by Madeline Ostrander
Legislative Team Ponders Priorities
For Legislation and Implementation
Out of more than 6,000 bills submitted in the Commonwealth’s 2023-24 legislative session, the ECA Mass Legislative Team has identified 580 climate-related bills. (Any bill submitted in both the House and Senate gets counted as one by our math.) Coming after the passage of the Roadmap and Clean Energy and Offshore Wind laws in the last session, many of these bills address steps needed to meet our GHG emission targets, such as electrifying the MBTA commuter rail and regional transit systems, incentivizing clean heat alternatives, promoting net zero building standards, and increasing cleantech investments with a green bank.
Our next step is to review these bills and propose a short list for ECA Mass advocacy in this session. Each of our working groups (transportation, buildings, energy, green bank, natural solutions, and budget) will be recommending priority bills in their sector to the Legislative Team soon. We also will be looking at some plastics, recycling, environmental justice, adaptation, and carbon pricing bills. To help align our legislative priorities with those of our allies and to get their insights on climate policy issues, Legislative Team members are building relationships with leaders in Massachusetts climate organizations, from 350 Mass to the Acadia Center to the Zero Emission Vehicle Coalition.
The Legislative Team also will be focusing on the efforts of the Healey administration, municipalities and others to implement the measures required by legislation passed last session and by the 2025/2030 Clean Energy and Climate Plan (CECP). Each of our working groups will be dividing their attention between currently debated bills and the implementation challenge. This will require tracking rulemaking and budget allocation, providing testimony at hearings, and creating actions for ECA Mass members to engage key stakeholders. Since this is a big task, working with our allies will be particularly important. Tracking and advocating for implementation is new territory for the Legislative Team, and we will be exploring and developing strategies for this in the months to come.
If you have been thinking about stepping up your involvement in ECA Mass legislative or implementation action, NOW is a great time to explore the many options to get engaged. Whether you have a few hours per month or even more time, we need your help. Contact Roger Luckmann (roger.luckmann@umassmed.edu) to learn more about the opportunities.
Jeff Clark and Roger Luckmann
ECA Mass Legislative Team
Virtual Statewide Climate Rally
Massachusetts Youth Climate Coalition Lobby Week
On Tuesday, February 7, I had the privilege of supporting the Massachusetts Youth Climate Coalition (MYCC) Lobby Week (a program of Our Climate). More than 80 high school and college students from all over the state, under the talented leadership of Eben Bein, met in Boston at the Old West Church for training, networking and peer-to-peer education. Then they marched to the Massachusetts State House for a rally, where the students gave inspiring speeches highlighting their thoughts and feelings about the climate crisis and the role the government plays in addressing it. (See a CBS Boston TV report on the rally, here.) Following the rally, students met with legislators for thoughtful, insightful conversation about MYCC legislative priorities, including bills such as the Zero Carbon Renovation Fund, the Polluter’s Pay bill and Climate Education.
It was an honor to support these young people as they gave up a day in school to learn about the democratic progress and speak up about climate equity. In speaking up for their communities, they are situating themselves at the forefront of the climate movement.
Tina Grosowsky
ECA Mass Leadership/Legislative Teams
Time to Cut Ties to Fossil Fuel Funders
For months now, Third Act, ECA, 350 MA, and other climate organizations have been urging their members and the public in general to use their financial power as depositors, borrowers, and credit card holders to pressure four major US banks – Chase, Bank of America, Citibank, and Wells Fargo – to stop funding the fossil fuel industry. The purpose of this Banking on our Future campaign is summarized well in this infographic. Remarkably, for those holding more than $62,000 in one of these banks, moving the money to a “clean” bank offsets a typical American’s carbon footprint for six months! To learn more about the campaign, you can also watch this Banking on our Future explainer video.
These efforts come to an exclamation point on the 3.21.23 Day of Action, which will involve events in the Boston metro area and around the country.
Third Act and supporting groups have asked these banks to meet with us to discuss their plans to end their financial support of the fossil fuel industry. Communications with the banks and their staff and leadership are ongoing. To increase the pressure on the big banks, Third Act, ECA, and other partners are asking people to sign the Banking on our Future Pledge, which asks people - customers and non-customers alike - to sign the petition: “If Chase, Citibank, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America are still funding the exploration, expansion, and development of climate-destroying fossil fuel projects in March 2023, I pledge to close my account and cut up my credit card. If I don’t bank at these institutions now, I pledge I won’t do so in the future.”  If you have not yet signed the pledge, please do so now!
Third Act and its partners have many resources to help you get started on finding better banks, credit unions, and credit cards. You can start by watching this recording.
On the Day of Action, we hope that many of us will be ready to show up at one (or more!) of the bank branches and cut up a credit card from one of the dirty banks, as we will already have a new credit card from one of the better banks. Even if you do not yet have a new credit card, or are not banking with any of the four, you are welcome to join the Day of Action! You can symbolically cut up a cardboard credit card.
Actions are planned in Boston on Tuesday, March 21, Noon - 1:30 pm, in Downtown Crossing: 425 Washington St, Intersection with Winter St.; in Lexington; and at other suburban towns’ bank branches. Watch for more details in our March newsletter.
Can We Talk About Soot?
(EPA Proposed Rule Change)
A Library of Things
To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Perhaps you’ve seen something new at your local library? Many libraries across the country – including 78 in Massachusetts – are creating “Libraries of Things,” where you can borrow useful objects, not just books. For example, library collections now often include kitchen appliances, tools, lawn and garden equipment, electronics, and other items not traditionally thought of as library materials.
But what does this have to do with climate? Items commonly available for loan, such as electric leaf blowers, and energy and air quality meters, can help reduce your carbon footprint. Even more exciting is that some libraries have added single-burner induction stovetops to their collections! This is an easy way to learn about induction cooking. Simply use your library card to check out the cooktop unit, along with an iron pan, and try them in your own kitchen. If you have a gas stove and are considering whether to purchase an induction stove, this is a low-risk way to test one out before investing in a full stove. 
Libraries are all about making people’s lives better, and this certainly includes helping reduce emissions for a clean planet!!
Tina Grosowsky
What We're Reading
At Home on an Unruly Planet:
Finding Refuge on a Changed Earth
By Madeline Ostrander
(Henry Holt and Co., hardcover, 2022)

Climate change is a big, global crisis. It can be completely overwhelming, and it's tough to feel safe at home anywhere when the problem is everywhere. But at the same time, often the most inspiring – and some of the most effective – actions to address it are those driven by local activists: communities protecting what matters to them the most; personal conversations; small-scale policies, adaptations, and innovations that grow larger.

Madeline Ostrander’s At Home on an Unruly Planet: Finding Refuge on a Changed Earth tells these stories. Ostrander takes “home” as her theme – what it is, and how it's changing in the face of widespread and repeated disruption. She uses it to expertly weave threads connecting local, personal stories of leadership from across the US with the global climate crisis and its impacts.

The book is organized around four true stories of unnatural climate-driven disasters: Flood – a historic preservationist figuring out how to do her work in the face of sea level rise in Florida; Fire – a rural firefighter who becomes a community activist and expert on fire resilience in her area of the Pacific Northwest; Thaw – local leaders working to move an Alaskan village out of the way of climate-driven erosion and storms; and Explosion – an activist who grew up in the shadow of the huge Chevron refinery in Richmond, California, and takes leadership organizing in her community to mitigate its local effects.

Each account showcases local action to address global climate issues, and recounts how people often initially engage with climate indirectly, because they care about their home and community. The book covers the leadership these activists take, how they work with and engage others, the positive civic impacts they have, and the difficulties they face as they do so. Each story is carefully tied to how the global climate crisis particularly affects that community, and its intersections with the history and culture of each place.

I found this to be a very hopeful book even though its key players run into plenty of challenges in their work. In The Guardian last month, Rebecca Solnit wrote: “Every crisis is in part a storytelling crisis. This is as true of climate chaos as anything else. We are hemmed in by stories that prevent us from seeing, or believing in, or acting on the possibilities for change.” Ostrander’s stories are a perfect example of the opposite. Stories about growing local leadership, tied to both community and history, make the work seem accessible rather than overwhelming; real rather than falsely optimistic or based on heroism. They help us to “see, believe in, or act on the possibilities for change.” Highly recommended.
Tom Rawson
This Newsletter is Published for Members and Friends of the
Elders Climate Action - Massachusetts Chapter
ECA Massachusetts is a chapter of the national Elders Climate Action. 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. 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.