January 2021 Newsletter
A Decade of Climate Action and
Transformation Ahead!
By Arnie Epstein, ECA Massachusetts Leadership Team
It was an eventful end of year for climate action in Massachusetts. With a new federal administration and action at the state level, this will be a decade of transformation in the fight against climate change. 

On December 29, the Baker administration released two important reports:
  • The 2050 Roadmap. This is an extensive study of potential pathways to net zero emissions in the state by 2050. This study supports the Governor’s executive order from last January to establish this greenhouse gas emissions limit in keeping with the latest science.
  • The 2030 CECP (Clean Energy and Climate Plan). This is a report of actions needed by the state over the next ten years to be on a pathway to net zero. It includes targets and policies for dramatically reducing emissions from transportation and buildings, the two largest sources of greenhouse gas in the state, by 2030, as well as decarbonizing electricity and maximizing the potential for carbon sequestration through our forests and other means of natural carbon storage.

And, as the clock was winding down on this legislative session, the Conference Committee, which had been working on reconciling the House and Senate climate bills since the end of July, finally reached agreement on Sunday, January 3. The bill reported out, S.2995, A Next-Generation Roadmap For Massachusetts Climate Policy, was overwhelmingly passed by the House and Senate on January 4 and is currently on the Governor’s desk awaiting his signature. This legislation codifies in law the net zero target for 2050 as well many other important provisions including environmental justice, additional procurement of offshore wind, and interim limits on emissions by sector every five years.

The Governor has until January 14 to sign this legislation or it will not be enacted this session. URGE GOVERNOR BAKER TO SIGN S.2995 NOW and keep us moving in the fight against the climate crisis!! Call the Governor’s office at (617) 725-4005. And email him at: https://www.mass.gov/forms/email-the-governors-office.

The ECA Massachusetts Research Team will present a review and analysis of these important studies and legislation on Monday, January 25, at 4 PM. The zoom link is: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83538742353?pwd=YUU5QU16VVlDMExOMmlPSWVwTG9xUT09
Don’t miss it. We are entering a decade of action in the fight against climate change! 
Biden's Climate Plan and Team
Be sure to check the featured post at our website, https://ecamass.org/the-biden-administrations-plan-and-team-to-address-the-climate-crisis/, for details about President-elect Biden's climate plan and profiles of key members of his climate team.
Also in this Issue
  • Save the Date
  • New Year's Resolutions for the Climate
  • Recent ECA Massachusetts Activities
  • What We're Reading - Braiding Sweetgrass (and an essay and photo by ECA's Betty Krikorian, inspired by the book)

ECA Massachusetts Monthly Chapter Meeting. This month we feature speakers from ACE: Alternatives for Community and Environment, the first environmental justice non-profit organization in Massachusetts. ACE has defended the rights of Roxbury residents for over 25 years and works with community organizers locally, statewide and nationally. We look forward to seeing you at the meeting!
New Year's Resolutions for the Climate
By Rick Lent
ECA Massachusetts Leadership Team
My wife and I have long focused on ways to lessen our impact on the environment. We have been fortunate to be able to use various incentives to add solar to our home and switch our house off oil heat and onto electric heat pumps. We were also able to buy an electric car at a great discount. We grow much of our own food in our garden.
Each year we look for new ways to lower our carbon footprint. For example, we now use bar soap for the shower rather than the liquid soaps in a plastic bottle. We found dental floss that comes in cardboard packaging, not plastic. Tiny steps for sure, but such changes remind us each day to consume more mindfully.
Every Christmas we buy a new cookbook for ourselves. This year we bought a new vegan cookbook and have been cooking some great meat- and dairy-free recipes. We have been mostly vegetarians for some years, but now we intend to greatly reduce our use of animal products. For more, see what others are doing to shrink their carbon footprint by changing how they eat.

We have also been “greening” our retirement savings by investigating what are called “impact” investing funds that focus on doing good. And we have used various sites to assist us in investing in ways that don’t rely on companies that contribute to global warming.
So what will you do this year to live more in line with your values? Can you commit to reducing your impact on the environment and enable a better climate for your grandchildren? Will you talk to your legislators to advocate climate-friendly legislation? What about growing a vegetable garden or supporting a local farm by participating in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)? Will you become more involved in ECA or another climate group? Will you plant a tree?
Recent ECA Massachusetts Activities
December 8 -

Our December chapter meeting featured Climate Change and Health: Connecting the Dots, a presentation by Regina LaRocque, MD, MPH, of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. LaRocque is one of the founders of the physician activist group, Climate Code Blue. Dr. LaRocque explained why climate change is a health emergency, and what Climate Code Blue is doing to support frontline communities and to collaborate with climate leaders. You can watch the video of Dr. LaRocque's presentation here, or at the featured post at the home page of our website, https://ecamass.org/climate-change-and-health-connecting-the-dots/.

Our popular first-Tuesday-of-the-month chapter meetings are easy to attend wherever you live - via Zoom - with timely topics, interesting speakers, and opportunities to network with other elders who want to learn more about climate change and take action. We hope you'll join us at the January 12 chapter meeting! (See Save the Date, above.)
December 14 -

Part 3 - Achieving 100% Clean Electricity in Massachusetts

In support of our mission to combat climate change, the ECA Massachusetts chapter has been presenting an educational series by our Research Team aimed at Massachusetts climate activists who want to understand and participate in the state's planning to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. More than 30 ECA Massachusetts members and other climate allies met via Zoom on December 14 for the third installment of the series.

The illustrated presentation by Arnie Epstein covered details about:
  • The key requirements for electricity.
  • A close look at wind and solar - the variable renewables.
  • Approaches to address variability.

If you missed Part 3, or the first two presentations in the series (Part 1, Getting to and beyond Net Zero - a Massachusetts Approach, and Part 2, Getting Rid of Fossil Fuels in Transportation and Buildings), you can find the videos and slides at the featured post on our website, Getting to Net Negative - A Massachusetts Approach, https://ecamass.org/getting-to-net-negative-a-massachusetts-approach/.

We're looking forward to the final two installments of the series:

Part 4 - Beyond Emissions Reductions - Pathways to Net Negative in Massachusetts will be on Monday, January 25, 4-5:30 pm EST via Zoom (see Save the Date, above). We will analyze the latest developments in the state's fight against the climate crisis, including S.2995, A Next-Generation Roadmap For Massachusetts Climate Policy (now awaiting the governor's signature), and the governor's 2050 Roadmap and 2030 Clean Energy and Climate Plan. (See the lead article above in this newsletter for details about current status.)

Part 5 - On a date to be announced in February, we will present other climate change mitigation proposals for energy requirements that can't be supported by electricity.
December 22 -


Our thought-provoking Deep Dialogue conversation series continued via Zoom with a discussion about Climate Change and Environmental Justice Work. ECA Massachusetts is beginning to explore what it would mean to align our actions, alliances, and advocacy more closely with the principles of Environmental Justice. Guest presenters were Susan Theberge and Irvine Sobelman of Climate Action Now (CAN) Western Massachusetts, a grassroots volunteer group dedicated to building a powerful climate justice movement through organizing, action and public education.
What We're Reading
Braiding Sweetgrass:
Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge
and the Teachings of Plants
By Robin Wall Kimmerer (Milkweed Editions, 2013)

[Newsletter editor's note: Published seven years ago, Braiding Sweetgrass rose to the New York Times Best Seller list in January 2020, where it still ranks 14th for Paperback Nonfiction. Robin Wall Kimmerer is SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology, founder and director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment, and a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. As Kimmerer explains in the book’s preface, she offers a "braid of stories meant to heal our relationship with the world,” drawn from Indigenous ways of knowing, scientific knowledge, and her experience “trying to bring them together in service to what matters most.” These wise and beautiful stories are essential reading for everyone concerned about climate and the environment. Kimmerer’s words also touched ECA member Betty Krikorian in a very personal way, which she shares in this moving essay inspired by the book.]

For the Women of ECA
By Betty Krikorian
ECA Massachusetts member

I sometimes find it difficult to be an elder woman, no longer the center of my family’s life, not the one handling the kids’ crises, making sure things work out, giving comfort, being the mom. Certainly, I’m involved with my family and I take on other things to keep life interesting and, hopefully, to do some good, things like ECA and trying to move the climate agenda forward. But the feeling of being peripheral has gnawed at me and caused distress. Recently some unexpected help has come along that I’d like to share.

I’ve been reading Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer. In the chapter “A Mother’s Work,” Kimmerer describes her multi-year efforts to clear a green pond – thick with weeds, algae and muck – to make the swimming hole her daughters had wanted. The pond is finally clear on “the last day of summer vacation. A day to savor the mellow sunshine. This summer is my last with a child at home.…” As she faces this poignant milestone, Kimmerer reflects on the “changing roles of women as they spiral through the phases of life,” musings that hit home for me. 
“We begin our lives…walking the Way of the Daughter. This is the time for learning, for gathering experiences in the shelter of our parents. We move next to self-reliance, when the necessary task of the age is to learn who you are in the world. The path brings us next to the Way of the Mother…when…‘spiritual knowledge and values are all called into service of her children.’ Life unfolds in a growing spiral, as children begin their own paths and mothers, rich with knowledge and experience, have a new task set before them. ...[O]ur strengths turn now to a circle wider than our own children, to the well-being of the community. The net stretches larger and larger. The circle bends round again and grandmothers walk the Way of the Teacher, becoming models for younger women to follow. And in the fullness of age, …our work is not yet done. The spiral widens farther and farther, so that the sphere of a wise woman is beyond herself, beyond her family, beyond the human community, embracing the planet, mothering the earth.

So it is my grandchildren who will swim in this pond, and others whom the years will bring. The circle of care grows larger and caregiving for my little pond spills over to caregiving for other waters. The outlet from my pond runs downhill to my good neighbor’s pond. What I do here matters. Everybody lives downstream. My pond drains to the brook, to the creek, to a great and needful lake. The water net connects us all. I have shed tears into that flow when I thought motherhood would end. But the pond has shown me that being a good mother doesn’t end with creating a home where just my children can flourish. A good mother grows into a richly eutrophic old woman, knowing that her work doesn’t end until she creates a home where all of life’s beings can flourish. There are grandchildren to nurture, and frog children, nestlings, goslings, seedlings, and spores, and I still want to be a good mother.”

I find this profoundly soothing and reassuring. What we do here matters. What we do as women at this time of life, what we do as environmentalists and climate activists matters. We are trying to create a home where all of life’s beings can flourish.
Photo by Betty Krikorian, Fall 2020, Westport, MA.
Inspired by Braiding Sweetgrass chapter, "Asters and Goldenrod."
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.