March 2023 Newsletter
In this Issue
  • Save the Date!
  • Stop Dirty Banks Day of Action: March 21, 2023
  • Legislative Team Update
  • Michael Sales Creates Video of ECA Mass Founder Grady McGonagill
  • Other Featured Videos
  • My Pen Pal: An Essay by ECA Mass Member Debora Hoffman
Stop Dirty Banks - Tuesday March 21
On Tuesday, March 21, our partners at Third Act are organizing demonstrations across the country with a clear message: Stop The Dirty Banks that are keeping the dying fossil fuel industry afloat.
The fossil fuel industry will not stop trying to make profits by drilling for and selling coal, natural gas, and oil. Putting pressure on the institutions that finance their new infrastructure (wells, pipelines, compressors, etc.) and operations is one way of limiting their ability to create more climate chaos. As this infographic explains, we do this by telling the banks they can no longer use OUR MONEY to destroy OUR planet. 
We are encouraging all people who care about the climate to move their money and switch their credit cards from the following "Big Bad Banks": Chase, Bank of America, Citibank, and Wells Fargo. We are coordinating our actions to have the biggest impact, culminating in a Day of Action: 3.21.23. To learn more about the campaign, you can watch this Banking on our Future explainer video.
Join us on Tuesday, March 21 (3.21.23), to protest in front of the banks. Demonstrations are planned in several locations around the state, including Boston, where 350 MA will be organizing a protest at noon at the Chase branch office in Downtown Crossing, moving on to Bank of America Headquarters at about 12:45. 
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.
Details about this protest and others can be found by clicking on the links below: 
Pittsfield, Northampton, Worcester, Newton, Lexington Center, Lexington-Brookhaven, Bedford, BOSTON. PS: Wear your ECA-MA green t-shirts. If you are going as a group and are willing to carry an ECA banner, let us know!
If you can’t join a protest, there are still many ways to help send a clear message to these banks:
  1. Third Act’s Educators Affinity Group has put together a wonderful “teach-in” on March 12th at 4pm, for allies who want to be part of 3.21.23 but are unable to attend an on-the-ground action. Register here. This one-hour virtual event will provide ideas and tips for how you might participate in the Day of Action as a “power of one,” as well as ready-to-print resources for your use.
  2. 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.”
  3. Research how you might identify better banks, credit unions, and credit cards. You can start by watching this recording.

If there is enough interest, we will create an affinity group of people willing to take action, but not quite prepared to do so on 3.21.23. Contact Seth Evans, ECA Action Team Leader, to learn more.
Legislative Team Update
Prioritizing Our Support
The Legislative Team is working toward delivering a proposed list of legislation for ECA Mass to back in the current legislative session. The team plans on identifying bills across three tiers of support: top priority, priority, and endorsed. We will likely designate 1-2 bills as top priority, and they will receive the most energy and attention from ECA Mass. We may identify one (or two) in each sector, i.e., buildings, transportation, natural resources, green banking, as high priority and provide substantial support for those in collaboration with our key partners, such as the Zero Emission Vehicle coalition, Mothers Out Front, 350MA, etc. In the endorsed tier will likely be many bills that are important enough for us to put our name on a letter or that deserve other forms of limited support. With over 600 climate bills in the current session, our goal is to not spread ourselves too thin. More to come on this topic!

The Money Trail
Governor Healey released her proposed budget for FY24 last week, and it includes a number of new items to boost equitable climate change mitigation and adaptation as well as some significant increases in funding for key Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) departments and programs. The budget boosts funding for EEA by $105.2 million (24%) to bring it to 1% of the total budget, as Healey promised. The budget calls for the hiring of 240 new EEA staff (an increase of 8%) and includes funding for a new Office of Environmental Justice (EJ), along with $70 million for EJ initiatives (a 1000% increase). Healey also proposes funding for a “one-stop-shop” website for residents to identify resources for improving energy efficiency and decarbonizing buildings and transportation.
This routine annual budget typically focuses on operating expenses for all state administration and Medicaid spending, while future supplemental and economic development spending proposals will focus more on funding new programs. The budget ball now goes into the hands of the House Ways and Means Committee, where it often is dramatically revamped according to the wishes of the Committee chair and House leadership. Our Budget Working Group will be analyzing Healey’s proposal and tracking the budget process to recommend items and amendments we should support, as this critical annual ritual unfolds. Stay tuned for Action Alerts that will help you follow the money and make a difference.

Legislation 101: How a Bill Becomes Law
The Legislative Team will be giving an introduction on how bills become laws in Massachusetts at the March 20 New Members Orientation Meeting (see Save the Date above). We’ll give an overview of the process, how to work with your legislative representatives and how ECA Mass helps you advocate to pass critical climate legislation. The primary audience is new members, but everyone could likely use a refresher. The presentation will be recorded.
Roger Luckmann and Jeff Clark
Michael Sales Creates Video of
ECA Mass Founder Grady McGonagill
Other Featured Videos
The ECA Mass Research Team has launched a new series of presentations called the “expert series”. These presentations go into some depth on a topic and are intended for an audience with particular interest in the subject. Attendance is limited to allow for an interactive and open discussion.

The first three expert series presentations were on the grid with particular focus on the operation and governance of ISO-NE. The presenters are experts in the industry: Phil Hanser, with over 40 years’ experience in the energy industry, and Meredith Angwin, an energy analyst and author of the book “Shorting the Grid”. “Greening the grid” while maintaining reliable and affordable electric service is challenging. The presentations were informative and lively and highlighted the fact that experts can disagree on the best way forward. All three presentations are available on the ECA Mass website; click links below.

Part 1: Introduction to the grid, with Phil Hanser
Part 2: Focus on the issues of deregulated grids, such as ISO-NE, with Meredith Angwin
Part 3: Grid operations and governance, with a focus on the evolution from regulated to today’s deregulated grids, with Phil Hanser 
And for a good laugh (which we all need sometimes!), watch this funny skit on clean energy: "Fossil Fuels and Green Energy Throw a Party,"
My Pen Pal
Writing letters to the editor can make an impact, and many of our members write letters to the editor on climate subjects. It takes time to craft a good letter and courage to speak out. A published letter is a win, with few negative repercussions. But ECA Mass member Debora Hoffman had a different, unsettling experience, which she shares in this essay.

Recently, I wrote a letter. Then, I got a letter. Specifically a hate letter, via the US Post Office, at my home.
I’m not a politician or public figure. I’m just someone concerned about the climate crisis who occasionally writes letters to the editor about climate-related articles and op-eds as a way of increasing their visibility and impact. It’s how I calm my climate anxiety, my increasing dread about the existential threat we face from global warming.
In my letter to the editor, I called out Shell for its record profits during this period of global instability and argued that Shell will continue with its business model until the public starts demanding clean energy for our power grid, homes, investments, and communities. But here’s the line that really caught my pen pal: If Shell won’t pivot to clean energy, then we’ll have to put them out of business.
That really pissed off my reader. They had many choice adjectives for me: elitist, snotty, out of touch, Marxist, authoritarian, thug – and that was just one sentence. They also wished nasty things for me, including that I and my “depraved ilk” be “catapulted back to a Stone Age existence FIRST,” which includes living outside, eating bugs, being hot, being cold, and wearing rags. The living outside part is because I have “graciously given up [my] abode” to one of the more than “5 million illegal aliens” who jumped our border 2 years ago. Certainly, a lot to unpack there.
And did I know that fossil fuels are the “staffs of life”? Unfortunately, this is pretty accurate, for now at least. Our entire world economy is built on the burning of fossil fuels, so they may indeed be considered the staff of life. That’s the problem. We burn fossil fuels to grow our food, heat our buildings, power our vehicles, run our industries, and operate our electric grids. All that burning of fossil fuels over the past 150 years has released enough CO2 into our delicate atmosphere to raise average global temperatures nearly 2 degrees Fahrenheit. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s already creating intense hurricanes, long droughts, heat waves, flooding, mass extinction. And very weird weather.
We humans are facing this threat right now, not in some distant, vague future. We are living through an era of climate chaos. You need only look at this month’s temperatures. And we humans are the single cause of this threat, mainly through the continued burning of fossil fuels. Moreover, only we humans have the power to stop this threat, by rapidly pivoting to an economy powered by clean energy sources.
Finally, my letter writer ends with an endearing “F*#@ all the way off, Ms. tone-deaf, dumb, blind, and obtuse.”
My letter writer’s anger is misplaced. But our public sphere is so angry and divided that anyone who speaks out becomes a target, instead of the powerful corporations that continue to stymie the transition off fossil fuels. I wonder, what is this person truly angry about? Why would a letter in the paper incite such fury? Maybe it’s related to that bit about people jumping the border and anxieties about somehow being replaced. Those fears are in turn stoked by unethical news organizations to maintain the status quo. All of this fear and loathing is about everything but the real danger - global warming. It’s easier to yell at me – and the letter I received did feel like a tongue lashing – than to target a faceless industry. Shell, Exxon, and other oil and gas companies are heavily implicated in this disaster – for decades, they’ve covered up their own research showing that their products are inherently deadly to the planet. We should be angry, but not at someone like me who’s only trying to raise the alarm. I mean, what’s not to like about a stable climate – along with the cleaner air and water that comes with less pollution?
My pen pal failed to identify themselves, nor did they include a return address, but it’s scary to know that someone feels such hatred and animosity toward me - enough to put pen to paper, research my address, and buy a stamp to mail me a letter. It’s not the first one I’ve received from this person, either. About a year ago, I got another letter that called me a fascist dumb ass. I reported the letters to the police, whose only advice was to “keep a low profile.”
I’m on someone’s radar, and not in a good way. I know that the only way we combat climate change is to stop burning fossil fuels. That makes me an evil person, according to my reader. I wish I had a way of communicating with this person to let them know I’m only a fellow inhabitant of this planet who fears what will happen if we continue pumping CO2 into our atmosphere. And that the changes we must make to achieve a clean-energy economy will take work and commitment on all our parts. I will keep using my voice and actions to support this transition. 

Debora Hoffman
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.