May 2021 Newsletter
In this Issue
  • Save the Date
  • Rep. Joan Meschino Praises ECA Mass Advocacy!
  • Our Top Priority Massachusetts Legislation for 2021-22
  • Deep Dialogue about National Climate Initiatives
  • What We're Reading - How to Avoid a Climate Disaster

Rep. Joan Meschino Praises ECA Mass Advocacy!
"We’ve got the Roadmap - Now what’s the Road Forward?” was the hot topic of our April chapter meeting. We began with a round of applause and thanks for our special guest, Rep. Joan Meschino, with whom we had worked long and hard to get the Next-Generation Roadmap passed into law. And she gave ECA Massachusetts a warm and wonderful encomium!

Rep. Meschino described how ECA Massachusetts’ advocacy made a difference in the long legislative marathon, from when she first sponsored the Roadmap bill in 2018 until Governor Baker signed the law in March this year. “I can’t imagine trying to tackle this without Elders Climate Action," she said. "You were innovative, you leveraged all your relationships, you stuck to the message, and you were a fantastic partner!" "It was my absolute pleasure and joy to work with you!" (Here's the video of that meeting. Watch from about 3 minutes 20 seconds to 7 minutes for Rep. Meschino's gracious comments about ECA Massachusetts.)

We were honored to partner with Rep. Meschino, and her words of praise will energize ECA Massachusetts as we continue our climate advocacy in the months and years ahead. Read more below about what's next.

Our Top Priority Massachusetts Legislation
for 2021-22

The ECA Massachusetts Legislative Team has identified a final list of six bills that will be our top priority for advocacy this legislative session. We received and reviewed more than 40 comments from members on our long list of more than 60 bills. Thanks to all who sent in their bill preferences and related comments!

We aimed to select one bill in each of six categories: transportation, buildings, energy, natural solutions, funding for Clean Energy and Climate Plan (CECP) 2030 priorities, and environmental justice (EJ). Here are the bills we selected:

    (Buildings) An Act Relative to Building Energy and Decarbonization - H.3350/S.2292
    (CECP Funding) Green Futures Act - H.3292
    (EJ) An Act Relative to Energy Facilities Siting Reform to Address Environmental Justice, Climate and Public Health - H.3336/S.2135
    (Energy) An Act to Promote Offshore Wind Energy and Renewables - H.3302/S.2158
    (Natural Solutions) An Act Relative to Forest Protection - H.912
    (Transportation) An Act Relative to Public Transit Electrification - H.3559/S.2292

(For brief bill summaries and links to bills go here)

Overall we targeted bills that support implementation of the CECP and/or EJ issues, are supported by our allies, and stand a reasonable chance of passage this session. We will next be working on selecting about 10 more bills for a secondary level of support. We will again take into account preferences submitted by members and will be aiming to include one or two bills in each of the six categories we targeted for our highest priority list. We look forward to having this list ready soon.

With at least 16 bills that we will be advocating for, we will need a lot of help tracking legislation and planning and implementing advocacy efforts. If you are interested in volunteering for any of this work, please contact Roger Luckmann at

Deep Dialogue about National Climate Initiatives

Michael Sales, one of the founding members of ECA Massachusetts, facilitated a Deep Dialogue discussion on April 26, an overview of the vast range of national climate initiatives in motion and the people in Washington DC who are moving these proposals forward. Special guest Anna Lenhart, Senior Legislative Assistant to U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan (of Massachusetts’ 3rd Congressional District), shared her perspectives, and Michael followed with an illustrated presentation.
You can access Michael’s slides here, and the video of his presentation and Q&A here. His introductory remarks at the beginning of the Deep Dialogue, and the discussion with Anna Lenhart, were not recorded. However, Michael has provided a condensed version of his introduction below:   
In 1776, the great internationalist and one of America’s founders, Thomas Paine, said that “The times have found us.” He was referring to the fact that the signs were everywhere that the Old Order was not working for anybody who wanted to play an active role in creating the future. One might say that the imperial Past ran out of gas.
We’re in a similar situation today. The scientific consensus is that humanity has got nine years to start to get our response to climate change right.
As we all know, intelligent climate action experienced an unrelenting attack of denial and defunding during the Trump years. We went backwards when we should have been stepping up.
But now the situation is dramatically changed. The Biden White House and many members of the 117th Congress are backing climate action across a host of initiatives in DC. Climate activists are finally living in a supportive context nationally, and it’s making a huge difference to the nation’s executive and legislative agendas. 
Our four years of backing Massachusetts’ 2050 clean energy Roadmap bill has provided ECA Massachusetts with quite a learning experience in the legislative process. It’s complicated, it’s time consuming and it’s slow. Making policy change at the national level is like everything we went through with the Roadmap bill on steroids to the Nth degree.
Obviously, ECA Massachusetts is a small organization, and even ECA National is small potatoes when it comes to the name players engaged with federal legislation. So, the likelihood that we’re going to ever exercise the sort of influence in DC that we were ultimately able to do over the last four years on Beacon Hill is remote.  
However, what happens in the US Congress and at the White House has great significance for what will happen everywhere in America and probably the world as a whole. 
The stakes are very high. There is absolutely no guarantee that America will not return to denial and Trumpism when it comes to climate change. If Trumpism gains control of even one chamber in Congress 2022, I think our rather slim chance of effectively dealing with the climate crisis will wither and die. As I see it, we’ve got 18 short months to prove that our democracy (and the world’s democracies in general) are up to the challenges presented by climate change. If we do not, autocratic regimes will be strengthened worldwide.
The slim majority Biden has in Congress makes dealing with the climate crisis fraught indeed. I believe that everyone in organizations like ECA needs to be at least somewhat informed on how DC works.
My objective now is simply to get us started in thinking about how we can begin to get our minds around what’s going on in Washington and consider what that means for the ECA Massachusetts chapter’s activism. My effort to understand and explore this climate landscape, which I’m hoping we’ll map together, is just beginning. Please contact me, Michael Sales, at, if you’d like to join me in this work.  
For more background about the Biden Administration's Climate Plan and Team:
Check the collection of articles at our website,, updated periodically by Michael Sales.
What We're Reading
How to Avoid a Climate Disaster:
The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need
By Bill Gates (Knopf, 2021)
Bill Gates has written an excellent book about the crisis of climate change and the solutions already at hand and those that require breakthroughs. The book is organized around the primary sources of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. For each of the sources of emissions, a clear description is provided of the source of the emissions and the methods we have or could develop to reduce or eliminate them. 
A theme used throughout is the idea of a “green premium,” which is an estimate of the cost of switching to a green alternative for a particular source of greenhouse gas emissions (in some cases, the green premium is negative!). Another focus of the book is to put the sources of emissions in context - what are their relative contributions and how difficult will it be to eliminate them. 
While hopeful, the book doesn’t “pull any punches” in the discussion of how great a challenge we face. The book takes an “all hands on deck” approach, and no potential solutions are “redlined.” Gates has received criticism for pointing out some of the challenges of a total reliance on wind and solar and for discussing the benefits of energy sources like nuclear and biofuels.
For a comprehensive and accessible overview of the climate crisis and the approaches needed to combat it, this book is a must read.

-- Arnie Epstein


Do you have a book review suggestion? Send your ideas to Newsletter Editor Diane Rapaport.
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.