November 2023 Newsletter

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ECA Mass Meetings

Beverly Craig, Program Director at the Mass Clean Energy Center



Noon-2 PM on Zoom OR In Person

(Join at 11:45 if you want to socialize!)

Zoom link:

Meeting ID: 735 454 252

Passcode: 223189 (You may have to try more than once)

New IN PERSON option!

Join on Zoom as we have been doing OR in person in the Robbins Library Community Room at the Robbins Library, 700 Mass Ave, Arlington, the site favored by the majority of our members polled at the last chapter meeting. The library has both good public transportation and parking. We are delighted to gather in person again, but this will be a hybrid meeting, with members from all over the state Zooming into our space at the library, along with our speakers. 


There will be Food

We plan to provide coffee and cookies to feed your body while our fellowship and meeting program nourish the souls and minds of all of us, no matter how we attend, and fuel the efforts of each one of us to stop climate change. Feel free to bring your own lunch to the library, as well.


Please Share YOUR Activism and Thanks

We’ll start with some sharing before we move into our program. We want to hear about local actions YOU are participating in, so please tell us what you’re working on - and in these difficult times, what you are thankful for.


Our Speakers

Beverly Craig and Justin Packs from the Mass Clean Energy Center (Mass CEC) will provide an overview of the Center's activities and a tour of the recently released Clean Energy Lives Here website, which offers one-stop shopping for everything you need to know to decarbonize your home.


  • Beverly Craig is a high-performance buildings program director at MassCEC. She has experience in energy efficiency retrofitting buildings and installing renewables. She holds a BA from the University of Southern California and an MPP from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
  • Justin Packs is a Residential Building Decarbonization Fellow at MassCEC and has a BA in Applied Environmental Studies.


This is your chance to ask your questions about the energy transitions you want to make!

Feel free to invite to your friends, relatives, neighbors, and everyone you want to talk about the climate crisis NOW! Talking with the people around us is one of the most effective things we can do every day to raise awareness of the crisis and we all need to draw our friends into action. Send your friends this announcement with the Zoom link, or if you're coming in person, why not invite a friend to come along with you? 

YES! We do record our meetings and they’re usually posted on our website within a few days here.

Maiyim Baron



4-5:30 PM, on Zoom

Zoom link:

After Death Care and Carbon Recycling

If you live your life as an activist concerned about the Climate Emergency and what sort of world we're leaving for our children and grandchildren, then thinking about how we leave the Earth is an important consideration. The most common ways to handle one's dead body are burial in a graveyard or cremation. Cemetery burial is a form of landfilling, and as currently practiced using embalming fluids, cement vaults, and various metals and plastics, the process leaves behind a mini toxic waste dump. Cremation is typically done by high-temperature fossil fuel burning which creates significant air pollution.

Our speakers will be:

  • Glen Ayers, Soil Scientist and retired Public Health Professional, advocate of protecting groundwater and recycling human nutrients
  • State Representatives Natalie Higgins and Jack Patrick Lewis, sponsors of H.2193, An Act Expanding After Death Care Options
  • Laura Cassidy from Recompose, the first operating Natural Organic Reduction facility in the country (Seattle, WA)


This Deep Dialogue will introduce our community to familiar concepts such as green burial and less known options such as conservation burial, alkaline hydrolysis, and natural organic reduction (human composting). We will discuss the opportunity for advocacy to promote alternatives to landfilling and cremation through the passage of proposed legislation to legalize additional options with a lower carbon footprint, so that our passing will enhance the Earth instead of increasing the cumulative burden. 

Feel free to forward this invitation to your friends, relatives, neighbors and everyone you want to talk with about the Climate Crisis NOW! Talking with the people around us is one of the most effective things we can do every day to raise awareness of the crisis.

YES! We do record our meetings and they’re usually posted on our website within a few days here.

Glen Ayers

Legislative Team Active on Many Fronts

Committee Hearings and Beyond

October and November were very active months for legislative hearings, and many ECA Mass members stepped up to advocate for our legislative priorities. The Joint Committee on Financial Services received testimony on the climate bank bill from Sherry Morgan that focused on the need to go beyond Healey’s affordable housing green bank to provide low cost loans for more types of climate-related projects.


The Joint Committee on Transportation heard testimony from Rashid Shaihk on a bill setting deadlines to electrify school buses and public fleets, emphasizing the public health aspects of transitioning our public transport to EVs. Members of our Natural Solutions working group testified at the Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) Committee hearing in support of several of their priority bills. Roger Luckmann testified before Telecommunications, Utility and Energy (TUE) Committee on building decarbonization proposals for both large buildings and smaller residential buildings (Zero Carbon Renovation Fund (ZCRF)).


We anticipate that an omnibus climate bill will be coming from House and/or Senate halves of the TUE Committee early next year. It could include components of climate bills before TUE that address building and transportation decarbonization efforts and funding, a climate bank, energy infrastructure siting, permitting reform, and gas system phase out.


To plan our advocacy strategy for the next 3 months, our Legislative Team working groups are identifying the components of our priority bills we would like to see included in an omnibus bill, as well as identifying bills in ENR and Transportation that we will focus on as committee leadership and members make decisions before the deadline for reporting out bills in March.


Important Bond Bills to be Passed this Session

David Melly, the Legislative Director of the Environmental League of Massachusetts (ELM), recently gave us his take on two bond bills that the legislature will take up this session. Through the Economic Development Bond Bill, the Healey administration will likely promote incentives for green workforce development and for the cleantech industry, including support for start-ups to stay in the Commonwealth and for new cleantech labs, such as Greentown Labs in Somerville. The governor’s draft of the Environmental Bond Bill will land in ENR early next year. It will likely include recommendations to increase funding for the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness and Green Communities grant programs and for investments in new, innovative proposals for climate change resiliency, ecological restoration, and greening gateway cities.


Recommendations of the Climate Chief

The Legislative Team was encouraged by the breadth of the recommendations issued by Melissa Hoffer in her recent report (see related article). Hoffer recently addressed a meeting of the Roadmap Coalition where she elaborated on the urgent need to estimate climate funding requirements and sources, the increasing importance of planning for community resilience in the face of already existing and imminent threats of climate change, decommissioning the gas system, the critical need for a decarbonization clearing house to make it easy for residents to plan and finance projects, and reform of the Mass Save program. She acknowledged the essential role that advocates play in keeping the legislature and the administration on track to meet climate goals.


Mass Save Reform

Legislative Team members are working closely with other housing decarbonization advocates in developing a proposal for reforming Mass Save to equitably accelerate electrification of residential buildings through targeting high emitting homes, providing more customer support and personalized energy coaching, improving data systems and access, and offering “one-stop-shopping” for home electrification. The group is also taking a close look at all options for increasing funding for building decarbonization and reforming electric rates to more effectively incentivize installation of heat pumps.

Jeff Clark & Roger Luckmann

Mass Climate Report

39 Recommendations for

Cutting Our GHG Emissions

Melissa Hoffer, our State Climate Chief, released her long-awaited climate report on October 25 with recommendations to Governor Healey on priority actions to continue to address the climate crisis. The report provides 39 specific recommendations for a whole-of-government approach that will help Massachusetts meet emissions reductions goals that are mandated in the Clean Energy and Climate Plan. Agencies are required to work with Hoffer’s office on how to implement the recommendations.

The report tasks all state agencies with viewing their spending through a climate lens, while leveraging their funds to advance the state’s climate agenda to the greatest extent possible. It also calls on agencies to collaborate with each other on climate-related challenges and lead on climate by example.

Funding is Key

Hoffer’s top recommendation is for the state to estimate the funding required to meet our greenhouse gas reduction goals and to implement statewide climate change resilience plans. Potential sources of funding will also be identified. The report catalogs federal funding that the state is already pursuing. It also includes a focus on environmental justice.

The Legislative Team is reviewing the report, focusing on sections that address our highest priorities. Items of interest include electrifying state vehicles and installation of charging stations, workforce development, reform of Mass Save, launch of a statewide multi-media campaign, improving regional transmission infrastructure, requiring the Massachusetts School Building Authority to include decarbonization and resilient designs for new schools and major renovations, a decarbonization plan for state buildings, and the need for new regulations to support climate objectives. 

What will we see next? 

Hoffer requests key state agencies to collaborate on an annual climate report card and calls for the first one to be released this year, on December 1. It will track progress on goals articulated in the Clean Energy and Climate Plan. Read more about the report in Governor Healey’s press release and WBUR’s summary.

Sherry Morgan

Communicating for Change:

Ideas for More Effective

Climate Communication

Communicating the threat and necessary actions to address climate change can be one of the biggest challenges we face. The Potential Energy Coalition recently shared the results of a three-year study they conducted, during which they did extensive message testing and compiled some specific recommendations for all of us working in this area.


Here are some particularly useful findings for our messaging: 

  • Humanize the message. Instead of planetary impact, speak in terms of impact to the community, the state, your kids and neighbors.
  • Ditch the temperatures. Speaking in terms of Celsius or global temperatures doesn’t work. People don’t understand or relate to these numbers.
  • Don’t avoid naming the problem. Instead of focusing on a side benefit of changing to a greener economy, like “clean energy jobs,” just say, “stop overheating the planet by polluting less.”
  • Name the problem. The use of dirty energy has been emitting heat-trapping pollution into the atmosphere, forming a thick blanket around the Earth and causing our planet to overheat and creating irreversible damage.
  • Talk about the recent climate law (hint: don’t say “Inflation Reduction Act”). Experts expect this plan to cause a 40% reduction in toxic air and carbon pollution in the next ten years. This is the biggest carbon pollution reduction plan in American history.
  • Use meaningful targets. Year-based targets don’t work; people don’t think like that. Instead of referring to a net zero target by 2040, say “by reducing pollution 10% each year we can stop climate change before its too late for our children.”


Do we always have to monitor our language like this? Maybe not. If it’s a research conversation, for instance, or testimony on legislation, the language could be more technical. But we have to watch that the technical/scientific language we use in some situations doesn’t become our default language in all situations.


For more on this research and recommendations, see Talk Like a Human: Lessons on how to communicate climate change by John Marshall of Potential Energy.

Rick Lent

COP 28 Begins This Month

The United Nations COP28 (Conference of Parties) begins November 30 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Scientists and government officials from around the world - and sadly, hundreds of fossil fuel lobbyists - will gather to assess their individual and collective progress in dealing with climate change, and make a plan going forward. But while COP decisions theoretically have global authority, with tiny island nations having the same power as large industrialized nations, all decisions require consensus, and enforcement is essentially voluntary. These factors have contributed to disappointing results to date in terms of climate change mitigation.


COP28 faces the ever more complicated task of trying to keep the global temperature increase well under 2° C (3.6° F) and preferably under 1.5° C since pre-industrial times – goals established in the Paris Accord in 2015. But with global temps having already risen by 1.2° C., and emissions still growing despite previous commitments to the contrary, hitting these targets would require rapid phase-out of all new greenhouse gas emissions. Though many organizations will be advocating this course of action, many oil-producing countries, including the host UAE, are certain to oppose it. Another source of friction will be the continuing demand by lower lying and lower income countries for developed countries (the highest cumulative emitters) to contribute funds to cover the loss and damage they have or will incur.


Whatever you think about the possibility of COP28 resulting in needed breakthroughs, it will certainly result in many column inches of news. We hope this brief update helps you to keep informed.

Seth Evans

ECA Mass Out & About 

Maiyim Baron and Tina Grosowsky staffed an Elders Climate Action Mass resource and education table at the Boston University Sustainability Fair in September. 

Mass Youth Climate Coalition 

The Mass Youth Climate Coalition held its annual statewide in-person Climate Summit in late October at MIT. Tina Grosowsky helped with logistics, registration, and overall management. Youth attended on a Sunday to join with fellow climate activists from across the Commonwealth to share their local activities, participate in workshops, and discuss the climate legislation advocacy they're working on. The new Climate Resilient Schools Coalition was a sponsor.

Tina Grosowsky

Elders for Sound Democracy Town Hall 

What’s Democracy Got to Do With Climate Action?

A Conversation with Bill McKibben

November 15, 1 PM

Join Elders Action Network fo their next Town Hall meeting in conversation with Bill McKibben, familiar to many of us and one the most respected and influential environmental activists. His first book about climate change, The End of Nature, was published in 1989. Nineteen books followed, with 12 focused on the environment. His latest book is The Flag, the Cross, and the Station Wagon: A Graying American Looks Back at His Suburban Boyhood and Wonders What the Hell Happened. He is a frequent contributor to numerous publications ranging from The New Yorker to Rolling Stone.

Bill is the Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He received the Gandhi Peace Prize, the Right Livelihood Award and many other distinguished awards.

McKibben was instrumental in founding, which organized protests on every continent and spearheaded international divestment out of fossil fuels. In September 2021, he launched Third Act and is mobilizing climate change activists, who are “experienced Americans” over sixty to protect the climate and strengthen democracy.

We will ask Bill to address:

  • the essential connection between climate action and working for a strong democracy, and
  • priority actions we can take to protect our democracy, empower voters, and effect legislation and policies to save our planet.

After registering, you'll receive a confirmation email containing the link to join the meeting. You will receive a resend of this confirmation email from Zoom on Wednesday morning as a reminder and so that you have your unique link handy.

Would you like to review a book for our newsletter?
Contact the newsletter editor Debora Hoffman.

Did you miss a past meeting?

Did you miss an ECA Mass chapter meeting or deep dialogue? Or do you want to share one with friends and family? 

We have you covered! Videos of past chapter meetings are here and videos of past deep dialogues are here.
STAY CURRENT! As always, find more climate events and updates at the ECA Mass event calendar on our website or visit our Facebook page. Do you want to get more active in ECA Mass and learn more about what YOU can do? Sign up here for the ECA Mass Newsletter plus Chapter Action Alerts, or ask Dawn Edell,, to add you to our “Activist” list for all our Action Alerts and meeting announcements.

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Phillip Sego

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.