On Monday, an interfaith convocation at the Massachusetts State House demanded more action from the governor and legislature to protect the climate. More than 100 people, including half a dozen from the Jewish Climate Action Network, sang, prayed, and praised activists outside the State House, then filed in to deliver our demands to Governor Baker. We delivered about 50 cards, hand-written and signed, to Baker's interns.
There is some momentum behind our campaign to save the Earth from the worst of climate change. Just this past month, floods inundated many areas of Eastern Massachusetts that had not experienced this disruption before. Four major storms (three hitting the Boston area) have thrown the Northeast into turmoil over this month as well. More people realize that climate change is here, now.
At the interfaith gathering, a speaker told us that Baker had signed orders that opened up the way to accept more fracked gas and install pipelines, trying to work around the climate goals set by the Massachusetts legislature in 1997 with the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS). Meanwhile, progress is much to slow on solar and wind. Lower-income people are still excluded from the financial benefits of solar by laws artificially restricting tax benefits for installing solar panels.
However, two good bills have been filed that start to address these problems: S. 2302, An Act to Promote a Clean Energy Future, and H. 2913, Environmental Justice Act. Massachusetts still has a chance to keep its role in the United States as a climate leader. But to keep the momentum, we all have to come out as we did Monday.
When the hundreds of thousands who marched against gun violence this past Saturday pour into the streets to march against fossil fuels, we will have change. And these people will do so; on Monday we were just the advance guard. The People's Climate March in New York City drew 400,000 to 500,000. When people realize that climate disruption is killing at least as many people as gun violence, they will join us.