Climate action is making serious political headway in Massachusetts. This year, half a dozen bills in the legislature deal with a range of issues including climate pricing, funding for transportation, and democratic representation for low-income and minority communities affected by environmental degradation. Massachusetts has long been a leader in environmental work, with impressive achievements in renewable energy, but we also dragged down by a lack of vision that permits business as usual when it comes to new pipelines and other infrastructure.
Today, to gain cosponsors for the bills and build up support in general, a coalition of some 200 organizations (including the Jewish Climate Action Network) called http://mapowerforward.com/ Mass Power Forward held a Campaign Launch Day that stuffed a local church with 150 attendees and spread throughout the Massachusetts State House. Our meetings with 44 state reps culminated in a rally before the governor's office around our current hot-button issue, the recent granting of permits for a new compressor station in the town of Weymouth.
The urgency of our message is hitting home. Americans are cutting through the fog left by the media, academic pundits, and politicians to increasingly understand the importance of climate change. The two Massachusetts houses are considering more progressive bills than in the past, and we have a real shot at finally getting carbon pricing this year.
But we also know that the environmental movement has to strengthen its relationships with social justice movements among low-income people and minorities. Furthermore, environmental benefits such as better public transportation can't be limited to those lucky enough to live in the urban core around Boston: climate-friendly options must be extended throughout the state.