Hurricane Harvey: When the unprecedented is the new normal

This afternoon the waters are still rising in and around Houston. Hurricane Harvey brought what Governor Abbott of Texas described as “a new and different normal for this entire region.” The agony of searching for victims and assessing damage has only just started, but we know that huge swaths of Houston are underwater. Our hearts are with those who are suffering in Texas and Louisiana, especially under-resourced communities who will bear the brunt of this nightmare.

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Lisa’s Summer Node Tour: Building Power with Climate Justice Partnerships

Who is most affected by climate change and why is it important for 350 Mass to build partnerships with “frontline communities?” Lisa Young, our Climate Justice Partnerships Organizer, is visiting every node this summer to facilitate dialogue around this topic and describe 350 Mass’ solidarity work and how nodes can be involved.

Upcoming node visits:

7/25 Mystic node
7/26 MetroNorth node
(See the newsletter for details as the dates get closer!)

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#PeopleOverPipelines in Otis State Forest

Last Saturday, climate activists in the Berkshires led by the Sugar Shack Alliance blocked construction of a section of the Connecticut Expansion natural gas pipeline project. Eight people were arrested. Members of the 350 Mass Berkshires node supported the action along with about 80 other pipeline fighters.

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The Massachusetts climate movement rejects all new fossil fuel infrastructure, and we need leaders who stand with us. Retweet this to urge Governor Baker to back up his words with actions and put #PeopleOverPipelines.

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Now is the Moment: Get Involved with 350 Mass

Since the election, 350 Mass website sign-ups have roughly quadrupled and node meetings have been flooded with new and returning members. Many of us have seen family and friends feeling a newfound urgency to fight for a just and livable world. 

keepcalm350masssq.jpegIf you're new to 350 Mass, this is the perfect moment to get involved. Start by filling out this form (whether you're a new or long-time member!) to update your contact information and share how you are moved to take action. We'll be in touch soon, but in the meantime, please check out our calendar of events -- we'd love to see you at an upcoming node meeting or action. 

Most of us have never experienced such a terrifying contrast between our president’s vision for this country and our own. Our local and statewide efforts now take on renewed importance. Over the coming years, we’ll push for stronger action on climate in our state and in our communities. We’ll do everything we can to provide support to and stand in solidarity with those threatened by the political reality we face. And we'll work alongside all who share our values to mobilize the millions outraged by Trump to build the kind of political power we need to shape this country's destiny. How? By organizing more boldly and joyfully and beautifully than ever. 

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#PeopleOverPipelines Marchers Seize Power!

[Check out this 2-minute Youtube documentary to see the #PeopleOverPipelines Marchers in action!]

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From July 14-18th 2016, hundreds of Massachusetts residents marched the route of Spectra’s proposed pipeline projects all the way to the Massachusetts State House, where the 43-mile #PeopleOverPipelines March culminated with a rally on the steps of the Grand Staircase. As we walked, we picked up new marchers, major media coverage and a growing sense of our own political power. By the end of the march, eight state legislators and US Congressman Stephen Lynch had joined us, and our story had earned over 50 media hits, including The Boston Globe, WBUR, WGBH, and even FOX News!

Together, we sent an unmistakable message to Governor Baker and our state legislators: if they don't stop new gas pipelines, the people will! A State House insider told us we “moved the needle on the [pipeline tax] issue with our march.” Though the major energy bill passed at the end of July did not include the pipeline tax ban we advocated for, we will take the power we’ve built and set our sights on the Baker Administration, the pipeline tax’s sole remaining proponent.

MonPR5.JPGThe Massachusetts Climate Movement made this march happen. Deepest gratitude to our co-sponsoring organization Mass Power Forward, the #PeopleOverPipelines planning team and our many partners in this effort: UU Mass Action, First Unitarian Church of Sharon, the First Unitarian Church of Franklin, United Church of Walpole, Emmanuel Lutheran Church of Norwood, Theodore Parker Church, Stratford Street United Church, Church on the Hill, No Sharon Gas Pipeline, No Walpole Gas Pipeline, No Canton Gas Pipeline, No Stoughton Gas Pipeline, Fore River Residents Against the Compressor, Stop the West Roxbury Lateral, Resist the Pipeline, Black and Pink, the Criminal Justice Police Coalition, Progressive Asset Management, Boston Mobilization, the Massachusetts Interfaith Coalition for Climate Action, Mothers Out Front, Alliance for Climate Education,Consumers for Sensible Energy, and too many others to name!



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Successful First Season of the BFP Climate Justice Fellowship Program!

1._Fellowship_Retreat_group.jpgBetter Future Project is ecstatic to share that we have completed the first season of our Climate Justice Fellowship Program! The program ran from January-May and consisted of ten students from six campuses in Massachusetts.

When I joined BFP in September 2015 as the new campus organizer, I was presented with the idea of coordinating a new fellowship program as part of my campus divestment work. The interests were to deepen our student connections, offer more consistent mentorship and training, and facilitate cross-campus relationships. We have seen how youth and student power has radically shaped the urgency and direction of the climate narrative. If we were to be an organization that took seriously the enormity of the climate crisis, then we must take seriously the need to deeply build relationships with and train young people to be powerful organizers. After months and months of organizational soul searching, visioning, and extensive planning, Craig Altemose, Shea Riester and I developed the Climate Justice Fellowship Program!

3._Fellowship_Retreat_circle.jpgShea and I started the program with a kickoff retreat at the end of January, where we facilitated a space that allowed people to get connected, vulnerable, and real about their campaigns. Following the retreat, we held monthly daylong trainings that covered many issues that student campaigns often struggle with, including group structure, anti-oppression, facilitation, and strategy planning. At each training, we would try to end the day by making public commitments for what we wanted to get done by the next month. In between, I would have biweekly one-on-one mentorship meetings with each fellow to dive deeper into the training material, their campaign, and their leadership development.

You can read more about our amazing Spring 2016 Fellows here! These past months have been full of deep bonds of love for our earth and for each other, collective growth in our knowledge of the injustices that we face, and a commitment to challenge and support each other to be moral and compassionate leaders in action. Though their time together as fellows is now done, I feel confident that this group will continue to find support, joy, and love with each other moving forward.

The program was a huge challenge, and it felt risky for me to coordinate in my first year of this position. There have been mistakes made, late nights, and occasional tears, and I often felt overwhelmed with the enormous enterprise we had undertaken. But I end this season with the resounding certainty that I am not alone in fighting for a more just world. With every day at BFP, I get to be a part of growing this movement one person at a time, and thus making the load on my shoulders just a little bit lighter. While the Spring Fellowship is over, we are already deeply underway with the next season - our Summer Fellowship! If you are excited about our student engagement work, you can donate to support our summer fellows here! There will be another season of the Fellowship this Fall. Please subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated.

If you have questions about the Fellowship Program, please contact me at <alyssa@betterfutureproject.org>.

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2,000+ People Turn Out for "Jobs, Justice and Climate" -- the Largest Climate Action in Boston History

IMG_0495.JPGOn Saturday, as world leaders signed a historic climate deal in Paris, people from across New England came together for a massive rally and march for jobs, justice and climate! WBUR reported that 2,000 people were there -- making for the biggest climate march or rally in Boston history. 

It was an incredible day, with powerful speeches from leaders like Karen Higgins, RN, national co-president of National Nurses United; Adrian Ventura of the New Bedford Workers' Center; Derek Pelotte of 350 Mass Lowell; and many, many more. 

140+ organizations co-sponsored the event, and it was a powerful demonstration of the strength and diversity of our growing movement! 

Take a look at some of the photos here and here, and check out the media coverage from New England Cable NewsFox 25 BostonWBURThe Boston Herald, and the Associated Press. And don't miss the video highlights featured below! 

From Future Focus Media Co-Op:

From Bob Lawson of 350 Mass Metro West:

Photo credit: Tania Gomes-Castro

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Jobs, Justice, Climate: Huge Rally on 12/12!

350RALLYBLUEBOTTOMlocalprintflat72_(1).jpegUnited Nations delegates have been negotiating about climate change for more than 20 years, and this December, they'll meet again in Paris for yet another round of talks. There's reason to be hopeful, but we already know that even if the delegates finally reach an agreement, it won't be strong enough to prevent the worst impacts of climate change. 

No matter what happens in Paris, we know what we need: real climate solutions that create secure union jobs and strengthen community power and resiliency. And to get there, we need to build an unstoppable grassroots movement that can unite organized labor, immigrant rights, racial justice and climate justice groups. 

It's up to us to lead the way -- and we're starting right here in New England with a massive rally on December 12, the day after the Paris talks end!
What: JobsJustice and Climate: Rally to Defend New England’s Future
When: Saturday, Dec 12, 1-3 pm
Where: Parkman Bandstand, Boston Common, Boston
We’ll lift up the voices of New England's organized labor, immigrant rights, racial justice, and climate justice groups as we call for jobsjustice and climate action together. Join us as we build connections between movements and stand together as one! RSVP here. 
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President Obama Rejects Keystone XL!

WE_WON_MEME_2.jpgIt's official: President Obama just rejected Keystone XL. 

To the countless 350 Mass members who marched, rallied, took long bus trips to DC, and stood vigil in the winter cold: thank you. 

This is OUR victory, and it shows the growing strength and power of our movement. When the campaign against Keystone XL started, many people said that the pipeline was a done deal. Now, it's officially dead. 

Over the coming months, we will build on this victory as we fight to stop new gas pipelines and other proposed fossil fuel infrastructure projects across New England and beyond. Spectra, Kinder Morgan, and other fossil fuel companies should be getting very nervous right now: Keystone XL is one of the first fossil fuel projects to be stopped by our movement, but it will not be the last. 

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Carbon Pricing Hearing on October 27!

unnamed_(22).jpgMassachusetts has the chance to make history by becoming the first state in the nation to put a price on carbon. The world's leading economists agree that the single best way to tackle climate change is by adopting a carbon price, which forces big polluters to pay for the carbon emissions that they put into the atmosphere. By adopting this ground-breaking policy, we can blaze a trail forward for other states and countries to follow and show our nation and our world what true climate leadership looks like.

On Tuesday, October 27the Massachusetts Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy Committee is holding a hearing on a bill that would put a price on carbon. We need to pack the room and show that the people of Massachusetts are eager for visionary leadership on climate!

What: Legislative Hearing on Carbon Pricing
When: Tue, October 27, 12:30pm – 3pm
Where: Massachusetts State House, Room B1, 24 Beacon St, Boston
RSVP here. (Or RSVP on Facebook here!)

If you can, please write a few brief paragraphs of testimony about why you support carbon pricing and strong action on climate and send it to Andrew Gordon,andrew@betterfutureproject.org, before Monday, October 26. We'll all deliver our testimony to the committee chairs together before the hearing begins! If you can't make it in person, you can go ahead and submit testimony anyway -- we'll deliver it on your behalf. You can see sample talking points and sample testimony here.

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