Gov. Patrick Calls for a “Future Free of Fossil Fuels”

Last Friday, after months of campaigning, Better Future Project / 350 Massachusetts and our partners at Students for a Just and Stable Future sat down with Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick to discuss his remarkable climate record and our call for him to further build upon it by banning the worst, building only the best, and beginning to price the rest. 

We decided to focus our energies on Governor Patrick because he has been such a strong leader on climate change, having made clean energy and climate action a cornerstone of his administration and having led the nation with policies around energy efficiency and clean energy.

Once again, just a week after our meeting, Governor Patrick has stepped up to the plate on climate change: while speaking today at the commencement ceremony of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, he referenced “heat waves, coastal flooding, intense precipitation and more extreme storms” and invoked a “future free of fossil fuels.”  Excitingly, he also called for Massachusetts to “finally end all reliance on conventional coal generation” within the next four years. 

gov patrick speech meme 3 We honor leaders who take bold action in difficult times. By calling for a clean energy future that moves beyond all fossil fuel usage, Governor Patrick has shown himself to be a leader willing to take on the crisis of climate change — starting with an end to coal. It’s clear that our efforts to advance the conversation around climate change in Massachusetts are already paying off.

And with our support, Governor Patrick is not just changing the conversation around climate change, but translating that talk into action. Among other things, the Governor announced a new Clean Energy Standard, which would favor efficiency and zero-emissions energy sources like solar and wind over fossil fuels, and put an end to “high-emissions sources” like coal.

We are still in conversations with the Governor’s office about the rest of our platform, but I hope you share my enthusiasm for this major step forward to a clean energy future.

Many groups and people share this victory: environment and public health groups and frontline communities, among others, have pushed for changes like this for years. But I believe that our grassroots movement-building was instrumental in making this possible. When you unite people across the state around a common purpose and a clear strategy, you can accomplish great things.

So take some time to grab a drink with a friend, jump in the air, or just pat yourself on the back. Remember this feeling: we will need this reminder about the power of grassroots organizing when the odds are against us and the situation looks grim. For today, let’s celebrate!

Onward and upward,

Craig S. Altemose

Better Future Project Executive Director

P.S.: We just put this meme on Facebook announcing the news. Share it far and wide!

P.P.S. Here’s the full text of the governor’s speech.

Update on Our Meeting with Governor Patrick

Craig Altemose, Carolyn Barthel and Christian Roselund from 350MA / Better Future Project and Alli Welton and Ben Thompson from Students for a Just and Stable Future met with Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick on May 2nd to discuss the Climate Legacy campaign platform.

Here’s a message from Craig about the meeting:

“Along with 350MA volunteer leaders and our partners at Students for a Just and Stable Future, I just met with Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick about our Climate Legacy Campaign platform: Ban the Worst (coal, tar sands, and fracking), Build Only the Best (no new fossil fuel infrastructure in the state), and Begin to Price the Rest (create an inclusive process to evaluate a carbon tax for the state).

This meeting was only possible because of the relentless engagement of volunteer leaders who protested coal at Shut Down Brayton Point and championed wind at the Energy Exodus, who built up strong nodes across the state, who made countless phone calls and wrote countless e-mails to the Governor’s office, and who helped us show 400 beautiful faces in opposition to the proposed Salem Gas Plant.

Governor Patrick was receptive to some of our ideas and skeptical of others. But he clearly recognized the power of our grassroots movement, and there seemed to be a shared commitment from both sides to move forward on areas of agreement and make the best of the Governor’s remaining time in office.

There will be much to be excited about; at the same time, we should expect that we will not achieve everything we set out to achieve in the campaign through this meeting. But that does not mean we will be giving up on anything, either.

We have been told to expect another meeting with the Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs within the next week and are going to begin moving forward on areas of agreement on the inside as we continue to build public support for our work on the outside.

Among other things, we’ll need to keep a close eye – and a willingness to act – on Salem, where construction is expect to start soon on the proposed gas plant.

We could not have made it this far – and we will make it no farther – without you. Over 50 organizations have signed on to our letter to endorse the Climate Legacy Campaign.

We’re hoping to have that number increase to 100 by the time we meet next with the Governor. Please sign on organizations or have them sign up through this form. (If you’d like to endorse the campaign as an individual, sign here. If you’d like to endorse the campaign as a faith leader, sign here.)

And thanks, everyone — we’re making history!



Show Support During Our Meeting with Governor Patrick!

On Friday, May 2nd, 350 Massachusetts / Better Future Project will meet with Governor Deval Patrick. We’ll ask him to ban coal, fracking and tar sands, stop the construction of new fossil fuel infrastructure, and begin moving towards a carbon tax. Two 350MA volunteers will attend the meeting, along with Craig Altemose, Better Future Project executive director, and two students from Students for a Just and Stable Future. Join them to show your support! We’ll rally outside the Statehouse before the meeting, and while it’s happening, we’ll build excitement on social media and leave materials at legislators’ offices. After the meeting concludes, we’ll hear directly from attendees about the outcome. If you can’t make it in person, stay tuned on social media: like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for updates.
WHAT: Meeting with Governor Deval Patrick
WHEN: 8:30am-10:30am on Friday, May 2nd
WHERE: 24 Beacon Street, right outside the Statehouse

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Harvard Students Step Up the Pressure!

Just a few hours ago, Brett Roche, a Harvard undergraduate, was arrested while participating in a seven-person blockade of Harvard’s main administration building and calling for an open meeting with trustees to discuss fossil fuel divestment. Over the last two years, Harvard’s administration has refused to engage in an open dialogue about divestment, despite the overwhelming support of the Harvard community: 72% of students have voted in favor, and just a few weeks ago, more than 100 faculty signed an open letter calling for divestment.

Brett was the first student anywhere in the country to be arrested as part of the campus fossil fuel divestment movement. But he almost certainly won’t be the last: students at Harvard and dozens of other schools will need to keep upping the pressure on administrators in order to win. divestharvard

Since the very beginning, Better Future Project has worked closely with the amazing student organizers at Harvard and dozens of other schools in New England. Through countless trainings, phone calls, and one on one meetings, we guide students as they strategize, build power, and develop the skills they need.  I am a recent graduate who was deeply involved in the divestment movement on my campus; Better Future Project staff helped me and my fellow students sharpen our strategy and boost our confidence.

As students continue to escalate at Harvard and across the region, we want to offer them as much support as we can — which is why we’re reaching out to you today.

Become a monthly supporter of Better Future Project.

By becoming a monthly supporter, you can ensure that we have the sustained grassroots funding that we need to stay in this fight for the long haul. Your gift of $10, $20, or $30 a month goes a very long way.

Thanks for all that you do!

We’ve Got a Date with the Governor

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After eight long months of calls, letters and actions, we have finally confirmed our meeting with Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick! We’ll be sitting down with the Governor on May 2nd at 9am to discuss the Climate Legacy platform.

Take a minute to call the Governor’s office (617.725.4005) and thank him for agreeing to meet with 350 Massachusetts / Better Future Project and Students for a Just and Stable Future — then fill out the form here. This is a huge step forward, so congratulations to everyone who has been part of this campaign!


Youth Walkout for Climate Justice

1402218_10152278072578699_1160868468_o (1) On March 31st, hundreds of youth from across Massachusetts will walk out of classes and take time away from jobs to converge on the Statehouse, where they will call for Governor Deval Patrick to ban new fossil fuel infrastructure. For months, Better Future Project and our volunteer-led climate action network, 350 Massachusetts, have been calling on Governor Patrick to “build only the best” and meet all new energy demand through renewables and energy efficiency. Now, there’s a chance that Governor Patrick may be considering a ban. This could be a critical turning point in our campaign!

If you’re a current student or young person, sign up here to participate in the walk-out, which is being organized by Students for a Just and Stable Future. Community members of all ages are invited to join for the rally. More information is available on the Facebook page.

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