Last fall semester, twelve students from six campuses across Massachusetts came together for the 2017-18 Better Future Project Climate Organizing Fellowship program.
The fellows range from first-years to seniors, and many are members of fossil fuel divestment campaigns, continuing a 5-year old movement to get their schools to divest their endowments from investments in fossil fuel companies. Some are also actively pursuing carbon pricing campaigns with the support of Put A Price On It to get their schools to advocate for a statewide carbon pricing bill.
The Climate Organizing Fellowship program is now in its third year, and it remains one of the few opportunities for students in Massachusetts to get trained in grassroots organizing skills to advance their climate action and climate justice campaigns, both on campus and beyond. This year-long program convenes these 12 students every month for day-long organizing trainings that allows them to develop a broad set of climate organizing skills and political education and to also build a strong community of peers.Read more
Students Take Action on November 15th to ask Colleges to Stand up to Fossil Fuels and Secure a Just #ClimateLegacy
The world’s leaders are currently meeting in Bonn, Germany to negotiate how to move forward with the Paris Climate Agreement. Meanwhile, Donald Trump has initiated a process to remove the United States from this list of countries ratifying the agreement, and his administration is actively pushing fossil fuel interests over our health and livelihoods. For multiple years now, students have refused to let their schools profit from fossil fuels while they continue to pay thousands of dollars a year for an education.
That’s why on November 15th, students across the country will take action to demand that their campus leaders stand up against fossil fuels. If our schools are serious about acting to fight climate change and uphold the Paris Climate Agreement, the next step is for them is to end their support of fossil fuel companies. That means divesting from fossil fuels and committing to 100% renewable energy.
As we take action on November 15th, we pave a path for communities who will be bringing this same fight to state capitols across the country on November 18th. From campuses to capitols, young people are leading the way. We are declaring this resistance our #ClimateLegacy. We will be remembered as people who fought for a livable, safe, and just future; and if our elected leaders will not join us, we will be remembered as the generation that uncovered their shameful #ClimateLegacy and stripped them of undeserved leadership!
On November 15th, students at twelve campuses across the U.S., including Yale University, Boston University, UC Santa Barbara, Tufts University, and Washington University, are organizing rallies, art installations, and discussions to ignite and stoke the fire of their divestment and climate campaigns. They will share how their campaigns have contributed to the youth climate movement for the last 5 years and why Trump’s presidency makes their work more urgent than ever.
Follow their actions and stories at #ClimateLegacy. Updates from the participating campuses will be shared on the Better Future Project Facebook Page and lay the groundwork for an explosion of stories and action on Saturday the 18th - all united by the question: “What will be our #ClimateLegacy?”
If you want to know more about the campus actions, contact Alyssa Lee from Better Future Project at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Sarah Jacqz, BFP Campus Organizing Intern
On October 1st, Better Future Project held our second ever Mass Climate Organizing Training. Over thirty students representing eight campuses gathered at MIT to learn about the climate movement, discuss intersections of climate change and other issues, learn campaign skills, and connect with students across the state!
The students came from Boston University, Brandeis, MIT, College of the Holy Cross, Clark, Smith, Tufts, and Bennington College in Vermont. The majority of students had been involved with their campaigns for less than 1 year, and 1/3 of the students overall had only just joined this semester!Read more
This week marks a powerful escalation in our stand-in with Mass Power Forward for climate action at Governor Baker's office: On Friday, the largest Protestant denomination in the Commonwealth—the Massachusetts Conference of the United Church of Christ (MACUCC)—will join our lunchtime stand-ins.
MACUCC Minister and President Reverend Jim Antal will lead Friday's stand-in and is inviting many of the MACUCC's 60,000 congregants to participate as we build our numbers each week.
But we still need YOU! Sign up here to join the #StandUpCharlie stand-ins and spend your lunch break once, twice or every day calling on Governor Baker to lead in this historic moment when our stable climate future is truly on the line. After you sign up, we'll follow up to get you scheduled.
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.
Hurricane Harvey’s devastation―like Katrina’s and Sandy’s―is both unprecedented and a precursor of the new normal as our climate changes. Rising seas and storm surges will have similar impacts on coastal communities across the planet, including in our home community of Massachusetts, which contains extensive flood-prone areas of its own.
Hurricane Harvey is a horrifying reminder of how urgent climate action is, but the first order of business is to do all we can to support those who are most impacted by Harvey. Click here to support a progressive alliance providing aid to victims of Harvey, and here to support TEJAS, a Houston-area environmental justice organization providing aid to communities in oil-industry territory affected by the storm.
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!)
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.
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.
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.
If 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.
[Check out this 2-minute Youtube documentary to see the #PeopleOverPipelines Marchers in action!]
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.
The 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!
Better 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!
Shea 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 <email@example.com>.