Switch the Source Newsletter May 25, 2020, Issue #84

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Updates and information about our Massachusetts statewide activities

May 25, 2020

IN THIS ISSUE:

    • New MA Leadership Team Takes Office
    • Stay Tuned for Upcoming Legislative Action 
    • Virtual House Party, June Debut
  • Calendar 
    • Ask your MA State Legislators - Tues., May 26, at 12:00 pm 
    • Weymouth Compressor Station - Tues., May 26, 5-6:15 pm
    • How Gas Leaks Affect Our Trees - Thurs., May 28, 1-2 pm
    • Pass Bold Climate Legislation in 2020 - Deadline by May 31
    • Team Needs Assessment Survey: Community Team Leader Tools and Technology Assessment
    • Share your story about voting ahead of Election Day
  • Recommended Reading
    • Webinar Recording: Two Public Health Crises: Coronavirus and Climate Change - The Path Forward
    • Op-Ed Article: Want to prevent the next pandemic? This doctor is prescribing climate action
    • Article: Good News In a First, Renewable Energy Is Poised to Eclipse Coal in U.S
  • Resources
    • COVID-19 Updates and Information
      • Food Link MA Fights Food Insecurity
      • COVID-19 Community Aid
      • Support our neighbors in Chelsea, East Boston, and Lawrence

 

New MA Leadership Team Takes Office, May 9 

Janet Groat, Massachusetts Organizing Manager 

The leadership understands the importance of being even more effective and achieving bigger wins for our children's climate. The MA Structure Proposal involved extensive work by the Path to Power team and included a membership survey a critical review of our past successes and challenges with the support of consultants for successful organizing. This phase concluded, after the April meeting with chapters’ representatives where a majority voted to accept the new structure. The first step was to form the new leadership team and we welcome the 27 new MA Mothers Out Front members to serve. The reorganized Massachusetts Leadership Team (MALT) consists of individuals who were elected to represent their community chapters, as well as campaign teams and resource teams.

The Leadership Team will meet on the 3rd Monday each month with a smaller Core Team handling administrative and urgent issues that come up between meetings. Their first order of business will be to elect the Core Team and Coordinators on June 15th. Thank your representative for stepping up and ask them about the work of the Team!

Please take this opportunity to get to know our MALT members (link to Bios) – some are continuing on and others are new to MALT but have served in other roles.

Stay Tuned for Upcoming Legislative Action 

Ellie Goldberg, MA Mothers Out Front Legislative Team (website link)

The Legislative Team is proactively advocating for our current legislative goals — carbon pricing, the safe transition to clean energy, and environmental justice. The legislative process requires adapting to changes as bills win or lose support, as bill elements are combined, and as strategies evolve. For example, COVID-19 has occupied most of the legislature’s attention in the past few months and has influenced our strategy as well.

We expect in the next month or two there will be times when we’ll need you to make specific calls to legislators with only a day or two of notice. Thank you in advance for joining us as we get closer to passing impactful climate policy in Massachusetts! For updates and details see our webpage here.

MA Mothers Out Front continues to support these three bills—Carbon Pricing (H.1940), the FUTURE Act (H.2849/S.1940), and Environmental Justice or EJ (H.4264).

Recent Endorsement: MA House Bill H.4737 to Expand Absentee Voting During the Pandemic

The upcoming election will be critically important for key current legislation supported by MA Mothers Out Front and allies. The pandemic threatens to reduce voter participation and therefore the Massachusetts Leadership Team (MALT) endorses H.4737 “An Act ensuring safe and participatory 2020 state elections in response to COVID-19” (previously H.D.5075). For the bill, cosponsors and rationale for our support, read more here.

StayVirtual House Party, June Debut

The MA Growth and Engagement Team has been working on a “Virtual House Party” that will debut in Arlington in early June.  This Zoom event includes opportunities for people to connect to each other and to discuss climate crisis during this global pandemic. The agenda includes information about climate change and how Mothers Out Front is working for climate justice, and an opportunity to take collective action!

Thank you to the many people who have given generously of their time and talent so that we could have a “dry run” of the new online house party.  If you would like to learn more about hosting a Virtual House Party, get in touch with…. Nili Pearlmutter nilinaomi@gmail.com or Laura Davis, laura.davis@mothersoutfront.org

Calendar 

Take Action: Before Tues., May 26, 12:00 pm, Ask your MA State Legislators - Sign Onto Letter to Liberty Mutual

Editors' Choice

MA State Senator Eldridge and House Representative Fernandes have written a letter to Liberty Mutual CEO David Long. The letter asks the Boston-based company to stop insuring fossil fuels and raises concerns consistent with the provisions in the FUTURE bill supported by our legislative team. Liberty Mutual is the biggest US insurer of fossil fuel infrastructure, including Keystone XL and TransMountain pipelines, and invests heavily in fossil fuel companies. 

To add your voice, click here to sign the letter. There is a comment box if you want to add your personal “why”

In addition to your voice, Eldridge and Fernandex are inviting their colleagues in the Massachusetts Legislature to sign onto this letter. Please call your State Senator and House Rep (find your rep) and ask them to sign onto this letter. If they have already signed, you can thank them! 

 

Take Action: Tues., May 26, 5-6:15 pm, Weymouth Compressor Station Actionar

Pipelines Working Group, Susan Lees, lees.susan7@gmail.com                  

Support:  MA Attorney General Maura Healey who is calling on the Baker Administration's Department of Public Utilities to deny National Grid’s request to make local ratepayers pay for the Weymouth compressor station. 

Why: National Grid wants to add a charge to your utility bill to help pay for the Weymouth Compressor Station. Tell the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) to deny National Grid’s request to make local customers (ratepayers) pay. This natural gas infrastructure is to supply gas to the international markets beyond North America and is not for local consumption. We urgently demand a shift toward 100% renewable energy to protect our climate. Worse still, this compressor station would severely threaten the health and safety of local residents. https://www.nocompressor.com/home

Mothers Out Front is joining our allies: Fore River Residents Against the Compressor Station (FRRACS), Toxics Action Center, the Mass Power Forward Coalition, 350 Mass for a Better Future, and Canton Residents for A Sustainable, Equitable Future. We need 100% renewable energy and environmental justice.

 

Webinar:  Thurs., May 28, 1-2 pm, How Gas Leaks Affect Our Trees: The science, the signs, and what we can do

Panel:

  • Arlington Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine will moderate a presentation and discussion with an expert panel:
  • Dr. Nathan Philips, Boston University: How do methane leaks affect trees?
  • Bob Ackley, Gas Safety USA: What does the impact of methane on trees look like in our towns?
  • Brandon Schmitt, Director, Wellesley Natural Resources Department: How are some municipalities addressing this problem and what more needs to be done? 

Background:

The Multi-Town Gas Leaks Initiative was launched about a year and a half ago to look for ways towns could work together to accelerate progress on gas leaks. This webinar is the result of the tree team’s early discussions. This spring, four teams were planning pilot projects (three partnerships with National Grid are now on hold) with one team focused on the issue of gas leaks and trees.

Register in advance: After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with information on joining the webinar.

We hope you can join us and please feel free to share this invitation!

Lise Olney, Wellesley Board of Selectmen

Leah Robins, MAPC

Audrey Schulman, HEET

Brooks Winner, MAPC

Anne Wright, Mothers Out Front Arlington

 

Take Action: Signature by May 31, Massachusetts Strong: Pass Bold Climate Legislation in 2020 to Build Back Better!

Submitted by Sue Swanson, Legislative Team, sueswanson2003@gmail.com

Ask your Massachusetts legislators to match their extraordinary leadership on COVID-19 with unprecedented climate action to protect future generations and give us the financial security we need today.

Sign the petition includes zero greenhouse gases no later than 2050; funding transition to a green economy that supports economic and environmental justice and a Spanish translation.

Team Needs Assessment Survey: Community Team Leader Tools and Technology Assessment

By Max Parish, Mothers Out Front database administrator. 

Across all our communities, COVID-19 is exacerbating the barriers members face particularly those due to the digital divide. The Mothers Out Front National Team, knows that we need to create a movement that is accessible for everyone, especially for those who have less access to, or experience using technology.

Chapter Coordinators are invited to take 5 minutes to complete this survey to share their experience of using technology and the internet to connect with their community.

Share your story about voting ahead of Election Day

Do you remember how it felt the first time you voted? Have you experienced the satisfaction of coaxing a reluctant voter to the polls? Were you once a reluctant voter yourself? Or, like me, is voting a part of your DNA? I remember tagging along with my mom, going behind that magic curtain, and watching her pull a lever. I haven't missed an election since then. 

Mothers Out Front digital storyteller, Bimina Ranjit, is collecting personal stories about voting. If you have a brief story that you'd like to share, we'd like to hear from you. Bimina is collecting video "selfies" from mothers and grandmothers to share with others in targeted locations as we approach Election Day. 

Send your story to Bimina.Ranjit@mothersoutfront.org. Thank you!

 

Recommended Reading

Op-Ed Article: Want to prevent the next pandemic? This doctor is prescribing climate action By Gaurab Basu on May 12, 2020

Submitted by Sarah Schwartz, Mothers Out Front member and friend of the author

Bio:

Dr. Gaurab Basu is a practicing primary care physician and holds a master’s degree in public health. He also spends time educating students and the general public as an instructor at Harvard Medical School, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Leader, and co-director of the Cambridge Health Alliance Center for Health Equity Education & Advocacy (CHEEA). Follow him at @GaurabBasuMDMPH.

A Massachusetts doctor describes hopeful steps and urges bold action as we plan for a new normal. Dr. Basu’s article connects COVID-19 to climate change and the heartbreak of reeling communities. This crisis is not proving to be the great equalizer but rather shining a bright spotlight on existing, structural social justice patterns of inequality. In his own words on Twitter:

“My piece urges clinicians to create a new vision of our future - one that heals our planet, promotes health equity, honors our common humanity and is grounded in our interconnectedness with the earth, each other and future generations.

To read the article on Grist.org (non-profit, independent news) click here

 

National Mothers Out Front Webinar Recording:

Two Public Health Crises: Coronavirus and Climate Change - The Path Forward

In case you missed it, now you can listen to the excellent recording of this May 21 webinar, with Professor Emeritus Howard Frumkin and Mothers Out Front's California Organizing Manager, Sandy Naranjo.

Watch it here on You tube

 

 

Article: In a First, Renewable Energy Is Poised to Eclipse Coal in U.S.

This blog submitted by Amy Gortler, Waltham Chapter

The coronavirus has pushed the coal industry to once-unthinkable lows, and the consequences for climate change are big.

To read the full article in the New York times click here.

 

COVID-19 Resources

Updates and Information

BBC Fact Checks Coronavirus Info

During the pandemic, BBC webpage “Reality Check” fact checks COVID-19 information to protect readers.  https://www.bbc.com/news/reality_check  

Fighting MA Food Insecurity 

Before the pandemic, 9% of Massachusetts residents experienced food insecurity. Whether you need food or want to donate, learn more at:

COVID -19 Community Aid Needed

Support our neighbors in Chelsea, East Boston, and Lawrence

Submitted by the Environmental Justice Team: Pattie Heyman and Rachel Wyon: Co-coordinators; Bonnie Cohen, Judy Leff, Susan Lees, Mina Reddy, Anne Shumway, Amy Tai

Frontline communities are suffering the worst health impacts of COVID-19 and environmental degradation.  We offer suggestions for ways to support Chelsea, Lawrence and East Boston because of our existing Mothers Out Front relationships with these communities. Other MA communities (e.g., Brockton and Randolph) are also hard hit. 

Ways to support:

  • Money donations
  • Food donations to food pantries
  • Delivering food
  • Ordering hand-sewn masks
  • Volunteering at food pantry 

CHELSEA: Most needed are food and monetary aid.  Chelsea has the highest rate of COVID-19 cases in the state, and bears a number of environmental injustice burdens. Chelsea Collaborative [https://www.chelseacollab.org/covid19] is collecting food and distributing it to residents on a regular basis. They have a tax deductible fund. 

Contact Mina Reddy (minareddy@gmail.com) to help with monetary donations.

  • Food donations: All donations are appreciated.  Please prioritize these items requested by the Chelsea community: rice, lentils, beans (dried or canned red, black, pinto, garbanzo, split peas), fruits, vegetables, maseca flour, crackers (such as saltines or Ritz crackers), cereal (such as Cheerios and other popular kinds), oil (such as canola oil, Crisco, and other neutral oils), soup, pasta, pasta sauce, sausage, milk, eggs, bread, chicken, tuna, protein bars, formula, baby food, and diapers.
  • Donations of hand sanitizer and masks (disposable or cloth) are needed
  • DIAPERS are needed urgently as they are not covered by WIC and SNAP benefits. 

If you have food and goods donations and you live Cambridge-Somerville-Arlington area - Contact: Pattie Heyman (Pattiemsw@mac.com

EAST BOSTON: Monetary aid and drivers needed

East Boston has a 34.5% positive rate of COVID-19, along with one of the highest populations of essential workers, a high population of individuals with asthma (group with higher risk) due to poor air quality. In addition to undocumented people who receive no government aid and are afraid to seek medical resources. Mutual Aid East Boston is helping these people by providing cooked meals and groceries. 

Contact: Sonja Tengblad (sonja.tengblad@gmail.com

LAWRENCE: Monetary aid needed.

Lawrence has the lowest median income of any community in our Commonwealth as well as a large number of undocumented residents who receive no governmental support. Lawrence has no community foundations and overall fewer resources available than communities in and near Boston. Falling outside the Boston catchment area, Lawrence is not eligible for many grants.

Mothers Out Front has built ongoing relationships in Lawrence since the 2018 gas explosions. For the last 6 weeks, members of Mothers Out Front have worked with Ana Javier from the Merrimack Valley Project and the Gas Leaks Allies to provide groceries to families who need it most. Ana has teamed up with a local Bodega to provide weekly groceries to over 60 families and 200+ people. Ania Camargo of the Mothers Out Front Downtown Boston chapter is helping to raise funds to pay for the groceries. If you are able to contribute, please contact Ania.

Contact: Ania Camargo, Downtown Boston Chapter and Gas Leaks Allies, (ania.camargo@gmail.com)

 

ABOUT THIS NEWSLETTER

Switch the Source News is produced every two weeks to inform and engage members of Massachusetts Mothers Out Front.  Feel free to share this newsletter with your Mothers Out Front community members.  Your input and feedback is welcome.   Subscribe here: https://ma.mothersoutfront.org/signup_switch_the_source_newsletter 

What’s happening on your community team? Send your articles, pictures, and feedback to SwitchTheSourceEditor@gmail.com

 

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