Pages tagged "MA"

  • What is An All Electric Building?

    The Education and Outreach Team for the Clean Heat, Clean Air Campaign is thrilled to present the very first ever Clean Heat, Clean Air educational building block.

    What is an educational building block, you ask? It’s a short, easy learning opportunity. Bite-sized info for busy advocates, delivered every few weeks for the next few months. We are starting by describing key terms and concepts that will be used in our campaign.

    We’re going to use this opportunity to review some key ideas, introduce you to our campaign team, and, most importantly, to hear from you about what you want to learn. 

    Educational Building Block #1: What is an all-electric building?

    Right now, odds are you live and work in buildings that are fueled by gas, propane, or oil heat. These buildings are bad for our climate and bad for our health - we can’t solve the climate crisis when we have hundreds of thousands of little gas pipelines running directly into our homes or trucks pouring oil into our furnaces. Today, the onsite combustion of fossil fuels in Massachusetts' buildings makes up over a quarter of our statewide emissions.[1]

    For this first building block, we’re going to focus on one solution: all-electric buildings

    Gas-Burning HouseClean All-Electric House

    (Image Source: Sierra Club)

    A key goal of our campaign is ensuring sustainable, comfortable buildings for everyone. The campaign team will present goals and strategies for this work in the near future. For now, we want to stress that our goal is new government and utility programs that make this transition affordable for every family. The financial and technical burden for this transition cannot fall on individuals and we don’t expect you to make these changes on your own.

    All-electric buildings burn no fossil fuels onsite. No gas or oil for heat, stoves, hot water, washing machines, fireplaces, or anything else for that matter. All-electric new construction is cost effective and practical with today’s technology. It’s also sustainable. As state law in Massachusetts requires our electricity to come from ever-increasing amounts of renewable energy, an all-electric home will eventually have no direct carbon emissions

    Key Terms:

    Heat Pump

    When we think of electric heat, many of us think of electric baseboard heaters. You know, these guys:


    This? Not what we want.  Meet the heat pump:

    Heat Pump

    Building electrification runs on heat pumps. Heat pumps heat and cool buildings - two for the price of one! They are more efficient than gas heat and effective in cold climates.

    There are two types of heat pumps. Air source heat pumps, which move heat between a building and the outside air, and ground source heat pumps which require digging wells into the ground to exchange heat. All buildings are different, but in general, air source heat pumps are easier to install but ground source heat pumps are cheaper to operate.

    Air Source Heat Pump

    Heat pumps use a compressor to move heat into and out of your home. In the summer, heat pumps operate as air conditioners and in the winter they extract heat from the outdoor air to warm your home. Heat pumps are approximately three times as efficient as gas boilers.

    Air Source Heat Pump

    (Image Source: MassCEC)

    Ground Source Heat Pump

    Ground source heat pumps rely on consistent temperatures deep in the earth to cool buildings in summer and heat them in winter. Once installed, GSHPs are the most efficient heating and cooling system currently available

    Ground Source Heat Pump

    (Image Source: MassCEC)

    Induction Cooking

    Fear not! Electric cooking has also come a long way since the 1950s

    Electric Range

    (Image Source: General Electric Advertisement, FineArt America)

    Induction stovetops, powered by electricity, offer a clean alternative to gas. Cooking with induction is safer, more precise, and faster than cooking with gas, and induction cooktops do not produce the harmful indoor air pollution associated with gas ranges. Flat-top electric ranges are also a safe choice.

    Induction Cooktop

    (Image Source: The Switch is On)

    The sustainable building world has insider language. Net-zero, embodied carbon, retrofit, passive house, weatherization, and beyond - and even experts don’t agree on the definitions for many of these terms. We can dig into some of these concepts in upcoming building blocks. Please let us know which ones you find the most interesting!

    Deep Dive:
    * The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center offers a detailed overview of clean energy solutions for homes and related incentives on their Clean Energy Solutions Website.
    * Benefits of building electrification from RMI
    * Induction cooking factsheet.
    * Sierra Club Gas-Free Homes Video

    Meet the Team: Anne & Kathleen
    Introducing Kathleen Scanlon and Anne Wright, our campaign coordinators, with a short video.

    What’s next?
    In the next few weeks we’re going to talk about sacrifice zones, the truth about “natural” gas, and more. Stay tuned.

    We want to hear from you!
    How do you like to learn? What questions do you have about our campaign? Also, hi, if you’ve read this far please consider joining our team. Please drop us a line with all your ideas at [email protected]

    [1] Massachusetts 2050 Decarbonization Roadmap, Page 44

  • We Have Your Backs on Climate Bill: Don't weaken the bill, Override ASAP

    A ground-breaking climate bill, “An Act Creating a Next-Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy,” passed before the end of the 2019-2020 legislative session and again after the Governor vetoed it. This bill gives us tools to create a livable future for all our children.

    Governor Baker has refused to sign it twice and sent it back with amendments. We want the legislature to pass the amendments that strengthen the bill, like one that gives additional protections to environmental justice communities. But we want the rest voted down.

    Now is the time to support the legislative leadership, our own State Senators and Reps, and encourage them to:

    • not weaken the climate bill
    • quickly move to final passage of the bill

    Then we will have firm ground to stand on as we start the new session with legislation that builds on the victories in the 2020 climate bill. For ongoing updates about the Climate Bill, and ideas for more actions, check here.

    Please sign the petition below. Tweet and share with your legislators.

    774 signatures

    Mothers Out Front and our allies are proud of and grateful to our legislators for being champions of An Act Creating a Next-Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy. We consider this legislation the crowning achievement of the leadership of the Senate and House. Senate President Spilka, Speaker Mariano, Senator Barrett, Representative Golden, have shown courage, putting our children and grandchildren first, through their firm stand on quickly refiling and passing the bill with no changes.

    We have your backs! As mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, students, and all who are fighting for bold climate policy, we want you to continue holding fast to your principles, not to accept any amendments that weaken the bill, and quickly override other amendments. We support the speed of your actions to reach final passage of this landmark legislation and to finally finish the tremendous work you did last session. We look forward to continuing to work together in the 2021-2022 session. 

    Add signature

  • H.4555 - An Act for Field Safety in Gas Infrastructure

    Sponsors: Rep. Frank Moran of Lawrence in the House and Sen. Cindy Friedman of Arlington in the Senate.

    This bill is based on lessons learned from the tragic Merrimack Valley gas explosion in 2018. This bill significantly enhances safety rules to protect the general public, first responders, and gas workers from dangerous conditions that may occur when crews are working on gas systems.

    Currently, gas utilities depend too much on outside contractors to perform hazardous work. This bill creates a certification process to improve the tracking and rating of these companies. The bill also requires common sense improvements such as improved communication between towns and utilities regarding roadwork and gas leak repairs, increased inspections of gas pipelines, and improved access to under-street gas shutoffs that protect homes and businesses from fires and explosions.

    Read more
  • Legislative End Game

    URGENT: All Hands on Deck!

    The Massachusetts two-year legislative session is scheduled to end on July 31. We have yet to bring meaningful climate change legislation to a vote in the House this session. Our children cannot wait 2 more years for bold climate action.  

    Make Calls!

    Please contact your State Representative to help Mothers Out Front accomplish its goal of ensuring “a swift, complete, and just transition away from fossil fuels and toward clean and renewable energy.” More information and a sample call script is below.

    If you do not know who your State Representative is, check here.  Then please call and/or email your Representative to:

    • Thank them for the Legislature’s dedication and extra work to keep us safe during the pandemic.
    • Remind them that there are critically important bills still in the House Ways and Means Committee that need to be voted on by the full House.  Tell them that you are ready to see the Legislature take on meaningful climate legislation now, in addition to their work to address Covid-19.
    • Ask them to contact Rep Aaron Michlewitz, the Chair of the Ways & Means Committee, and Robert DeLeo, the Speaker of the House, and request that the following bills get passed out of Committee and put up for a floor vote:
    • And finally, thank them again for making strong climate action a priority this session.

    When these bills come to a vote, we will contact you again, with a list of amendments that make sure our priorities are included.

    Here's a call script you can customize:

    Hello, I’m <your name>, and I live in <town>.  I’m also a member of Mothers Out Front. First, thank you for the dedication you have shown and the non-stop work you and your colleagues have been doing to keep us safe during the pandemic. 

    Now I’m ready to see the Legislature take on meaningful climate legislation, in addition to your work to address Covid-19.  Today I am calling to ask for your support for three critically important bills that are still in the House Ways and Means Committee, and need to be voted on by the full House:

    • H.3983, the 2050 Roadmap bill
    • H.4264, the Environmental Justice bill

    Please ask the House leadership to move these bills forward for a floor vote.

    Again, thank you for making strong climate action a priority for this session!

    Read more
  • Environmental Justice Legislation

    Environmental Justice (EJ) is a civil rights principle:  all people have a right to be protected from environmental pollution and to live, learn, work, play, and pray in and enjoy a clean and healthy environment regardless of race, income, national origin, or English language proficiency.

     - Excerpt from a letter written by Massachusetts Environmental Justice organizations. For full letter, click here.

    Our Commonwealth’s frontline communities face the combined injustices of lives disproportionately lost to COVID-19, centuries of government-sanctioned racial oppression, and extreme environmental and health effects of fossil fuel infrastructure. And as we know, these evils are all related and hurt families with children and elders most. 

    Expressing the principle of environmental justice in law has important practical consequences for protecting people across the state because:

    • Low-income communities and communities of color are more likely to be in the shadows of multiple sources of pollution including dirty power plants, incinerators and landfills, roads with high auto & diesel emissions, and high obstacles preparing for and recovering from climate-change related disasters.
    • Massachusetts regulatory agencies such as the Dept. of Environmental Protection, the Dept. of Public Utilities, and the Dept. of Transportation need a clear legislative mandate to prioritize the protection of low-income communities and communities of color, instead of continuing to let pollution sources accumulate in already-overburdened communities and neglecting those communities when preparing for and recovering from climate change.

    We must pass H.4264, An Act relative to environmental justice in the Commonwealth this session. This bill will codify into law guidelines that the Baker Administration has not followed, which is why Mothers Out Front has supported prior versions of this bill since 2017.

    EJ legislation has languished in the state legislature, in part because of the use of race as one criterion for defining what constitutes an Environmental Justice population. H.4264 is a new bill that clarifies aspects of the definition including that affluent minority communities would not be given EJ status under most circumstances. This change has eliminated much of the original opposition to the early bills. In addition, Environmental Justice organizations have addressed the need for EJ legislation that includes race in a letter to State House leaders.

  • Three Actions to Take June 15-19

    Mothers are a powerful force at the intersection of COVID-19, racism, and climate. Below are three opportunities to use your power this week:

    First, please write and call your Massachusetts State Senator TODAY about the safe and fair election bill S. 2755. 

    Second, use social media on Thursday 6/18 to say now is the time to plan for getting Massachusetts off gas.

    Third, support Black Lives Matter and environmental justice on Juneteenth, Friday 6/19.

    Read more
  • Switch the Source Newsletter May 25, 2020, Issue #84


    Updates and information about our Massachusetts statewide activities

    May 25, 2020


      • 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


    Read more
  • Path to Power

    PATH TO POWER: Structuring our work for statewide impact 

    At the April 4 virtual state assembly, “Creating Our Path to Power,” we reviewed a proposed organizational structure for Mothers Out Front Massachusetts. On April 18, we will meet again by zoom to vote on adopting this proposal. Your vote is important. Please join us on April 18, 3:30-5:30 pm: RSVP here

    Since Mothers Out Front’s founding seven years ago, the vision has been to build a national movement that is both locally rooted and able to make change happen at the state and national levels. We know that most moms and other caregivers who join our movement want to engage at the community level, and when we act locally we are able to break the overwhelming problem of climate change down into actionable pieces. At the same time, we know that we have to scale our power and work at state and national levels to address a problem of such magnitude.

    Over the last seven years, Mothers Out Front Massachusetts has grown rapidly and become increasingly successful.  We now have 22 Community Chapters, multiple statewide campaigns and resource teams, a Massachusetts Leadership Team, and paid staff. The organizational structure that worked well in our early years no longer provides the degree of coordination and nimble response needed to keep moving forward.

    This need to better positions ourselves for the future lead to the recent creation of the Path to Power Leadership Team, including founders Kelsey Wirth and Vanessa Rule, state leadership, and our state organizing manager. They were joined by Marshall Ganz, founder of the Leading Change Network (a major influence on Mothers Out Front) and two consultants from that organization, Natalie and Jake. 

    Working together, they followed the process outlined in the diagram below and designed a new organizational structure presented in the Path to Power MA Structure Proposal (Links to the Proposal and the Executive Summary)

    The proposed new structure is designed to preserve the best of Mothers Out Front Massachusetts, while strengthening our collective power to effect transformative change in the Commonwealth.  Going forward, it also provides:

    • representational leadership
    • clarity of roles and mutual accountability
    • clear and nimble decision-making processes

    The Mothers Out Front Massachusetts Path to Power Charter defines the different types of local and statewide leadership teams that are created in MOF-MA to support the work of our members across the state. The Charter explains how our members delegate decision-making authority to these teams through a democratic process of voting. It describes team commitments, and outlines the teams’ clear areas of responsibility. And it describes how our members come together to choose and implement statewide campaigns that leverage the power we build locally for statewide impact, and beyond.

    This Charter is intended to be adapted as our movement grows, and as we learn more about how we want to more effectively organize ourselves.

    The basic components of our new MA structure are shown in this diagram. Definitions are provided at the end of this article.



    What it means to be a member of Mothers Out Front is defined by our national organization. Members commit to representing and advancing Mothers Out Front’s values, and contribute annual dues to support the organization. (There is a waiver for anyone unable to contribute that amount for dues).

    Why dues?  Why now?  Dues make a reliable membership count possible.  Membership numbers show our growing power as an organization.  Dues reduce dependence on outside funding.

    Active members are members who a) participate in an orientation to Mothers Out Front’s organizing framework, and b) take action at least once every six months (e.g., attending a meeting, event, or action; materially assisting in organizing work).

    In Massachusetts, active members vote on who represents them on Community Leadership Teams (CLTs). All chapters are represented proportionally in the annual Massachusetts State Assembly.

    Local Organizing

    The Community Chapter and Community Leadership Team are our fundamental building blocks. 

    A Community Chapter includes all MOF members in a community. Anyone over the age of 18 can join as a member of a Community Chapter. 

    A Community Leadership Team (CLT) is the smaller, representative leadership team of a Community Chapter, elected by active members of the Chapter. The CLT’s role is to organize Chapter work, including choosing and implementing a local campaign, engaging members, and growing membership.

    Statewide Organizing

    The Massachusetts Leadership Team (MALT) is the representative leadership team of our MA Chapter (which includes all members of MOF-MA). The MALT includes elected representatives from our Community Chapters, Campaign Team representatives, and Resource Team representatives.  The MALT’s role is to set statewide policy, ensure members have the support they need from Resource and Campaign Teams, and regularly assess the overall health of our movement in Massachusetts.

    The Core Team is a sub-team of the MALT, elected by the MALT, that handles emergent issues that affect our statewide organization in a timely way, organizes the work of the MALT, and ensures coordination of our statewide organizing.

    The Statewide Assembly is the annual community-building, learning and decision-making event where MA members come together to consider and vote on statewide campaigns (every other year), and to confirm MALT membership. Every Community Chapter can vote at the State Assembly, with the number of votes proportional to the number of members in their community.

    A Campaign Team develops and implements statewide campaigns that are chosen by MOF-MA members at the State Assembly. Campaign Teams have representation on the MALT and Core Team to ensure statewide campaigns are integrated into and aligned with our broader movement. Nominees for Campaign Team coordinators and representatives to the MALT and Core Team are included in campaign proposals and voted on at the State Assembly.

    Resource Teams provide support for essential organizational functions and guidance on cross-cutting substantive and practical issues as defined by the MALT (E.g., Legislative Team, Training Team, Communications Team, Environmental Justice Team). Membership on a Resource Team is open to all members of MOF-MA who commit to the Team’s goals.  Resource Teams are overseen by the MALT.




  • For Parents with Children at Home

    Below are resources collected by local mothers and by National staff (see other resources on the National Mothers Out Front coronavirus resource page).

    Kids Home?

    We're making so many adjustments personally that it is completely understandable if all you can deal with is children out of school. Here's some great resources. To share ideas you've found, please comment on this page.

    Earth Week programs

    See all Massachusetts Mothers Out Front's Earth Day activities for April 22-24 here.

    Thursday April 23 at 12-1pm, Children Explore and Design Renewable Energy. This Zoom program is for children ages 5-10 to have fun and be empowered to create while their parents participate in one of the many events at the same time.

    Thursday April 23 at 6:00-6:30pm, Earth Day Supper Time Concert. Mother and father duo sing and play guitar with songs for the whole family. 


    Live programs by Mothers

    Mothers Out Front East Boston's Sonja Tengblad offers regular music and movement classes by Zoom.
    We'll sing, dance, play drums (via kitchen supplies), make instruments, learn rhythm ... get all the feels and wigglies out.
    For more information, see this Facebook page or Sonja's personal website
    Mothers Out Front Amherst's Anna Sobel offers a free, weekly crafts activity using simple materials. Tuesdays 3pm at Talking Hands Theater Facebook page. Every week she makes another puppet or prop starting with a toilet paper roll! Past episodes are available on the page.


    Home Schooling, MA Dept of Ed with WGBH

    Scholastic Work at Home: Day-by-Day Projects to keep kids reading, thinking and growing

    Khan Academy, a non-profit organization with daily schedules and lesson plans for students ages 4-18 to keep them learning.

    Parenting during coronavirus: What to know about play dates, education and more. Washington Post, March 14, 2020

    Click here for a sample family schedule (planned and actual with humorous notes you'll relate to) from a fellow Mother Out Front


    For fun and enrichment:

    Stuck at Home? These 12 Famous Museums Offer Virtual Tours You Can Take on Your Couch (Video), Travel & Leisure, March 12, 2020

    Need to Get Outside? These 5 National Parks Offer Virtual Tours You Can Take From the Comfort of Home (Video) just made hundreds of audiobooks available for free

    Professional Photographers of America (PPA) 1,100+ Online Photo Classes Are Currently Free; just click here to create your free account.

    Guitar Salon International and Elite Guitarist have teamed up to offer free guitar instruction for 30 days.

  • Hunger for Justice

    For more than five years, the frontline community organization in the Fore River Basin, FRRACS, has brilliantly and bravely led the fight against Enbridge’s plans for a compressor station in Weymouth. Every day this toxic and dangerous project has been delayed has been a win for FRRACS, the residents of the Fore River Basin and our planet - and an expense for Enbridge.

    In spite of the unyielding fight by FRRACS and allies across the state, Enbridge started construction in January, 2020. Their construction process daily defies the agreements made for site remediation. Huge drills have dug deeply into the arsenic and asbestos laden soil, throwing these and other toxins into the air. Trucks pound and break up the buried furnace bricks, releasing asbestos.  Workers are without masks and without proper coverings. Unmarked trucks transport the toxic soil to a New Hampshire landfill, and maybe to Maine - and, it seems, without properly disclosing what is in the soil. (Hint to DEP:  This is not ‘historic fill’).

     The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has been complicit in all this - aiding Enbridge, and not protecting the community. Since October, 2019, they have refused communication with FRRACS and residents.  Now important things are happening:

    On January 22nd, FRRACS led a powerful delegation to the DEP office in Lakeville. (Alice Arena and  other FRRACS members, supported by allies, led 2 1/2 hour occupation and teach-in, resulting in a 4 hour meeting being set for early February with DEP officials!!!)

    And on Wednesday, January 27th, our friend Nathan Phillips began a hunger strike to help protect the residents of the Fore River Basin - and beyond.. He has put forth three simple demands.  Let’s please back him up with our phone calls, tweets, posts and messages so the Nathan can cease his hunger strike. Our message is aimed at the two men in our state who have the power to act, who could meet the reasonable demands Nathan has made, but so far have refused to do so.

    Click here for more details from FRRACS.

    We are asking for calls and tweets to Governor Baker and the Department of Environmental Protection. Please call and tweet! - anytime day or evening - urging Governor Baker and the Department of Environmental Protection to meet Nathan’s three simple demands.


    1. Governor Baker’s office: 617-725-4005
    2. DEP Commissioner Suuberg’s office: 617-292-5500, extension for messages: #71098

    Say, “I am calling to urge you to meet the three demands about the Weymouth compressor construction site that will allow the ongoing hunger strike of Nathan Phillips to cease.”

    Use this hashtag and tag these twitter accounts:


    @MothersOutFront @nathanpboston @MassDEP @MassGovernor @FRRACS_MA

    Sample tweets:

    If @nathanpboston can take personal responsibility 4 #Weymouth w/ a hunger strike, @MassDEP & @MassGovernor can take responsibility for the safety of residents. I call on them to meet his 3 demands. #Hunger4JusticeMA @FRRACS_MA @MothersOutFront
    As a mother, I have great concern and awe for @nathanpboston’s hunger strike. @MassDEP@MassGovernor act like a mom and show you care by meeting Nathan’s demand so he can cease his strike. @mothersoutfront @FRRACS_MA #Hunger4JusticeMA