Fifty Pioneer Valley organizations are supporting a standout and delivery of a letter to Governor Charlie Baker at his Springfield office on Thursday, November 16, at 12:15 pm. The “Stand Up, Charlie!” action demands that Baker not follow the lead of the Trump Administration and, instead, act now to cut greenhouse gas emissions responsible for catastrophic climate change.
All of the nations of the world but one are supporting the United Nations Climate Accord, as President Trump has threatened to pull out this summer. Contrary to the intent of the gathering, Trump has sent a delegation to the yearly Conference of Parties in Bonn, Germany, to promote coal, gas and nuclear energy. The burning of coal and gas produces carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas responsible for climate change, which has already warmed the planet by 1 degree Centigrade and has been responsible for massive hurricanes in the Gulf that have devastated Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the coast of Texas. But there are many U.S. senators, mayors, and governors, who are staging an anti-Trump revolt in Bonn, calling their movement “We are still in!”, indicating their willingness to limit greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.
Baker has in the past said that Massachusetts would continue to affirm the Climate Accords, an act compelled by the need to comply with the state’s even-more-stringent Global Warming Solutions Act. Meanwhile, however, he has supported the construction of new gas pipelines and compressor stations and backs a “pipeline tax” that would force electric rate payers to foot the bill for new gas infrastructure.
“Stand Up, Charlie!” was initiated in Boston by the statewide environmental coalition Mass Power Forward focused on clean energy policy, following the example of a single woman who stood outside Baker’s office for 82 days demanding a meeting with him. She was requesting that construction of the Weymouth Compressor Station be stopped.
Others joined her and the protest mounted until last week demonstrators were arrested for sitting in.
Mass Power Forward delivered a letter to Baker in September requesting an state Executive Order that would:
• “Hold state permits (of fossil fuel infrastructure) to the highest standards, rather than ‘Trump standards’”, i.e. preventing those that pose a health risk to state residents;
• Oppose a pipeline tax;
• Promote environmental justice throughout the Administration.
In Springfield, protesters will accompany these demands with demands specific to western Massachusetts:
• Expansion of public transit, specifically the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority;
• Development of east-west high-speed rail transit;
• Blocking large biomass construction; and
• Supporting “climate change refugees” from recent hurricanes in Puerto Rico and the Gulf Coast.
Numerous studies have shown that many more jobs are created by renewable and efficient energy transformation than by continued use of gas, oil and coal. Further, Massachusetts, which has one of the highest asthma rates in the country, will benefit from the health effects of clean air.
There will be a “Stand Up, Charlie” rally at the state office building, 436 Dwight Street in Springfield on Thursday, November 16 from 12:15 to 12:45 pm. Demands for a clean energy future will be delivered to the governor.
SPONSORED BY: Climate Action NOW, Arise for Social Justice, and Springfield Climate Justice Coalition
CO-SPONSORS: 2degreesatgreenneighbors.earth, Abundance Farm, Badass Activists in the Pioneer Valley, Carbon Pollution Fee and Rebate Group, Direct Action Coordinating Committee at Amherst College, Earth Ministry Team of First Church Amherst (UCC), Easthampton Democratic City Committee, Edwards Church, First Churches Peace & Justice, Green Team of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Greater Springfield, Indivisible Noho, Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action (JALSA), Massachusetts Jobs With Justice, Mothers Out Front Amherst, Northampton Democratic City Committee, Northampton Friends Meeting, Out Now!, Partnership for Policy Integrity, Partners in Health, Pioneer Valley Asthma Coalition, Pioneer Valley Physicians for Social Responsibility, Pioneer Valley Resist Coalition, Pioneer Valley Women’s March, Pioneer Valley Workers Center, Progressive Democrats of America, Riseup Western Massachusetts Indivisible, Smith Center for Religious & Spiritual Life, Smith Divest, Social Justice Commission of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Social Justice Commission of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts, Sojourner Truth School for Social Change Leadership, Springfield Area Interfaith Climate Action Network (SAICAN), Springfield League of Women Voters, Springfield Noone Leaves, Sugar Shack Alliance, Sustain Us, The Enviro Show, The Northampton High Environmental Club, The Resistance Center for Peace and Justice, Tikkun Olam Committee of the Jewish Community of Amherst (JCA), Toxics Action Center, Traprock Center for Peace and Justice, Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence Climate Action Group, Unitarian Universalist Society of Amherst Green Sanctuary Committee, Western Mass Code Pink, Western Mass Standing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), Young Democrats of Northampton & Youth Rise Together