Posted on behalf of Sara Finkle, a student who went to the SJSF Summer Retreat this August.

A Meeting of…

Last week, nearly 30 SJSFers came together at the beautiful St. Nicholas United Methodist church in Hull for the 2010 Summer Retreat (or “advance”, if you prefer). My first inclination was to label it a meeting of minds: we gathered, put our heads together, and pushed through a fall campaign. But a meeting of minds wouldn’t do the week justice. Yes, that was a part of it, but ‘minds’ cannot encompass who these people were and all that the week entailed.

The retreat (advance) consisted of SJSF members from Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Maine. We were also fortunate enough to have a slew of guests: Callista, doing research on the Climate Movement, Grace Ross who gave a training on community organizing, Adrian who gave a training on Knowing Your Rights, Alan and Carolyn who gave a presentation on Sustainable Winchester, and Imre Berty who gave a Nonviolent Communication training.

The results? Well, we did put together a pretty stellar campaign plan. We’re going to further our goal of 100% clean electricity through “three prongs”: political action, local solutions, and action around closing coal plants. We also elected the SJSF executive board and the state campaign team. We decided how to work together as the New England region. We also learned new skills and improved upon old ones. We had training on leadership styles and bird-dogging; we practiced one-on-ones and our public narrative. Finally, we built the relationships that we so stress as organizers. As much as the advance is a bunch of serious people sitting in a room brainstorming tactics, its also a bunch of excited and un-showered young people cooking five-gallon vats of lentil soup, playing lap tag, swimming, sharing the etymology of their names, and crying with laughter in paper telephone. It was a really thrilling and inspiring experience to spend a week with such dedicated people, making friendships with the folks who are repowering energy and revitalizing communities around New England.

Non LC members are taking notice of our activities on campus! Here is a video made by Boston College students who did a project on The Leadership Campaign for an enviromental policy class. Check it out!

My words to the general student body:

As students we need to become more involved with our government and social structures. We have the resources and the time but most of the time act as if we don’t care. What the government is doing now is our futures. We can’t let them make decisions without our voice. Regardless of political viewpoints, we can’t just sit around and complain about whats going on in our legislatures without taking a stand. Nothing is going to change unless we decide to change it. So get up. Get motivated. Make a difference.

If you would like to become involved with The Leadership Campaign and have not already become apart of the internal structure please sign up on our website under Join Us!

This entry is posted on behalf of Mino Caulton a junior at Amherst Regional High School who recently became involved in The Leadership Campaign. He gives a brief overview on his involvement and his experience during The Leadership Campaign’s non-violent direct actions on Earth Day.

I am Mino Caulton and I am a junior at high school in Amherst. I just got involved with my school’s Environmental Action Club this year, but I’ve been on my towns Recycling and Solid Waste Committee since February of 2009. I like being politically active and aware, and when Kaia Zimmerman, a fellow high school student, talked about the Leadership Campaign during school, I wondered how I could become more involved.

The Leadership Campaign is a group of students and community members pushing legislation in Massachusetts supporting 100% clean electricity in ten years through lobby efforts and non-violent direct actions coined ‘sleepouts’. The campaign is under the umbrella group Students for a Just and Stable Future (SJSF) who also runs New England Climate Summer.

Not long after  Kaia’s speech, I became the Western MA high school coordinator. I decided it would be good for both myself and SJSF.

I’d stopped by a sleepout during the first half of the campaign, and was impressed, everyone was so nice! I was really excited to go and meet everyone again during the second half of the campaign where there were four sleepouts, Amherst, Cambridge, Worcester and Boston. I did not attend the Amherst sleepout but by the time the Cambridge sleepout came around, I was really excited to go and meet everyone again. I had a great time in Cambridge, and was super excited for Boston.

I recruited three more students from Belchertown High School to join a junior from Northampton, and ten more students from Amherst High School. It was encouraging to see so many high schoolers at what was predominantly a college-age event, both as an environmentalist and as a 17 year old!

The event itself was great. It was great to see all my friends there, but better to see them being involved in intellectual conversations with people who they didn’t know! All the speakers were fantastic, pointing out both the need for change and our ability to change. It was really encouraging seeing people, most of whom aren’t much older than I am, giving passionate and incredibly thoughtful speeches.

In the morning, 5 Amherst High School students including myself engaged in the stand-in.  We waited and sat in at Binienda’s office until he called. The other four – all freshmen – sat directly across from Craig and I. When Binienda called, the freshmen, who for the most part  knew nothing about the LC two weeks ago, were leaning in as close as they could listening intently.

I learned a lot from this Earth Day, but one thing that really stood out as encouraging was to see so many high schoolers there. We all had a great time at such a memorable event. It’s disappointing that this is the last sleepout of the semester; in all likelihood we could have even more at the next one! But we are starting to organize… hopefully we can get a really, really strong movement soon!

For more information on the Leadership Campaign, their policy, and how to get more involved, visit their website, facebook, and twitter.

100% Clean Electricity by 2020!

The following speech is from Josh Lynch, who is leading the Commonwealth Challenge. This speech is from the rally on the eve of Earth Day, but Josh also introduced Representative Brownsberger during the Climate Awards the next morning. Thank you Josh for being apart of The Leadership Campaign.

Who is sleeping out tonight?

Where we live is important. Our home is where we spend most of our time. If you change someone’s home, in a sense you are changing that person. The Commonwealth Challenge is a campaign to spark an energy revolution in Massachusetts, starting with our homes. By retrofitting homes to save energy, we are creating green jobs, reducing carbon pollution, saving money on energy bills, and challenging elected officials to follow our lead. We are also making a change that lives with us every day.

The idea of the Commonwealth Challenge was born out of Copenhagen. In December 2009, 133 world leaders came to the most important environmental conference in history, the United Nations climate negotiations in Copenhagen. In spite of the passionate calls of millions of global citizens including the Leadership Campaign last Fall, what they delivered was a non-binding agreement stating what countries had already committed to. That is simply not good enough.

When the science said (more…)

HAPPY EARTH DAY! Or as happy as we can be without the release of our bill. It being earth day, there will be exciting events going on today surrounding our bill, An Act to Create a Repower Massachusetts Emergency Task Force . All day today I will be live blogging to keep you in the loop of what is going on if you are unable to join our efforts in the statehouse. Keep coming back for more updates.

Today we will be addressing both extremes, those who have shown the courage to lead within the statehouse, and those who still need the extra push to do so. At 10am this morning we will have the Climate Courage Awards on the Grand Staircase of the Statehouse. Afterward we will be lobbying those who lack the courage to lead the state in sufficiently addressing climate change. We will be here all day if you are able to join. I will post a meeting place once it is known for those who are joining throughout the day for you to find me for more information before lobbying.

Please come join if you can and if you can’t call your representative and Representative John Binienda. He is the Chairman of the House Committee on Rules, where our bill is currently being withheld from receiving its proper hearing.

Important Information

Myself: Katie Chin, 614-915-7297 

Meeting place: 3rd floor Statehouse Library (back of statehouse)

Binienda’s Office: 617-722-2692 

Media contact: Jono Rosenthal, 510-290-2063

LIVE BLOG BEGINS

(In reverse chronological order)

1:30 Group leaves office and regroups at The Church on the Hill to decide what’s next. Read the post on It’s Getting Hot In Here detailing the events, with video.

1:10 CRAIG IS ON THE PHONE WITH BINIENDA!!!!

1:05 Jamaica Kelley just got out of a meeting with Speaking Deleo and his constituents from the First Church of Winthrop. He stated that he wants Massacusetts to be a leader and we’ll find out this afternoon if he’s willing to push the bill.

1:00 Eugene joins the troops. Now 8 people of round two after first round escorted out by security. Kayla posts about the Climate Awards on our blog.

12:40 Miguel becomes 7th student to join the stand-in. No word on phone call with binienda. More are coming to join soon to keep the pressure on Binienda. We need this bill.

12:20 Lucas enters the office. Currently in office: Craig, Mino, Heather, Isaac, and Jonathon. Waiting for binienda to get on the phone. Office claims its not possible.

12:00 Isaac and Jonathon both enter the office.

11:45 Craig was in the hallway when this occurs. Re enters the office.

11:45 Group asked to leave by officers. Leave the office peacefully.

11:40 Officers still pacing the hallway. Mino and Heather join the group in Binienda’s office.

11:30 Matt joins. Univision, a Spanish News Channel is interviewing Rachel from Brandeis in Spanish and the Boston Globe Blog both interview Craig while in Bininda’s office.

11:20 Dominique and Mike join Craig, Liz, and Gabe in Representative Binienda’s office.

11:15 Officer just stepped in and walked out.

11:10 – Legislative aid says he was here earlier today and he left for the day. Currently he is in a meeting. The group of three will remain in the office until he is finished with his meeting. There was a reporter there from the Worcester Telgram and Gazette.

11:00 – Lobby day begins. Students visiting their respective representatives from their districts. Group of three enter Representative Binienda’s office asking to meet with the chairman today in person or on the phone to talk about the status of the bill.

10:00 – Climate awards beginning!
Awards given to:
REPRESENTATIVE GLORIA FOX
SUSAN LABANDIBAR, President of the sustainable business network
FIRST CHURCH OF WINTHROP UNITED METHODIST
SENATOR MARC PACHECO
REPRESENTATIVE WILLIAM BROWNSBERGER

9:00– Lobby Training begins, Boston Common

7:30 – Wake up, pack up tents from The Courage to Lead Sleepout

At 12:40, tonight, members of The Leadership Campaign were just cited for trespassing on the Boston Common while fighting for climate justice and the stability of our current and future generations.

Before a crowd of over a hundred people watching in support, sixteen people were cited by Boston Police. The event was peaceful with officers writing down our web address in agreement of our cause.

Tomorrow morning at 10:00 there will be a ceremony on the Grand Staircase of the Statehouse to award those who have been supportive within the legislature of our bill.

Come to show your support and lobby those who have not yet shown their support. You don’t want to miss this.

100% clean electricity in MA by 2020!

Below are two videos. The first is of Marla Marcum and Jay O’Hera after receiving citations. The second is Emily Tansey who watched in solidarity of those receiving citations.