Hey Everyone!

On the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, we officially held a stand-in in Representative Binienda’s office to pressure him to release our bill asking for 100% Clean Electricity by 2020!!!!!!

Starting at 11:00am and continuing for over two hours, approximately 20 people entered Binienda’s office. At one point several of them were peacefully escorted out of the State House by security, but more continued to come in a few minutes later. At the end, Josh, Coordinator of the Commonwealth Challenge, came in with signed pledges of nearly 350 residents of Massachusetts to commit to reducing their home energy usage a full 5% by the end of the year.

At that moment, Mr. Binienda called Craig to discuss the bill. Mr. Binienda assured the Leadership Campaign of his plan to release the bill eventually, though he still failed to give a firm deadline for this action.
Check out the Getting Hot in Here site for more specific details and a video of the actual conversation.

At the same time, some of our members and constituents from the First Church of Winthrop met with Speaker of the House DeLeo to also discuss the status of our bill. The conversation went well and that afternoon he called one of our members who had been at the meeting to confirm his support.

Thank you to everyone who has been putting so much work into this and to everyone who was there and participated on Wednesday night and Thursday!!
Everyone in this campaign is so absolutely awesome!!!! 🙂
We are on our way to making this happen!! We can do this!!
HAPPY (slightly b-lated) EARTH DAY!!!!

~

“Remember to turn of those lights when you leave the room.”

“Can you turn off the air conditioning? The windows are open and you’re wasting energy.”

“I know hygiene is important to you, but honestly, hour-long showers are really NOT necessary.”

These are just a few examples of the comments with which I pester my friends on a daily basis.

Apparently, nagging pays off, because a month ago I was able to convince three of my friends from Northampton High School to go with me to the Cambridge Commons Leadership Campaign sleepout. As high schoolers, we were initially nervous and wary of the big, scary college kids who seemingly dominated the Leadership Campaign. Our fears were soon assuaged when we arrived to the commons with our tents (and a bag of sleepout equipment so reminiscent of a dead body it would put a serial killer to shame) in hand: we were met with nothing but excitement and enthusiasm from everyone we talked to.

It was then that I realized that high schoolers are welcomed and, in fact, needed to keep the energy of the Leadership Campaign going, especially over the summer. Thankfully, the Campaign now has a strong base of high schoolers who can keep that energy going. This holds increasingly true; at the Boston Commons sleepout this past Wednesday, I saw the amount of Western Mass high schoolers double. The campaign is growing before my eyes, and it’s exciting to be a part of a political movement with an increasing number of followers each day. And I understand the attraction: who wouldn’t want to be part of an organization that encourages you to camp in the middle of a city with hundreds of other people, push climate legislation, and have a great time doing it?!

Thank you, Leadership Campaign, for making my nagging worth it.

This is a copy of my speech from the Boston Common Sleepout on Earth Day

Since the Kyoto Protocol was signed in 1992, We have seen a 35% increase in world wide carbon dioxide emissions.

In the year 2005 there were more named storms then in any other year.

Eight of the warmest years in recorded history have come in the last ten years.

Increased temperatures are thought to be the main cause of malaria outbreaks in the United States of America.

Our Climate is changing at a faster rate then at any point in History.

Up to 4 billion more people could face water shortages in the Next 40 years

Millions more could be exposed to Malaria and other “tropical” diseases

These are some scary numbers. We have all heard these as well as many more that tell us the tale of global warming and the effects that it has on the environment and humanity.

These numbers however do not tell the whole story.

They do not show the faces of the children that are forced to leave their homes do to rising sea levels.

They do not tell the story of the farmers that have to leave their farms because they are experiencing the worst droughts on record.

They do not tell the story of the resistance and of the people who have the courage to stand up and be leaders. We are privileged to sleep on the common and speak for those that feel that they have no voice.

We need to continue to organize, mobilize and show unity in order to carry our courage into the state house so that they can fallow us in suit.

There are many people which would rather go about their lives unchanged in the belief that they are unaffected. Climate change is a heavy challenger that rest on our shoulders. We carry the power in our voices and in our actions to overcome and change this.

Together we will create a clean stable future.

This was written as a conclusion to my semester-long project on SJSF and the LC for my environmental ethics class, in the philosophy department at Mount Holyoke College.

…..  It has come to that time in the semester when we must recount how far we have come, what we learned in the process, and plan our next steps.

We achieved a large portion of what we set out to do this spring, most importantly having spread our network of engaged students and community members.  I am especially proud to know that Mount Holyoke and Hampshire colleges have a sizeable presence on the common this evening after all of the hard work recruiting and relaying messaging time after time again.  These two campuses have proved to me our most active this semester – a truly wonderful accomplishment.  We even have some members of Smith College involved now – all five colleges on the map!

Personally, my favorite accomplishment with the Leadership Campaign has been creating a network of friends.  I literally am in tears over the idea of not being able to see this core group that I have come to depend on as such committed allies!  I felt that I was disappointing everyone since it was assumed that I would come as usual and it hurt to hear their voices on the phone and feeling as if we were separated by so much time and distance.  Finding friends who are as passionate, if not more so, than I am about these issues, was something I had only dreamed of in high school.  Never, had I imagined that in less than a year I’d have a network of college friends that extended so far off my campus!  (Never let anyone tell you that you won’t have any male friends if you go to a women’s college.)

Many changes happened regarding our plan of action (more…)

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

Today we, The Leadership Campaign, started off our Earth Day honoring some of our legislative and community partners that have had the courage to lead. We did this by holding the first ever Climate Courage Awards. The ceremony was held in front of the grand stair case in the Massachusetts State House with supporters and student leaders of the campaign filling every seat.

As everything that happens in The Leadership Campaign the award ceremony was nothing less than interesting and inspiring. We were not only able to recognize the tremendous leadership that legislatives such as Gloria Fox, Marc Pacheco, and of course Williams Brownsberger have demonstrated, but we were also able to show our immense gratitude for some of the community support we’ve received.

With an immensely heart felt introduction by Marla Marcum, the Leadership Campaign presented a Courage Award to the First Church of Winthrop United Methodist, who, I’m sure you all remember, have helped us time and time again. Whether it be housing 40 of us for a week long retreat in January or supporting us during our Winthrop events, or even delivering our dear colleague letter to Representative DeLeo, it’s known with out a doubt that community support like this is one of the main reasons our campaign has gotten as far as it has.

As a fellow student a part of this campaign it meant a lot to me to be able to thank such leaders. As a student in general it meant a lot to me to be able to thank these kinds of leaders for teaching me and setting an example. As a Massachusetts resident, born and raised, it meant a lot to me to see my representatives and my fellow citizens acknowledged for all of the good that they’re doing. But most importantly as a person who truly cares about the state of this world it meant a lot to me to be able to thank these leaders for giving me hope that we can and will do this.