Meet Boston’s Candidates for Mayor

This month JP Progressives will be holding Progressive Community Conversations with two of Boston’s mayoral candidates: Mayor Marty Walsh and Councilor Tito Jackson.

These Community Conversations provide an opportunity to meet the candidates, and discuss their positions on climate change. BCAN will ask Mayor Walsh and Councilor Jackson how they plan to meet the goals of the Paris Accord. We will tell them that Bostonians want Community Choice Energy (CCE) as soon as possible. We want the City of Boston to negotiate a fair deal with green power companies, so everyone can afford renewable energy.

Several cities and towns in Massachusetts already have CCE. We don’t want Boston to lag behind the rest of the Commonwealth. Come join us at these Community Conversations, and help us get CCE in Boston.

Progressive Community Conversation with Councilor Tito Jackson
Tuesday, July 18th, 7:00pm
First Baptist Church
633 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain

Progressive Community Conversation with Mayor Marty Walsh
Thursday, July 20th, 7:30pm
First Baptist Church
633 Centre Street, Jamaica Plain

Let’s show our gratitude to JP Progressives for hosting these conversations! Please register by clicking on the appropriate hyperlink(s) above.

BCAN’s Cantastoria Theater Promotes Community Choice Energy

This Saturday BCAN’s own Cantastoria Theater  will participate in JP Porchfest.  Come see our players act for Community Choice Energy, as they make their appeal in verse.  The Earth needs Boston to get CCE ASAP!

Date: Saturday, July 8th
Time: 1:00pm (arrive at 12:45 to avoid missing this very short performance)
Location: Loring-Greenough House
12 South Street, Jamaica Plain
Admission: Free

Come join us this Saturday.  Have fun, and feel inspired to make your voices heard by city officials!

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Contacting Public Officials About Community Choice Energy

To make Boston officials adopt renewable energy policies as quickly as possible, we as residents need to make our voices heard. The best way to do this is by contacting the mayor and your city councilor directly, to say that you want Community Choice Energy (CCE) available in Boston.  You may call, email or send a letter by U.S. post.

When calling an office, begin by stating your name and address. This lets the staffer  know that you’re actually a resident, not some paid political operative.

Tell the staff member that you want the mayor or councilor to support CCE. To show that your concern is genuine, you should briefly mention one something related to one of the talking points listed below (please don’t read these verbatim to the staffer, as that lessens the impact of your call):

  1. CCE will make renewable energy affordable for residents and small businesses.
  2. Adopting renewable energy will help Boston reduce its carbon emissions to fight climate change.
  3. As a city, Boston will be able to meet the terms of the Paris Accord, which will improve our reputation internationally.
  4. Renewable energy will create many new jobs in the city.
  5. Moving to renewable energy will ensure that Boston stays a center of innovation, which will attract more business to our city.
  6. CCE will stabilize our electricity bills, helping households and business to more easily plan their budgets.
  7. CCE democratizes decisions concerning electricity generation, allowing people to use the economic power of their utility bill payments to push for a faster transition to a fossil-fuel-free future.

Staff members in government offices are always busy, so be brief and stick to just one or two reasons why you support CCE. Personal reasons like owning a business in the City, living in a neighborhood that is particularly vulnerable to climate change, etc., are also effective.  Above all, be polite.  Political offices usually discard comments from rude people.

When sending an email or writing an old-fashioned letter, it’s best to follow the standard business letter format. It makes you look more credible, and the official’s staff members will take your opinion more seriously.

Format for CCE Letter

{Your street address}
{City, MA zip code}

Mayor Martin J. Walsh
1 City Hall Square, Suite 500
Boston, MA 02201

-or-

Councilor {Your councilor’s name}
1 City Hall Square
Room 550
Boston, MA 02201

{Date on which you are writing the letter}

Dear Mayor Walsh -or- Councilor {Councilor’s Name}:
{Body of the Letter}

Sincerely,
{Your name}
{Your email address}

In the body of the letter, introduce yourself as a resident of Boston and indicate your home neighborhood.  Then in one or two sentences, ask the mayor or your councilor to support CCE, and explain why you want them to.  You may use one or more of the talking points listed above.  Keep the letter short and courteous. End by asking the councilor or mayor to let you know where they stand on CCE.

If you send your letter via email, feel free to cc City Council President Michelle Wu and City Councilor Matt O’Malley, who are leading the effort to pass a CCE authorization in City Council: Michelle.Wu@boston.gov or Matthew.OMalley@boston.gov. We also encourage emails to the three other at-large Councilors: Ayanna Pressley,  Ayanna.Pressley@boston.gov; Michael Flaherty, Michael.F.Flaherty@boston.gov; and Annissa Essaibi George, A.E.George@boston.gov.

Contact info for all the Councilors is available at: https://www.boston.gov/departments/city-council.

Trump’s Withdrawal from the Paris Accords

President Trump announced last week his intention to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accords.  This decision is misinformed and reckless.  It ignores the overwhelming evidence that the world is getting hotter every year, and gives up our role of global leadership.  Exiting the agreement aligns the U.S. with Syria and Nicaragua, the only other two countries in the world that did not commit to the Paris Accords.

Trump said “I was elected to represent the people of Pittsburgh, not Paris.”  It’s worthwhile to linger on the know-nothingness of this statement for a moment.  The people of Paris did not form the climate accords – world leaders did, gathered in Paris to represent the people of their nations.  Pittsburgh, like all U.S. cities, will face hotter summers, refugee crises, food shortages, and other terrible effects of climate change if it is not addressed.

The ignorance of this decision and rhetoric is palpable.

So – what do we do now?

State and Local Action

With continued inaction at the federal level, it’s clear that the responsibility of meeting the challenges of climate change falls to the state and local levels of government.  Several states have banded together to form the Climate Alliance, with the stated goal of acting to meet the Paris Accord carbon reductions without federal support.

Massachusetts has joined the Alliance, and Governor Baker and Mayor Walsh have issued statements rejecting Trump’s decision.

Now those statements need to turn into policy.  We have a long way to go to reduce our carbon footprint in Boston to meet our climate goals.  Energy efficiency, green jobs, and resiliency planning should all come to the forefront now.

One of the easiest wins for the City of Boston is to adopt Community Choice Energy.  It would cost the city nothing to implement, and we will accelerate our transition to renewable energy by adopting more of it for our residents and businesses.

What You Can Do

City Council is considering this approach now.

Call Mayor Walsh (617-635- 4500) to tell him that you support Community Choice Energy, and that you consider the environment an important election year issue.

Call your City Councilor to ask that they support the plan brought forth by Councilors Wu and O’Malley to adopt Community Choice to get more renewable energy for Boston.

If you’re dismayed by the short-sighted withdrawal from the Paris accords, then you can still do something to resist, fight back, and help preserve the environment.

Bostonians want Climate Action – and the need is more urgent

The Yale Climate Communication group recently published a breakdown of climate opinion by county in the US.  Drilling down into the numbers in Suffolk county, we see the following:

  • 80% of Bostonians believe climate change is happening.
  • 72% are worried about climate change.
  • 87% support funding for developing more renewable energy
  • 75% support requiring utilities to source 20% of their generation from renewable sources.

This compares against the national average of 70% of Americans who believe climate change is happening.

It’s not surprising that Bostonians are progressive on climate action – we live on the ocean and are particularly exposed to rising sea levels, heat waves, and other climate effects.

But the need for action is getting more urgent.

So what can we do about it?

Call your city councilors (both for your district and the at-large councilors) to support the Community Choice Energy proposal sponsored by Councilors Wu and O’Malley.  Tell them you support the increasing renewable energy through municipal aggregation as part of Boston’s climate policy.

Check out this resource if you’re not sure who your city councilors are.  Just enter your zip code and scroll down to the “Local Representatives” section.

Calling is the best way to show your support – more than email or social media.  You’re letting them know you want to see them take action on climate change and that people in their districts are worried about it.

Together we can make a difference!

Community Choice Aggregation — lessons around the country

In Chicago, community choice aggregation nosedived after initially saving electric customers millions of dollars. But in other Illinois cities, Ohio, and especially California, it’s thriving. Check out the whole story here.