These days, it is tempting to be pessimistic about the future, especially when you spend every day contemplating the worsening climate. The CO2 concentration in the atmosphere was last counted to be 418ppm and rising—nearly 70pm above the 350ppm thought to be a necessary limit to avoid the worst of climate change, which our organization draws its name from. The United Nations 2018 IPCC report says that we must make significant changes before 2030 or face the climate crisis as an existential threat. So why do I feel more hopeful than ever?
In short, we are building people power like never before. Local, national, and international communities are coming together and speaking up loud and clear in massive numbers. States that have never passed robust climate legislation before are now doing so. Candidates are getting voting into office when running a progressive campaign that is centered in climate and equity. Never has the climate movement been so significant. Our partners like the Green New Deal Network, Renew New England, and Massachusetts' own Mass Renews Alliance bring together unprecedented coalitions that reach far beyond the traditional environmentalist movement. Our job is to make sure everyone, particularly policymakers, is aware that we have a critical choice to make about our future and we expect them to deliver.
With an uncertain 2022 midterm looming, this could be our one final shot at passing serious climate policy that could point us in the right direction—the opposite direction. People are growing more intense in our demands for climate action, and politicians are listening. Climate is no longer a subject that is dismissed and trivialized. Even some Republicans can no longer deny climate change’s existence, many of them even acknowledging its clear human causes. But what I am most grateful for is climate leaders like Senator Markey and State Senator Pacheco.
Senator Pacheco had fought tirelessly throughout his career to advance serious action to combat climate change and to uplift the labor movement even when it made him unpopular with party leadership. We have each other on speed dial for whenever there is an opportunity to advance climate legislation. I have been thrilled to see so many legislators begin to rally behind Pacheco’s leadership. The Next-Generations Roadmap act was a much-needed update to Massachusetts climate policy. Its passing has only galvanized further steps to deliver on our commitment to a healthy climate.
In addition, Senator Markey has been one of our most trusted partners on climate, both in national and state issues. He has not shied away from advocating against the infamous Weymouth Compressor Station. He has been a critical ally in our push for housing and food justice legislation in the Mass Renews Alliance.
Recently, I was honored to meet with Markey’s office in DC, where we discussed the upcoming reconciliation bill that will contain the long-awaited climate package. Markey and many of his colleagues have made it clear that they will not back down on climate. We must do our part to make it impossible for our members of Congress to hold back the climate package by raising hell and banging the climate drum.
In partnership with the Green New Deal Network, I will be helping to organize rallies in Massachusetts on August 19th to call on members of Congress to #SealTheDeal and ensure all our climate policy priorities are included in the reconciliation process. While we are still figuring out the details, you can sign up to stay informed about the action here. In short, this may be our last shot to pass serious climate legislation before it’s too late.
I look forward to marching alongside you and bringing home a win for climate justice and our collective future.
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