People’s Climate March in Review

October 13, 2014

BostonCAN’s message of taking action at personal, neighborhood, and political levels to build a movement for climate justice was echoed by about 400,000 people on New York City on Sept. 21. The People’s Climate March was timed to coincide with a United Nations Summit on Climate Change. According to the UN, “Climate change is not a far-off problem. It is happening now and is having very real consequences on people’s lives. Climate change is disrupting national economies, costing us dearly today and even more tomorrow.  But there is a growing recognition that affordable, scalable solutions are available now that will enable us all to leapfrog to cleaner, more resilient economies.

“There is a sense that change is in the air. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has invited world leaders, from government, finance, business, and civil society to Climate Summit 2014 this 23 September to galvanize and catalyze climate action.  He has asked these leaders to bring bold announcements and actions to the Summit that will reduce emissions, strengthen climate resilience, and mobilize political will for a meaningful legal agreement in 2015. Climate Summit 2014 provides a unique opportunity for leaders to champion an ambitious vision, anchored in action that will enable a meaningful global agreement in 2015.”

While it’s too soon to know what effects the march and related organizing efforts will have, many national organizations collaborated to build a more diverse coalition than at previous national environmental and energy organizing efforts. Signs and banners throughout the march for resilience, justice, and sustainability created an impression of a significantly more inclusive and diverse social movement.

A large number of BostonCAN’s allies organized their members to attend the march, including MassEnergy, Bikes Not Bombs, ACE, City Life, Clean Water Action, Boston Climate Action Network and JPNET.  Many BostonCAN members also attended.  One of the youngest marchers, baby Lula Pearl of Jamaica Plain with , got a personal greeting from leader Bill McKibben.

BNB Banner JP MarchersMcKibben with Lula

Lobster Boat Trial Recap from Reita

September 11, 2014

Three BostonCAN members headed to Fall River this past Monday, September 8th, to support climate activists Ken Ward and Jay O’Hara, who were arrested after using a lobster boat to block a shipment of coal to the Brayton Point Power Plant last May.  Here is more from Reita about her experience:

When Suzette, Lauren and I arrived at the Fall River Courthouse where Jay and Ken were to begin their trial, Quakers were already sitting silently in a half circle, with other small groups appearing, including the principles, their attorneys, members of the press and activist supporters and their leaders.

I sat through the brief trial procedure, mostly chatting with people next to me during the frequent recesses.

On the elevator ride up to the courtroom, Ken chuckled about singing the Folsom Prison blues, but he and Jay and their families were pretty subdued.  There were only 32 seats in the Courtroom that were available to the public.  The other 32 seats were to be reserved for the possible jurors.  Later, as it became clear that there would be no jury trial, these seats were filled.  The judge was tough and fair.  Near the end of the proceedings when the courtroom was packed, he asked if people were in the outside hallway.  When he was told there were, he had the doors to the Courtroom  opened, noting that the Court was open to the public.  I liked that.

Earlier, Tim deChristopher who sort of acted as manager, set up a system for  us to shuttle in and out of the Courtroom without disturbance. We were reminded of appropriate court behavior–no cheering or booing.

After the details of the surprise withdrawal of criminal charges had been worked out, and the settlement of civil charges with a $4000 fine for reimbursement to the Town of Somerset , we left the Courtroom and gathered outside to celebrate.  I’m not much for speeches, so I was kind of on the edge of the crowd when I heard the D.A. Sam Sutter make a statement supporting activist efforts opposing climate change.  Then he was holding up a Rolling Stone Magazine with a recent McKibben article in it  and saying he was going to the Peoples Climate March.  Wow, what a guy!

After the excitement of this pronouncement, we  sang some songs together, and walked to a nearby church where 350MA had set up a generous lunch.  Then back home.  It was a grand day.

To hear Ken and Jay on Democracy Now! and learn more about the blockade, trial, and post-trial media coverage, click here.

Rally Against the Kinder Morgan Pipeline

July 28, 2014

Pipeline Rally Poster

The company Kinder Morgan’s plans for a new natural gas pipeline in Massachusetts couldn’t get worse. Not only are they trying to clear cut their way through 45 Massachusetts towns to build this dirty pipeline, but new evidence shows that they are working to force all electricity ratepayers to help pay for it through a tariff – an unprecedented and creepy measure that would allow private interests to empty our pocketbooks without democratic process. Come join us to rally at the State House this Wednesday, June 30th, 10:30am – 1:00pm, in Downtown Boston.*

Governor Patrick has signed into law some of the strongest environmental laws in New England. We’ve made huge progress on expanding clean energy, such as solar and wind, but this is a step in the wrong direction. It’s time to push forward for clean renewable energy and conservation.

When BostonCAN members came together in June to reflect on our successful spring campaign on natural gas leaks, we decided we wanted to spend the summer re-framing our work more broadly, targeting the natural gas industry in general and particularly this pipeline.

* A smaller contingent of rally goers will lobby their representatives at the State House between 9 and 11 am. If interested or with any questions, contact

Leaking Natual Gas Pipes: Dangerous and Costly!

May 2, 2014

On April 17 a natural gas explosion destroyed a home in Dorchester, injuring a dozen people, two of them seriously. While we don’t know for certain that the gas leak came from an old pipe, we do know that National Grid had been called to the residence numerous times before to respond to the odor of leaking gas. Tragic explosions have occurred in recent years in Springfield, Gloucester, Fitchburg, Somerset, and Winthrop, in addition to Dorchester!

Natural gas leaks are also dangerous to our atmosphere. Natural gas is composed of methane, which is 34 times more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. According to Conservation Law Foundation, in Massachusetts “1,725 million cubic feet is lost through leaks each year — more than the 1,097 cubic feet saved through efficiency gains” through Mass Save.

Natural gas leaks are as costly as they are dangerous. Methane build up in the soil around these leaking pipes also is killing our trees at the roots. In Brookline alone, tree damage is estimated at $1,000,000. The cost for the trees is paid for the taxpayers. We also pay for the lost gas, even though it never gets to our homes. The Department of Public Utilities permits gas utilities to charge ratepayers for all the gas they put into the pipelines, not what’s actually delivered to our homes. CLF estimates that “Massachusetts ratepayers have paid over $1.5 billion for natural gas that never made it to their homes.”

Boston’s Climate Action Plan, last updated 3 years ago, does not include any recognition of leaking gas pipes as part of the City’s greenhouse gas inventory. Join BostonCAN on May 15th for a Gas Leaks Meet-Up to call on the City to count the leaks and advocate for replacing the old cast iron pipes in a prompt and systematic manner.

Gas Leaks InfographicHorizontal.print_.2-1024x662

Support Climate Activism in Boston Neighborhoods in 2014!

December 22, 2013

Ring in the New Year with a pledge for climate justice! 2014 brings a new Mayor to Boston for the first time in 20 years, and BostonCAN is in the perfect place to make sure that Mayor-Elect Marty Walsh implements the strong climate change action ideas he and other candidates promoted during the campaign.

Please join us in this important work with your donation and, if possible, with your time!

While climate change news grows ever scarier, BostonCAN remains dedicated to fighting paralysis by engaging our network on multiple fronts: working both in the neighborhoods and citywide, on mitigation as well as adaptation, and by connecting Boston residents to statewide and national campaigns. There’s no other group like us, and your support is crucial to preventing climate change from turning our neighborhoods into separate islands of the vulnerable and the protected.

In 2013, BostonCAN convened a new coalition of six Boston neighborhoods making climate change a key issue in the city’s hotly contested mayoral race, helped win passage of a precedent-setting City energy reporting ordinance, joined a new campaign to fix leaky gas pipelines, and organized hands-on events like the De-Paving Party pictured here.JP_Depaving_best crop for web

Amazingly, we accomplished all this with part-time staff whom we had to lay off in mid-year when our funding ran out. Committed volunteers made our efforts in 2013 a success and they will keep working tirelessly next year, but we can accomplish much more in 2014 if we have enough financial support to hire a new coordinator.

Please donate generously to BostonCAN. We will put your dollars to work for what money can’t buy: climate-resilient neighborhoods and a regional ecosystem that can sustain our families now and for future generations.

You can make a donation today through our tax-deductible on-line option (just choose Boston Climate Action Network from the program designation menu on this Massachusetts Climate Action Network site) or send a check to BostonCAN, PO Box 300984, Boston, MA 02130.

Thanks so much for your generosity and dedication.
BostonCAN logo


Viki Bok
Loie Hayes
Judy Kolligian
Ninya Loeppky
Josh Lynch
Mike Prokosch
Ray Soohoo
Board members

PS: To ensure a sustainable campaign for climate justice in Boston, we are aiming to raise $5,000 by January 15th. A gift of even $30 would cover the cost of a hall for a movie night, $100 would support the design, translation, and printing of handouts for our summer fair tabling, while $500 would underwrite almost a whole week of our lean organizing machine.

PPS: Click here for more photos of BostonCAN events.

Join us for a Gas Leak Safari!

November 9, 2013


There are more than 3,300 natural gas leaks in the City of Boston, where miles of old corroded cast-iron pipes are badly in need of replacement with newer pipe material. The leaked natural gas is expensive for ratepayers who bear the costs. The methane in the gas is also a more potent greenhouse warming gas than CO2, meaning that the leaks represent a significant part of our collective carbon footprint. Natural gas leaks also harms trees and plantings, which has been documented along the Boston’s famed Arborway.

At 1pm, Sunday, Nov. 17, we will gather for a short briefing on the issue, and then depart to bike and caravan through Jamaica Plain, led by Boston University scientists, a professional detection team, and neighborhood leaders from Boston Climate Action Network and Clean Water Action. Please bring a bike or car, or plan to join a carpool. We will return to the Brewery by 3pm.

Who:  Concerned residents of Boston

BU scientist Nathan Phillips and his son Julian measuring gas leaks in Dorchester.

BU scientist Nathan Phillips and his son Julian measuring gas leaks in Dorchester.

What: Bike and car tour of natural gas leaks in Jamaica Plain

When: Sunday, November 17th at 1pm

Where: Meet at Bikes Not Bombs at the Jamaica Plain Brewery Complex

284 Amory Street, Jamaica Plain, MA02130

Entrance to Bikes Not Bombs is to the left of Ula Café entrance

RSVPs welcome or  to get involved in organizing this action and the on-going “Stop the Gas Leaks” campaign, contact: Becky Smith, Clean Water Action: bsmith<at>, 617-314-2347 or Boston Climate Action Network: BostonClimateAction<at>

Who Will Be Boston’s Climate Champion Mayor?

September 11, 2013

Live in Boston? Do you want the next Mayor to make climate and sustainability a high priority for prompt and ambitious action?

Sign the Neighborhoods for Climate Accountability petition.

Neighborhoods for Climate Accountability (N4CA) is a coalition of grassroots groups based in Boston neighborhoods. Convened by Boston Climate Action Network, its founding organizations are Green Dorchester, GreeningRozzie, Planet Southie, West Roxbury Saves Energy and Alternatives for Community and Environment.

N4CA is focused on making sure that Boston’s next Mayor is a climate champion. Our main strategy is linking a questionnaire on climate issues for the candidates with a petition for voters to show that climate is a key criteria for judging the readiness of the candidates. Eight of the Mayoral candidates have responded in depth to our questionnaire, addressing issues from health to solid waste, transportation, food security, and divestment from fossil fuel companies, among others.

As neighborhood-based groups, we bring a crucial element to climate politics in the City of Boston. There are several wonderful statewide and national environmental organizations in Boston but their memberships are largely outside the city. As the City administration prepares for the 2014 update of its Climate Action Plan – and our first new Mayor in 20 years – the voices of people who live in Boston’s neighborhoods must join with policy experts to shape practical and socially just solutions to the climate issues challenging our city and region.

We welcome endorsements from other neighborhood groups based in the City of Boston and other allies engaged promoting sustainability as an issue in the Boston mayoral outcome. Please read the candidates’ statements, sign the petition, and spread the word to your friends.


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