Green Justice Blog

Public Transit - Public Good: Rally in Fall River.
Public Transit - Public Good: Rally in Fall River.

UPDATE: It's Not the End of the Line

Riders and Workers Rally across Massachusetts to defend public transit! Protests strike the PVTA, SRTA, MBTA and state legislature. It's not the end of the line for public transit - as long as we fix it, fund it, and make it fair! Read on for an upcoming statewide actions - and to see photos of regional allies speaking out!

June 12th // 12:30 SHARP // Boston (Massachusetts State House) 

STATEWIDE DAY OF ACTION FOR TRANSIT JUSTICE (flyer)

Community Energy: GJC Celebrates Chinatown Weatherization, Victories Across MA

The Green Justice Coalition gathered with friends and allies at the Chinese Progressive Association on Monday, May 7 to celebrate a clear win for community power. In Chinatown, the 50th weatherization achieved through a GJC Community Mobilization Initiative (CMI) cemented years of cooperation between labor and environmental groups, utilities and government regulators to expand access to state energy efficiency programs and green jobs.

Unique in their reach, the Green Justice CMIs pilot extend the benefits of state programs to low-to-moderate income persons and communities of color. At the pilot celebration, utilities NStar, National Grid, and WMECO; energy consultant Conservation Services Group (CSG); ​Next Step Living, a residential energy efficiency company; Arbor Consulting Partners, CMI evaluators; local officials and residents of Chinatown joined GJC groups in renewing their commitment to an equitable energy future.

GJC Launches "Public Transit-Public Good," May 16

The Green Justice Coalition gets moving! Join riders and workers from across the State on Wednesday, May 16th @ 11 a.m. on the Statehouse Steps as we gather to protect transit systems across the state by launching the Green Justice Coalition’s campaign, "Public Transit–Public Good."

Leaders will speak out FOR fair short-term fixes and meaningful long-term solutions and AGAINST regressive proposals across the state to hike fares and cut transit service. Street theater will highlight the impacts of inadequate transit funding and service on our communities.

Click here to see a flyer for the event.

 

Keep Me Warm, Keep Me Informed! GJC Releases Brief on Data Reporting

The Green Justice Coalition turned out in force for the April 10 Energy Efficiency Advisory Council meeting to demand transparency in Massachusetts' "EE" programs! Who are state-run energy efficiency programs serving? Who is being hired? Where are the gaps? A new Green Justice brief - reportedly authored by GJC Mascot Chilly Willy himself - details what information we need, and why it's so important to collect it.

Public Information for Better Programs: Why Energy Efficiency Data Reporting Must be Timely, Consistent, Statewide, and Transparent shows the many benefits of regular reporting from the state and utility companies. Basic data, such as locations where efficiency work is being done, and the amount of financial and energy savings to Massachusetts residents, significantly enhances program design and delivery. Follow the link to read the issue brief, or continue on to view pictures of GJC in action!

 

 

David Minasian, researcher at CLU, presents a Green Justice Valentine.
David Minasian, researcher at CLU, presents a Green Justice Valentine.

Be My GJC Valentine

Will you be my Green Justice Valentine? On Tuesday, February 14, David Minasian of CLU presented an issue brief - and love - to the Massachusetts Energy Efficiency Advisory Council (a body established by the Green Communities Act of 2008) as Darlene Lombos and Jeremy Shenk handed out copies - and chocolate - to the councilors. The Green Justice Coalition is advocating for some tweaks and additions to the state's 2013-2015 3-year plan for energy efficiency, with the goal of making the benefits equitable and accessible to all. GJC recommendations include: targeted weatherization funds for low-to-moderate income, assessment of a "tiered" rebate structure (where those who make less money get a larger rebate), and guaranteed funding to those who've already completed audits, but previously lacked the funds to go through with the weatherization work. You can view full issue brief (complete with techy-talk) here, or continue on to view additional photos. (You can also check them out on Facebook).

 

All Communities Pay For Energy Efficiency! All Communities Deserve Energy Efficiency!
All Communities Pay For Energy Efficiency! All Communities Deserve Energy Efficiency!

Energy Efficiency Steps Forward!

Long strides for Green Justice! A GJC Bill has moved out of commitee!

Taxpayers in Massachusetts currently fund statewide energy efficiency programs, but policymakers lack the tools to track who is being served by the programs and how they have impacted local communities. A new piece of legislation, approved by the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities, and Energy (TUE) on January 24, would change that.

 “We applaud the Committee for its role in advancing transparency and increasing access for previously underserved communities,” said Staci Rubin of Alternatives for Community & Environment, a member of the Green Justice Coalition (GJC). The GJC has, since 2008, worked with utility companies and state agencies to address inequities in state efficiency programs and address job quality standards. “We are encouraged that the bill aims to provide equitable access to efficiency programs for hard to reach communities, including low-to-moderate- income homeowners and renters, residents whose primary language is not English, and small businesses.”

The bill, “An Act Further Promoting Energy Efficiency and Green Jobs,” mandates public accountability in Massachusetts’ energy efficiency programs and would establish a new Oil Heat Energy Efficiency Fund. [View entire release after the break.]

 

Got energy? Residents demand energy efficiency and green jobs at community meetings across Massachusetts.
Got energy? Residents demand energy efficiency and green jobs at community meetings across Massachusetts.

Green Justice community meetings held across Mass; State House hearing packed!

Leading up to a key hearing at the Massachusetts State House, community, labor and environmental groups from all over the state collaborated to bring the Green Justice message to community members, and hear back about their home energy efficiency needs and goals. Through June and July, meetings took place in the Springfield area, the North Shore, the Boston area and Southeast Mass, and were attended by scores of people concerned about high utility bills and problems with the state’s energy efficiency programs.

 

Then on July 14, these community meetings provided a way to coordinate a statewide mobilization, as over 100 people from all corners of Mass converged on the State House in Boston to attend the GJC energy efficiency bill hearing and tell their legislators about their support. The GJC is supporting legislation called H 1774 which aims to improve the current energy efficiency program with some simple but crucial fixes.

Betty Maguire welcoming union carpenters, community groups and well-wishers
Betty Maguire welcoming union carpenters, community groups and well-wishers

Dozens weather storm to witness green jobs and energy efficiency in action

Who goes out on a snowy weekday morning to watch construction workers fix up an old house? Apparently, more than 40 Boston-area residents, supporting a Dorchester homeowner in her quest to drive down her out-of-control heating bills.

 

Last Friday, January 21, as a snowstorm pounded the Boston area, dozens of GJC supporters, union carpenters and members of the media converged on the home of Betty Maguire to see the progress being made in upgrading her home. She was trying to qualify for funding from the city’s Renew Boston energy efficiency program.

 

See a collage of photos from the event by NEU4J!

Hundreds Of MA Residents Demand Energy Efficiency Reforms

Sept. 22 saw a confluence of over 300 people from every corner of Massachusetts at Our Lady of Lourdes church hall in Jamaica Plain. After a summer filled with actions designed to highlight inequities in the state’s $1.4 billion home energy efficiency programs, the high-spirited crowd was in a mood for results.

Several reps from state agencies and utility company were present this evening, and the raucous crowd seemed to make a strong impression on them. At one point, event MC Mimi Ramos asked anyone whose utilities had been shut off, or who had lost a job, or lost their home to foreclosure or eviction in the past year to stand up, and well over half the room rose to their feet. This sobering reality is the kind of fact missed in obscure policy discussions, so it was especially impactful ahead of key decision-making about issues which will make a difference to people all across Massachusetts.

 

See photos from the event!

North Shore GJC Holds BBQ And Rally For Energy Efficiency

Members of several organizations doing community work in the North Shore organized a barbecue and spirited rally in Lynn on Saturday, Sept. 11. Dozens of area residents came out to learn about the state’s energy efficiency program, and were surprised to find they were paying into it every month on their utility bills. Ana Perdomo, a Lynn resident, described her unsustainably high energy bills. And when Alex Papali of Clean Water Action asked if anyone had received home energy efficiency work in their home, or had gotten a job in this industry, not a single hand went up. The amount that residents have been paying into the state's home efficiency program since it was set up in 2008, shocked many in the crowd.