Energy Empowerment Revolution Rally Begins Push for Billion Dollar State Fund; Sen. Kerry Addresses Crowd
BOSTON/Faneuil Hall - An array of environmental and community organizations held a 100-person rally at Faneuil Hall on Tuesday to announce a new campaign for to renovate every home in the Commonwealth to reduce to be more heat efficient in the winter months and more energy efficient year round - providing 10,000 new "green collar jobs in the process.
Their full platform is laid out in a Declaration of Energy Empowerment that was read aloud by activists at the event.
Loie Hayes of the Boston Climate Action Network explained, "The event is to call attention to the opportunity that's in the present moment of crisis. The food and fuel prices are still incredibly high even though the price on a barrel of oil has dropped. But we're anticipating hundreds of thousands of homes in Massachusetts having trouble staying warm this winter, and that's only going to get worse every year as the price of fossil fuels continues to be volatile and rising.
"The state has come forward with the Winter Energy Cost Task Force Recommendations," Hayes continued, "which include, I believe, a million dollar fund for increased fuel assistance and home weatherization and public information and emergency preparedness. What we're calling for is a billion dollar fund, a ten-fold increase, and a focus primarily on energy conservation in people's homes; so that as we say in the declaration poor and moderate income people are no longer held hostage to the whims of oil companies."
Bob Terrell, another rally organizer, agreed, "Probably the most impressive thing when you read this declaration is that from our perspective the struggle to build a more sustainable and green economy is perfectly compatible with environmental justice. And today I'm representing Alternatives for Community and Environment where I just stepped as the Chairman of the Board. And we find that there's great compatibility between environmental justice and sustainable development. And every one of the recommendations in the declaration, the things in the short and medium term that they want to accomplish would benefit the residents of our communities. When you talk about 30,000 jobs in the green economy of Massachusetts, we have 10% 12% unemployment in our communities and this would really be a shot in the arm and a major boost. But we also have a lot of families who are really desperate to save money on their heating bills, their fuel bills who need help insulating their homes, all the recommendations in here would really help those families out. So we see a tremendous amount of compatibility between sustainability and environmental justice.
The highlight of the event was an address by Sen. John Kerry (D - Mass.) who focused his support for the initiative on his concern about the negative effects of out-of-control global warming on the nation and the planet, "We're losing this battle today. In fact, we're not even fighting this battle to the best of our ability to the best of our technological skill To the creative genius that we have in this country, we haven't begun to really fight. And that's why this gathering on a stormy night without a full house - with a lot of Americans totally unaware of what brings us here - is in fact very, very important. And I want you to understand the importance of the commitment that you've made in being here and going forward from here to translate these rights into a reality in the governance of our country."
Kerry concluded, "The fact is that this is a matter of survival. A lot of people don't understand that yet, and I keep telling people that you don't have the privilege of being half-pregnant on this issue. If you accept the science and now we're hearing most conservatives and Republicans even agree and they say 'yes we accept the science.' If you accept the science with respect to the human causes of global climate change, the choices we have with respect to energy and if you accept the science with respect to humankind's impact and its dangerous consequences, you can't avoid also accepting what the scientists are now saying is a feedback from Mother Earth herself that is coming at a rate that is so much faster and so much greater than any model that they used to make their original predictions.
The Energy Empowerment coalition plans to push to enact their platform in the upcoming session of the Mass. Legislature. Its organizational members include Action for Regional Equity, Boston Climate Action Network, Clean Water Action, Community Labor United, Environment Massachusetts, Mass. Energy Consumers Alliance, and the Mass. Climate Action Network.