Students from Environment Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group (MASSPIRG) organized a statewide lobby day on March 28. Throughout the entire state, students engaged directly with state legislators regarding clean energy solutions and impactful climate action.
The aim of the event was to encourage a renewable energy future through legislative opportunities including the 100% Renewable Energy Act and Act to Promote a Clean Energy Future. Another goal of the event was to demonstrate student support for these two bills, which are currently at the State House. These bills call for the state of Massachusetts to have a 100% renewable energy economy-wide by 2050.
EcoPledge of Boston College helped raise awareness about the event on campus. In an email to club members describing the lobby day, they stated that it is evident that the climate is changing rapidly, citing the large number of nor'easters and rising sea levels. To combat the most pressing energy challenge of our time, federal laws committed to 100% renewable energy need to be carried out.
EcoPledge stressed the magnitude of this event and said that “a visionary commitment to a clean energy future and ambitious leadership” is the best plan of action.
The 100% renewable energy movement has built up momentum across the state, where 7 cities, as well as multiple universities and towns have already committed to using renewable energy.
Students from Massachusetts communicated their support for this cause by attending the statewide lobby day. Students from local universities such as Northeastern, Tufts, and UMass Amherst met at Environment Massachusetts and engaged in a number of discussions. There were also presentations by civic and environmental leaders, a press event with James Eldridge, the lead sponsor of the 100% Renewable Energy Act, and meetings with legislators.
Climate Justice at Boston College (CJBC) member Dan McCarthy, MCAS '20, attended the event and commented that it was “extremely motivating” to be part of a large group of students who were actively pushing for legislative change.
“Students were leading the charge in talking with their own representatives, encouraging them to pass several different environmental bills,” said McCarthy.
Aides who supported the initiative gave advice to students on how to more effectively organize their college campuses with regards to the environment.
McCarthy said the event was big step in the right direction. The event had a large amount of students and showed how “our generation can be politically active and stand up.”
CJBC member Alex Singer, MCAS '20, also participated in the lobby day.
"I decided to attend the event because climate change is the biggest problem that our generation will have to deal with—the Department of Defense said it is the largest threat to U.S. national security. I believe it is necessary that we start taking steps to transition to 100% renewable energy in order to deal with this issue," said Singer.
She continued, "In addition, I think it's important to recognize that dealing with climate change is not just an environmental issue, but also a social justice issue. The most marginalized people in our society are the ones most heavily hit by the effects of climate change and environmental degradation."