Advertise - Print Edition

Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Finally, a ten-year plan for Massachusetts

Published: September 25, 2009
Section: Opinions

Recycle, reduce. reuse: Putting paper and plastic where they belong<br /><i>PHOTO BY Max Shay/The Hoot</i>

Recycle, reduce. reuse: Putting paper and plastic where they belong
PHOTO BY Max Shay/The Hoot

Although I have no idea where I’ll be in ten years, it comforts me to know that Massachusetts might—at least in terms of its energy use. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts may soon be on a very deliberate 10 year path, thanks in part to the work of Massachusetts Powershift (MAPS), a student led organization of Massachusetts college environmental groups.

MAPS was founded by students in 2007, and is most recently responsible for drafting a state resolution stating that 100 percent clean electricity in Massachusetts is possible by 2019, which was passed by the state legislature in April 2009. The passing of the state resolution is a milestone success because it legitimates the scientific claim that Massachusetts can be fully powered by wind and solar energy; however, as it is not yet a law, it holds no state accountability.

This summer, to channel the power of this resolution into action, 20 college activists from all over the country joined together to bike across Massachusetts and go door-to-door to spread the word on the dire need for climate action and alternative energy. For two months they biked through 43 towns, staying in churches and with kind individuals, and knocked on 70,000 doors- talking to over 35,000 people.

In addition to canvassing and gathering petition signatures, Climate Summer activists led numerous sustainability workshops, using the Awakening the Dreamer curriculum developed by the Pachamama Alliance.

This workshop forges connections between social justice, environmental sustainability and spiritual fulfillment to make climate change more tangible and personal. Massachusetts Climate Summer teams in Western Mass., Cambridge, the North Shore, and on the Cape received local press coverage in over twenty publications, including an article this month in the national YES! Magazine.

Continuing with this form of grassroots campaigning, MAPS has organized a unique statewide campaign this fall gearing up for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen this December. Starting with the International Day of Climate Action on October 24th, college students and residents from over 350 towns in Massachusetts will gather in Boston to show their support for energy reform and clean electricity.

Local environmental groups and college clubs will then continue to promote climate action awareness throughout November and into December, with additional events to gain the attention of the state government.

As future young professionals, this may be the most stable 10 year plan we can ever be a part of. At Brandeis, Students for Environmental Action has signed on to promote this campaign in order to help Massachusetts lead the way in energy reform. Effectively, as Massachusetts residents, we have unprecedented power to call for change because we are the only state to have passed a clean electricity resolution, and are one of few states with proven scientific potential to gain full power from alternative sources.

Students for Environmental Action meets in the SCC Multipurpose Room at 9 p.m. every Wednesday. For more information on the MAPS campaign please visit