Our guest blogger is Katie Chin, a student enrolled at the business school of Boston College, and a member of Students for a Just and Stable Future.
I slept in the Cambridge Common Sunday night. Cold, drenched, and hungry, I took the long bus ride Monday morning back to my college dorm carrying two sleeping bags, a tent, and my book bag weighed down from the rain the night before. Exhausted after a twenty-hour day of rallies, campaign planning, tweeting, and lobbying, I returned back to my classes, school job, and normal college life before returning to write about my experience.
Why do I do this? I have no choice. We have no choice. The world is burning.
As part of The Leadership Campaign, I am fighting alongside community partners to create legislation in Massachusetts for 100% clean electricity by 2020. Currently we are pushing the legislature to release An Act to Create a Repower Massachusetts Emergency Task Force so that we can see real change in our energy consumption necessary for fighting climate change. The science is clear: we must act now. This bill will be the first step in preventing the devastations of climate change in Massachusetts while opening up the opportunity for the state to lead the country in the clean electricity sector, inviting investment in the booming green technology field, and boosting our economy at a critical time.
To display the necessity of our legislature’s action, The Leadership Campaign has pioneered the ‘sleep-out’, demonstrating our moral qualms with sleeping in homes powered by dirty electricity by sleeping out across the state, joining together in public spaces in sleeping bags and tents under the stars. Throughout the past six months, hundreds of individuals have been participating in these sleep-outs. The most recent sleep-out took place Sunday on the Cambridge Common, before a day of lobbying on Monday. At the rally before the sleep-out, Martha Pskowski, a freshman at Hampshire College in Western Massachusetts, stated our current situation accurately:
I have good news and bad news. The good news is: It’s up to us. We have the drive, the energy, the imagination, the ingenuity and the determination not to quit that makes history. Combining our forces and forming coalitions we will shape the state of the world in thirty years. The bad news is: It’s going to be extremely hard, it’s going to take everything we’ve got, and powerful interests will be fighting us every step of the way. It’s not going to end with this bill. It’s not going to end with the next one. It’s not going to end until the world is a safe, stable, and just place for all our brothers and sisters.
Martha joined a superstar line-up of speakers, including former Seattle Major Greg Nickels, who founded the US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, leading over 1,000 mayors to adopt Kyoto regulations in their respective cities, and Whit Jones, Deputy Field Director of the Energy Action Coalition, a youth climate action leader. Vice Mayor Henrietta Davis, Representative Will Brownsberger, Cambridge City Council members Leland Cheung, Craig Kelly, Sam Seidel, and Denise Simmons, community organization leaders, and student speakers also spoke at the rally. Monday morning, Dan Proctor, Massachusetts Chapter Chair of the Sierra Club, spoke and lobbied with members of The Leadership Campaign.
Our most important sleep-out of The Leadership Campaign will take place on the Boston Common on April 21st, the eve of Earth Day. As John Beatty, a junior at Harvard University and Boston Campaign Coordinator, said, “We are the cavalry. We need to go out there and be the fire to get this thing done!”
For a list of community partners, policy platform, and how to further participate with The Leadership Campaign, visit our website.