Fresh air does wonders in politics

Green Grassroots Effort
By SARA FAITH ALTERMAN  |  November 13, 2008

081114_flowers_main

Overwhelming local support for a nonbinding ballot initiative indicates that a push for a greener future may have legs.

On November 4, the "Secure Green Future" initiative that appeared on ballots in 11 Massachusetts House districts proposed legislation that would phase out tax incentives for energy-gobbling projects, reward small businesses that practice energy conservation, and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions in Massachusetts by 80 percent by the year 2020. Out of the nearly 200,000 votes cast for the initiative, 81.4 percent were "yes" votes.

"It's certainly possible to make these reductions by 2020," says Eli Beckerman, the communications director for the Massachusetts Green-Rainbow Party. "It's becoming clearer and clearer that it's necessary. But how can we make that a political reality? We're trying to change the conversation about the level of urgency."

"I think it's really exciting to see how strongly the public wants to move forward on the economy and, at the same time, to really preclude the climate and the fuel catastrophes that are waiting in the wings," says Jill Stein, a board member on the Committee for a Secure Green Future. "This was not a big-budget item. Our total expenses came in the range of $1000. There was really a diffused network of people here, working on the strength of their convictions, and their interest at the community level at solving the economy."

Nonbinding ballot initiatives are often used by organizations to galvanize voters; election results from these initiatives also can serve as leverage when lobbying for particular legislation, which is part of the Committee for a Secure Green Future's game plan. They hope to prompt lawmakers to focus on a greener local economy, with emphasis on increased local food and fuel production.

"We can have a continued dialogue with our elected officials, because now we can really drive home that there is public support," says Stein. "We characterize this as a triple win: a green economic stimulus package, an insurance policy against the shock waves to the economy and the environment, and it's also a prevention policy — prevention against chaos."

The committee is soliciting a statewide petition — viewable on securegreenfuture.org — to Massachusetts citizens who didn't vote on the nonbinding initiative.

  Topics: This Just In , Elections and Voting, Politics, Referenda,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY SARA FAITH ALTERMAN
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   INTERVIEW: ANDY RICHTER  |  November 25, 2009
    We have a chub for Andy Barker, P.I. (just released out on DVD), because we have a major chub for the show’s star, Andy Richter. Richter plays an accountant who is mistaken for a detective-for-hire and decides to just roll with it. 
  •   REVIEW: SPREAD  |  August 19, 2009
    If only there were some way to watch a con-artist houseboy give his cougar sugar mama a squirming reach-around, charm the pants off a candy-necklace string of countless empty-eyed Hollywood stick figures, lose his heart to an untouchable social chameleon, and, in the process, find himself .
  •   NORTHERN EXPOSURE  |  July 29, 2009
    While New York is grittier, Los Angeles juicier, and Boston is wicked smahter, for some odd reason it is Montreal that, for two weeks every summer, becomes the epicenter of the comedy universe.
  •   JUST FOR LAUGHS  |  July 27, 2009
    Blogs, Tweets, and comedy video direct from moose country
  •   BEAT THE TWEET  |  July 22, 2009
    Warm weather is supposed to be accessorized by lackaday, by a breezy sensibility best enjoyed with a frosty tall boy in one hand, the sloppy product of a back-yard barbecue in the other. Instead, I find myself struggling to balance my beer between my knees and my overstocked paper plate on my thigh as I furiously poke at my BlackBerry.

 See all articles by: SARA FAITH ALTERMAN