As Our Climate Massachusetts gears up for a Fall full of testifying at hearings that will culminate in a largest ever lobby event next January, it can help to look back on how we build momentum. Like that time we casually took over the afternoon programming of a multi-school conference and turned it into a lobby day.
On May 21st just under 200 students from seven schools across eastern Massachusetts gathered virtually for a Humanities Lobby Day workshop, hosted by Milton Academy. While Our Climate was invited as speakers, we suggested instead that we teach everyone how to speak to their legislators about climate solutions. Then we invited 11 legislators to join us. Most. Impactful. Fieldtrip. Ever.
We engaged students and legislators alike with three bills from the Massachusetts Youth Climate Coalition’s Policy Priorities, a list widely supported across over 20 youth-led organization members. Within an 1.5 hours we had young people who had never lobbied before in conversations with their state legislators about air quality in environmental justice communities (H.2230), ambitious climate emissions targets (H.3292), and interdisciplinary climate education (H.614).
The logistics of an event like this were complex and so we did plenty of pre-work. These conversations were led by experienced young lobbyists who we trained before the event. While the preparation period was brief the lobby meetings ran smoothly.
Or mostly. Alice Fan, a facilitator of one of the meetings, recalled that her group of students ended up meeting with Justin Curtis, Senator Finegold’s legislative director, instead of the Senator himself. But Alice’s group worked the situation and sent Curtis off with a list of specific questions for the Senator and a promise to follow up.
Convincing legislators to support climate action is a continuous process. That’s why these little touches throughout the Massachusetts 1.5 year session are important. We hope to see the impact on February 2, 2022 when Committees must recommend bills from committee.
Please RSVP for our lobby week from January 24-26, 2022 to help us motivate our legislators to pass climate policy! The event occurs on zoom with training followed by legislator meetings throughout the rest of the week according to legislator and student availability. We hope you join us in advocating for climate justice!