New England Fellows Mobilize for Jobs, Justice & Climate

New England Fellows march for Jobs Justice and Climate

ACE was proud to take part in the Boston march for Jobs, Justice and Climate on December 12, 2015, organized by our partner, Better Future Project.

As the international climate negotiations concluded in Paris, ACE Action Fellows in New England mobilized with over 2,000 people to rally and march for Jobs Justice, and Climate. On a sixty degree day in December, Action Fellows Grace Maddox, Zach Jacques, Brian McDermott, Emily ChanDalia Schneider, Elizabeth Concannon, Gracie Keilen, James Coakley, Liza Sockwell, Alum Peter Diamond and many of their friends, arrived on the Boston Common ready to raise their voices for climate justice.

Throughout the fall semester, the New England Fellows examined not only the science of climate change, but also how climate change connects with ecology, economics, and human rights through its causes, impacts, and solutions.

“Whether it’s racial justice, public health, education, criminal justice, poverty, or economic opportunity, it is linked to climate change.  Climate change makes every other problem we face worse.”

–Action Fellow Brian McDermott

Over 140 organizations signed on to support the march for Jobs, Justice and Climate including social and economic justice groups, faith communities, workers unions, and climate action groups from all over New England. The Fellows experienced marching in solidarity with people who share their vision of a future free from fossil fuels and with equal rights for all people. Action Fellow Brian McDermott shared the youth voice for climate justice with the crowd:

Brian McDermott speaks at Jobs, Justice & Climate rally

This fall, the Fellows also looked closely at the United Nations Climate Climate Change Conference in Paris and took on the roles of negotiators through a simulation game called World Climate. They understand that while the stated goals of the Paris Agreement set an important precedent, the actual pledged emissions cuts are not enough to limit human caused global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

ACE Fellows march for Jobs Justice and Climate in BostonIt is clear that the root cause of climate change is the burning fossil fuels, so it is imperative that we stop burning fossil fuels in order to stop climate change. Unfortunately, the fossil fuel industry has used their wealth and influence to block laws that would limit fossil fuel development because it could impinge upon their profits. By fighting to keep business as usual, they are putting the lives and well-being of billions of people, including future generations, at risk.

Throughout the fall, the New England Fellows have been building skills and confidence to speak up for their future. They testified at a state-house hearing on energy policy and educated the public about fossil fuel divestment.

At the march for Jobs, Justice and Climate, the Fellows carried signs and a banner calling for Massachusetts to Divest from the fossil fuel industry. On the steps of the state-house, Brian McDermott and Liza Sockwell used a megaphone to call out the companies and politicians who support the fossil fuel industry. They explained the immoral choice of putting short term profits over people’s right to livable planet.

“Companies like Shell and BP want to run business as usual. But the reality is we have no time to lose. These companies need to keep 80% of untapped fossil fuels in the ground, and the only way they are going to do that is if we the people pressure them.”

–Action Fellow Liza Sockwell

The Jobs, Justice and Climate rally displayed the power of alliances and the wisdom of intersectional movements. While there is much to learn across cultural and generational divides, the Fellows recognize their own responsibility to lead, to show solidarity through action, and to not sit quietly hoping for someone to hand them a sustainable future. They have learned to be brave enough to stand up, get loud and demand action.