So many social and protest movements have been held together by song and story. Woody Guthrie. Joan Baez. Marion Anderson. Is that tradition only a memory? No longer! We're truly lucky to have a new generation of creative activists, with song and a documentary film.
We need to have a process that can bring together citizens, producers of power, experts in community development, and community organizers.
For the process to be effective, several issues must be addressed at the start.
“Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.”
Our survival is at risk. The world is on fire, drowning in flood, thirsty in drought, hungry in famine, devastated by tornadoes. Climate change caused by human activities, mainly from burning of fossil fuel—gas and oil, is threatening all of nature along with our civilization. In Peabody, fossil fuel generators and cars harm our health. Is cheap energy worth the disaster?
What can we do in Peabody to address our share of this world problem? We must focus on eliminating all sources of greenhouse gases— that trap heat in the atmosphere and change the climate. Our use of fossil fuel is harming us now and threatens the future of our grandchildren.
Although the Supervisor of Public Records on reconsideration has denied our request to MMWEC for certain public records about Project 2015A, the Peabody peaker, we are planning to continue our efforts through the Superior Court of the Commonwealth. See G. L. c. 66, § 10(b) (pursuing administrative appeal does not limit the availability of applicable judicial remedies).
How can leaders of Peabody, elected officials, faith leaders, and others with prominence in the community justify the negative impacts on health, the environment, and the climate from the proposed peaker plant?
I presented this document to Peabody Mayor Ted Bettencourt in 2012. That's right, nine years ago. Now compare the ideas of 2012 with the ideas in the letter I just wrote to Mayor Bettencourt, in 2021.
Peabody faces an energy challenge. We now depend largely on carbon-based sources of energy, and these pose major challenges: they are expensive and costs are uncertain, supplies are vulnerable, and the use of fossil fuels threatens society as well as all forms of life through greenhouse gases and global warming. But Peabody can seize the opportunity to transition to renewable sources of energy and save money while reducing harm to the environment.
A legislator with the hindsight to see where we have been and have a vision for where we need to go is rare. One of Representative Sally Kerans’ gifts is the way she integrates what she has learned: MPA from the JFK School of Government, Harvard University; from serving previous terms in the legislature; her life experiences; and her clear visions for the future. The issues she champions are far and wide, but all reflect that integration.
“My grandfather was the first Democrat ever elected to represent Danvers in our State legislature. My parents, from starting the Chess Club at the YMCA, to being president of the Little League, to the Democratic Town Committee, were always involved in the betterment of the town. I guess being civic minded runs in my DNA.”
When we stepped into ‘activist central,’ aka, the Hull home of Judeth Van Hamm, her computer sat on a desk, layers deep with books, articles, papers, art that echoed out into a fully utilized office/living room. Her abundant personal library features books on spirituality sitting next to those on Urban Planning, Solar Transit, and Biodiversity. Judeth is a dedicated climate activist who never separates the physical from the metaphysical, and she is determined to change this world for the better.