Category Archives: Climate

November Climate Champions Update

Climate Champions is a Mass Audubon grassroots volunteer program to advocate for policies that advance nature-based climate solutions. With training from policy experts, Climate Champions advocate for local and state policies that help achieve the state’s goal to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and reverse negative health impacts of climate change for Environmental Justice communities.    

Climate Champion Spotlight: Diane Juhas 

Diane Juhas 

“I decided to become a Climate Champion volunteer because my entire life I’ve been an environmentalist. I love hiking in the spring and fall, kayaking in the summer, and snow shoeing or cross-country skiing in the winter. My family became Mass Audubon members in 2013 and we have learned so much since joining. As a Climate Champion I am connecting with my community to learn how we can advance Massachusetts’ Clean Energy and Climate Plan and what my hometown is already planning. I met with my state representative at the Beacon Hill Lobby Day to advocate for investments in nature and climate. I submitted my recommendations for the CECP to explore and deploy ocean-based carbon removal solutions since MA has a 1,500-mile coastline. Most recently, with other Climate Champions, I have signed up to phone bank to Get out the Vote with the Environmental Voter Project.”   

How It’s Going 

This fall Climate Champions were invited to give input into the development of Mass Audubon’s legislative and policy priorities for the 2023-2024 legislative session. Mass Audubon uses several inputs and criteria to develop and prioritize bills, including:  

  • a topic’s connection to Mass Audubon’s Action Agenda 
  • an effort’s viability and potential impact  
  • our organizational capacity 
  • whether Mass Audubon’s support or opposition can make a difference in outcomes   

These comprise what we call our “theory of change.” The Climate Champions program is an important element of our theory of change, as it is central to thinking about organizational capacity and impact. Our vision is for Climate Champions to represent a dramatic expansion of Mass Audubon’s ability to affect change. 

Last month Climate Champions were briefed on the legislative process and the basics of a few priority issues, then asked to discuss them and offer suggestions. We are now reviewing all the fabulous feedback as we develop a Legislative Agenda for next year. 

In addition to these roundtable discussions, champions have had the opportunity to: 

  • Submit comments on the state’s drafted outline for the MA Clean Energy and Climate Plan. 
  • Sign up with the Environmental Voter Project to make get out the vote phone calls  
  • Recruit Climate Champions in their own communities. 

What’s Next 

Mass Audubon’s Policy and Advocacy staff will be weighing the shifting landscape of climate advocacy after the election on November 8. We hope to celebrate the passage of the Community Preservation Act in the six towns where it’s on the ballot. We look forward to the Governor signing the long-stalled state economic development bill, which passed the Senate and House last week with investments in open space, recreation, ecological restoration, and climate adaptation. 

Climate Champions will have an opportunity to discuss with Mass Audubon’s policy experts the impacts of the mid-term election on Massachusetts climate advocacy. In addition, champions will be participating in trainings and workshops on recruiting Climate Champions in their own communities. 

Learn More 

Everyone can be a Climate Champion, no matter your time constraints or experience level! Find out more and sign up > 

Climate Champions

Climate Champions Fall Update

This spring, we launched Climate Champions, a grassroots network of volunteers working together to speak with one collective, powerful voice. With training from policy experts, Climate Champions help advocate for town and state policies that help achieve the state’s goal to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and reverse negative health impacts of climate change for environmental justice communities.   

pic of the state house and a sign in front that says change

How It’s Going

Under the leadership of Community Organizer Heather Packard, we now have 300 Climate Champions signed up and taking action. These champions are all ages and have all levels of experience.

Their first initiative was a June Beacon Hill Lobby Day, where 13 legislators met with groups of champions in person and virtually to find out why we believe it is so important to fund nature-based climate solutions.

June 22 Lobby Day at the State House after meeting with Senator Cyr’s staff. From left: Robert Cohen, Joyce Cohen, Danielle Dolan, Jared Kannel, Carrie Hawthorne, and Heather Packard

Champions also have the opportunity to attend trainings and meet monthly with other Climate Champions in their region as well as statewide monthly calls to learn from Mass Audubon Policy & Advocacy Leadership. For those who couldn’t attend, all meetings are recorded and can be watched anytime!

Each statewide monthly call always has one advocacy action everyone can take to make an impact. So far champions have had the opportunity to:

  • Provide comments to MA Dept of Energy Resources (DOER) speaking up in support of letting cities and towns require fossil-fuel free construction  
  • Weigh in with state Senators to urge them to support investments in open space, recreation, ecological restoration, and climate adaptation in the Economic Development bill. 
  • Create Twitter accounts in preparation for future Action Alerts to state legislators. 
  • Urge the governor to ask him to sign the Climate Bill that would ramp up clean energy production and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. 

What’s Next

Mass Audubon Policy & Advocacy staff are in the process of developing the organization’s legislative and policy priorities for the 2023-2024 legislative session, which runs from January 2023 through the end of July 2024. 

We’re seeking input from all Climate Champions (current and future) on these priorities getting input from all Climate Champions on our state Legislative Priorities for the next session.  

This month, our focus is on getting input on local climate issues and projects for the next year as well as encouraging everyone to vote in collaboration with The Environmental Voter Project. We will also offer a training on how and where to recruit for more Climate Champions. 

Learn More

Everyone can be a Climate Champion–whether you have no time and a lot of experience, or lots of time and no experience, or somewhere in the middle.

Find out more and sign up >