WellesleyWeston Magazine


Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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Page 41 of 211

40 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | s p r i n g 2 0 1 6 last spring, members of the Green Ministry Team at the Wellesley Village Church came up with a truly inspired idea. After reading Pope Francis's encyclical letter Laudato Sí: On Care for Our Common Home, they decided it was time to reach out to members of other faith groups in town to organize an interfaith gathering on climate change. The idea took root and evolved into a major event cosponsored by 50 congregations and faith organizations and draw- ing more than 500 people to Temple Beth Elohim last October. The event was titled "Answering the Call: An Interfaith Gathering for Climate Action." The concept was to bring together people of all faiths to respond to the Pope's call to act on the challenge of climate change as an issue of moral imperative and social justice with "a new and universal solidarity." What began as a local event, has grown into the Massachusetts Interfaith Coalition for Climate Action (MAICCA), led by a team of faith and lay leaders, including Wellesley residents Amy Benjamin (Temple Beth Elohim) and Lise Olney (Unitarian Universalists of Wellesley). The coalition has grown to include members of dozens of faith groups, joining together to take collec- tive action to bring about systemic change. With many coal-fired (and nuclear) power plants coming off-line, Massachusetts is at an energy crossroads, poised to make decisions about our energy future that will last for decades to come. MAICCA set about developing priorities for a state energy policy that would reflect Pope Francis's urgent plea to hear "the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor." In November, more than 200 coalition members rallied at the State House for a MAICCA Legislative Action Day to share their vision of a clean and just energy future for Massachusetts. Participants met with their legislators to promote MAICCA's five priorities for energy policy. The priori- ties underscore important environmental and social justice challenges that the coali- tion believes must be addressed: n Lift the caps on solar energy and expand community solar so everyone can benefit from the solar revolution. n Invest in robust off-shore wind develop- ment and develop these resources in communities that are losing jobs as coal- fired plants are closing. n Ensure that energy-efficiency programs are serving all communities in MA by requiring utilities to provide data on the reach of current programs and by strengthening related provisions in the Green Communities Act. n Fix existing natural gas leaks to protect the health and safety of the most affected communities, save money for rate-payers, and stop dangerous methane from leaking into the atmosphere. Wellesley Sprouts a Grassroots Coalition Inspired by Pope Francis [ forum ] P H Y L L I S T H E E R M A N writer

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