On Monday, March 31, hundreds of students, including some members of BC Fossil Free, walked out of class and headed to the Boston Common to advocate for a ban on any new fossil fuel infrastructure. The students also wrote a letter to Governor Deval Patrick asking to meet them there so they could discuss their goals for environmental policy in the state.
The walk-out was arranged by Students for a Just and Stable Future, a group of students and young activists working to combat climate change.
“The energy infrastructure built today will affect our entire lives, and we insist that these decisions not be made without our involvement,” reads the letter. “We are driven to this action by the desperation we feel as we see the impacts of political inaction on the climate crisis”.
Governor Patrick has been considered a leader in the fight against global warming for a long time. In 2012, he won the “Green Governor of the Year Award." Massachusetts was also ranked the most energy efficient state in 2010 and 2012, and is the first state to have an offshore wind farm, Cape Wind, which is located in the Nantucket Sound.
On their website, the students acknowledge Patrick’s past efforts, but state the need for him and other leaders to do more. “Building more power plants, pipelines, and export terminals in Massachusetts will result in either billions of dollars of stranded assets or the creation of a society destabilized by unpredictable weather, food and water shortages, and extreme climate disasters. In either case, our generation will pay a heavy price,” they wrote.
The protestors gathered outside the State House with signs, chanting for Governor Patrick. Speakers took turns explaining why a ban on new fossil fuel infrastructure was important.
Patrick never came outside the State House during the protest and has not commented on it yet publicly. However, after less than half an hour following the protest, Patrick promised the organizers a meeting within the next two weeks.
Students have been a big part of the green movement. On campuses across the country, students have worked to improve recycling, spread awareness and encourage legislation that would protect the environment.
Here at Boston College, the BC Fossil Free club has worked hard to get BC to divest from fossil fuels, an idea which the administration and UGBC have opposed.
Last week, two members of BC Fossil Free debated the current vice president of UGBC and another student over the issue of divestment. While both sides argued passionately, students remain split on the issue.