New Haven Climate Movement’s Electric Future Campaign

by Alex Murphy, NH Climate Movement

Multiple new and successful building projects—including the Hotel Marcel (named for Marcel Breuer’s brutalist architecture) and The Elm—have recently been completed in New Haven and point to the coming transition from fossil fuel to electric-based energy. These projects represent the idea of an “electric future,” and we as a community need to be implementing the same electric technology for everyday life—in our homes and cars—as well.

The New Haven Electric Future campaign is encouraging the transition away from fossil fuels to a community solely reliant on electricity—from electric cars to electric buildings—to reduce emissions, air pollution and noise, and to increase efficient energy use. Doing so is necessary for the health of the planet and our own.

A multitude of modern equipment continues to run on inefficient and unhealthy natural gas. Gas-powered technology—such as gas stoves and gas-powered cars—is everywhere, and many are unaware of the risks such devices pose. In order to reduce emissions, we need to switch as many systems as possible away from gas and onto the Connecticut grid, which continues to include more renewable energy sources. Zero-carbon and nuclear resources now make up nearly 65% of the electricity consumed, and that percentage is expected to increase to 91% by 2025. Electrification just makes sense.

Electrification is possible in any community that is committed to change, and early strides towards an electric future can serve as a framework for other locations. The recent passing of an electrification resolution by the Board of Alders in March of 2021 demonstrates an existent commitment to an electric future in New Haven, and it is the hope of the New Haven Climate Movement that prompt action in our community will serve as a guide.

What can I do? Share what you know with your family, friends, co-workers, landlords, and the like. Those in charge of energy allotment also need to know that electrical energy is the future, so share your concern with local elected officials and CT government members. The wide benefit that an electric future can bring to New Haven within the next few years is truly something to get excited about.

For more information, email us at newhavenclimatemovement@gmail.com. Our website is www.newhavenclimatemovement.org.

Connecticut Activists Rally in Solidarity with Ukrainian Victims of the Russian Invasion

by Erwin Freed, Socialist Resurgence, March 8, 2022

[Below is an excerpt from the article, which can be read in its entirety at socialistresurgence.org/2022/03/08/connecticut-activists-rally-in-solidarity-with-ukrainian-victims-of-the-russian-invasion].

Responding to an international call initiated by major antiwar groups, activists in Connecticut organized an emergency protest at the Federal Court Building in New Haven in solidarity with Ukrainian victims of the ongoing Russian invasion on March 6. The main slogans of the international call, initiated by Code Pink and two British antiwar coalitions, were “Stop the War in Ukraine! Russian Troops Out! No to NATO expansion!” The international call also opposed U.S./EU sanctions against Russia, which are a way of waging war by economic means, and demanding opening borders to refugees.

Endorsers of the Sunday action included Unidad Latina en Acción, New Era Young Lords, Promoting Enduring Peace, Mending Minyon, 350CT, International Marxist Tendency (Socialist Revolution), Socialist Resurgence, and a number of individual members of local clergy, labor, and other social movement groups. The protest was quickly organized on an emergency basis in a collaborative manner with much collective discussion on slogans, speakers, and building activities by activists from endorsing groups. Despite the limited time to build the action and bad weather conditions, over 100 people showed up to listen to a broad range of speakers, to stand in solidarity with Ukrainians struggling against Russian occupation and against U.S./NATO intervention.

Speakers at the demonstration connected the war on Ukraine and mounting inter-imperialist militarism with a diverse range of different local and international issues. Stanley Heller of Promoting Enduring Peace kicked off the rally by denouncing the Russian invasion and calling for international solidarity for the Ukrainian people and Russian antiwar activists, as well as victims of imperialist violence in Syria and Yemen.

Melinda Tuhus, speaking on behalf of 350 Connecticut, spoke about the devastating human and environmental cost of militarism. Melinda pointed out how “the war in Ukraine highlights dirty energy’s role in destabilizing our geopolitics,” giving specific examples of how the war and responses by various countries and companies have horrific implications for the environment. This includes a planned increase in liquified natural gas by the United States, a type of fuel whose production releases methane emissions, which are 100 times worse for the climate than CO2. She pointed out that “militaries around the world, with the U.S. far in the lead, consume massive amounts of oil and gas” and that the U.S. military’s almost $800 billion budget should be converted to human needs.
Nika Zarazvand, a local Iranian activist involved with many struggles for justice, spoke about the devastating effects of sanctions for working and oppressed people. She mentioned her own experience: “As an immigrant from Iran, I am used to people not knowing anything about my country other than the talking points of sanctions and nuclear weapons.” She continued that her family members in Iran were unable to access COVID vaccines, PPE, and health care due to the crippling unilateral sanctions on Iran. In the U.S., Nika’s family members “are interrogated for over two hours at their own bank … because they send money to Iranian medical students in Ukraine.”

Connecticut Must Oppose Israeli Apartheid

by Shelly Altman, Jewish Voice for Peace, New Haven

This is an excerpt from a viewpoint published in the CT Mirror on March 2, 2022. The entire article can be read at ctmirror.org/2022/03/02/connecticut-must-oppose-israeli-apartheid-shelly.

In 1982, Connecticut took the lead among states to be on the right side of history by passing legislation requiring divestiture from South Africa for its practice of apartheid.

In February, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont and University of Connecticut President Radenka Maric led a delegation to Israel, seeking to strike deals with Israeli businesses to locate in Connecticut. Lamont says “Israel is a perfect fit because they are the leading innovators in life sciences, biotech and the defense industry — all the groups that we’re bringing over.” The Israeli defense industry has for years used Gaza and the West Bank as testing grounds for weapon and surveillance technology.

On Feb. 1, Amnesty International released a report based on four years of field research, concluding that Israel maintains a “system of oppression and domination over Palestinians” which “amounts to apartheid.” The crime against humanity of apartheid under international law is committed when serious human rights violations are perpetrated in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over another, with the intention to maintain that system.

Some Israeli and American politicians and organizations have been quick to label the Amnesty International report as “false” and “antisemitic.” Middle East scholar Jennifer Lowenstein reports on the frequent charge of antisemitism against any criticism of Israel, noting “it is easier to shout at, label, condemn, and discredit the bearers of the message than to rebut the facts.”

Israeli journalist Gideon Levy questions the critics. Levy asks “What, precisely, is incorrect in the apartheid report?… Does Israel not maintain a regime of oppression and control of Palestinians in Israel and in the occupied territories for the benefit of Israeli Jews? Is the nation-state law not apartheid? Is there a single sphere, in Israel or the territories, in which there is true, absolute equality, except in name?”

In ignoring Israel’s well-documented practice of apartheid, Governor Lamont, UConn President Maric and their delegations are on the wrong side of history. It’s a disservice to the students of UConn to promote work/study opportunities in an apartheid state. It’s a stain on Connecticut’s name to seek out this partnership.

Park Case Question: Might Trees Remain Standing?

by Thomas Breen, New Haven Independent, March 10, 2022

Maybe the developer will build around the trees?

A city-hired attorney offered that defense in state court during the latest hearing about whether or not New Haven violated a state environmental law by agreeing to sell a Dwight public greenspace.

That’s the latest in the ongoing case Friends of Kensington Playground v. City of New Haven.

Parks group attorney Keith Ainsworth and city-hired attorney Nancy Valentino duked it out, legally speaking, before state Superior Court Judge James Abrams during a live-streamed virtual hearing on the city’s motion to strike a key part of the underlying lawsuit.

Abrams did not issue a ruling during Wednesday’s hearing itself; he is expected to submit a written order on the matter soon.

The state court case dates back to November 2020, when a group of Dwight open-space advocates filed a lawsuit looking to stop the city from selling a 0.67-acre park on Kensington Street for $1 to The Community Builders (TCB).
The Boston-based developer plans to build 15 new affordable apartments atop the public greenspace as part of TCB’s $30 million Phase 2 redevelopment of the adjacent Kensington Square apartment complex. The city in turn has agreed to set aside new public parkland in Newhallville, while TCB must invest $80,000 in improvements at the nearby city-owned Day Street Park.

In June 2021, a state judge threw out half of the park advocates lawsuit after agreeing with the city that Dwight resident Patricia Wallace and the park friends group do not have legal standing to sue the city under a state law that limits how municipalities may “take” open space.

That left only one legal allegation remaining in the parks group’s bid to stop the city from handing over the park to the housing builder.

That allegation — that the city’s park-transfer approval violates the Connecticut Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), or Connecticut General Statutes § 22a-16 — was at the center of Wednesday’s hearing.

Valentino kicked off the hearing by making the case for the city’s motion to strike from October 2021.

CEPA allows someone to sue the state or a municipality “for the protection of the public trust in the air, water and other natural resources of the state from unreasonable pollution, impairment or destruction,” she said, quoting the law itself.

[Read the whole article at www.newhavenindependent.org/article/kensington_park_lawsuit]

Proposed Dirty Power Plant in Killingly Defeated!

by Samantha Dynowski, State Director, Sierra Club Connecticut

Now it’s time for a clean electricity future for all. Climate activists around Connecticut have news to celebrate. After six years of opposition – protests, press conferences, public hearings, legal battles and more – the proposal for a 650-megawatt dirty power plant in Killingly appears to have finally been defeated.
Connecticut has become a hub for dirty energy; having built more than 40 fossil fuel power plants since 1998, our state now hosts 54 fossil fuel power plants. Connecticut only uses about 73% of the energy produced. Environmental justice communities bear the disproportionate burden of air pollution from these large fossil power plants. So we did not want or need another dirty power plant.
Over the years, dozens of local and state organizations and thousands of residents organized against the proposed power plant in Killingly which would have emitted up to 2.2 million tons of carbon a year and further degraded local air quality in northeastern Connecticut. The climate, environmental justice, and local health concerns of this power plant have been a rallying cry.

On Jan. 4, 2022, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the request of grid operator ISO-New England to terminate its contract for power from the plant. The developer appealed this decision, but in February, in the midst of that appeal, the regional grid operator, ISO-NE, communicated that the developer of the Killingly power plant had failed to meet its financial obligations to participate in New England’s energy grid auction.

Thank you to everyone who spoke up in opposition! Your advocacy made a difference.

Now that the threat of this power plant is behind our state, it is time to reflect on what we learned and advocate for changes to ensure Connecticut can really and truly and equitably move to a clean energy future. Connecticut now needs to put policies in place to protect environmental justice communities from disproportionate exposure to air pollution, to require our state agency decisions to align with the state’s mandatory greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, and to equitably ramp up energy efficiency, and clean and renewable power.
Onward!

Find Sierra Club Connecticut online at connecticut.sierraclub.org.

Planning for May Day Has Begun!

by Rosalba Montoya Gaviria and John Lugo, ULA

Unidad Latina en Acción is preparing for May 1st (International Workers Day) and we want to count on each one of you. Current plans include a march starting from the New Haven Green at noon and a 4 p.m. rally at Yale. This is a statewide event. There is a connection between immigration reform and the climate emergency, which creates refugees and draws people to the U.S. because they are displaced due to their activism in their own countries. Change comes only when the people force politicians to do the right thing.

For anyone wishing to be part of May Day planning, email melinda.tuhus@gmail.com and put “MAY DAY” in the subject line. Please join our meetings Saturdays at 3 p.m. and Mondays at 7 p.m. at New Haven Peoples Center, 37 Howe St. and on Zoom: us02web.zoom.us/j/78915076091

Thanks again for all your help, United We Are Stronger!

Rosalba Montoya Gaviria
203-981-4023

A Community Unity Dialogue Page

by Frank Panzarella, PAR Committee

The PAR Newsletter has always had, as its mission, the bringing together of activists by sharing reports of the events and ongoing work of groups to build a progressive community.

Sometimes we have received articles that are more like critiques of controversial issues that are important to particular groups but tended to emphasize differences within the progressive and broader community.

As we tend to focus on community unity and building a broad progressive constituency, we have rejected such articles and asked groups to send reports that show what groups are doing.

We recognize that within activist circles and the broader population there are many complex issues that can sometimes divide us and that require ongoing dialogue.

In this spirit, we would like to present a dialogue page in the PAR newsletter that will act as a place for groups to express differing views on controversial issues.

We would like this to be a page where groups focus specifically on their own positions on these issues, points of possible unity with others, and not as a place to criticize other groups or individuals with whom they disagree.

As an example, some activists see police violence as a reason to defund the police departments and to completely change the nature of “policing.” Others in our community feel the police are still necessary and look to other reforms. Discussions of such issues may help people find common ground and programmatic unity to further the causes dear to our hearts or at least to clarify differences.

Other examples, for instance, are the strong differing views on the war in Ukraine or the differing views on political violence in Syria.

We hope organizations will take up this offer and contact us with issues they would like to see on the dialogue page. The PAR committee looks forward to providing a forum for all to sort out controversial issues and build a stronger progressive family.

The PAR Mission: To inform the greater New Haven community about the activities of many progressive groups, so that people may learn about them and become involved in discussions and actions on issues for the common good, such as peace, health, racial equity, justice, clean energy and the environment.

The Rochdale Co-op Is Accepting Applications for Membership (Elm Street)

The Rochdale Co-op has been providing affordable housing in downtown New Haven since 1947. We are a democratically-run and diverse community that relies on the active participation of our members. We strive to be a supportive, fun, and ecologically-responsible place to live. We appreciate your interest in becoming a member of the Rochdale Co-op. The Rochdale Co-op has an average of 12-13 members, and provides a cooperative living environment (private bedrooms, shared kitchen, bathrooms, common areas, house meetings and duties).

We are a diverse community and value our diversity. The Rochdale Co-op does not discriminate against applicants on the basis of race, color, family status, ethnicity, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, religious background or religious affiliation.

Application and more information can be found on Craig’s List New Haven  — search for Rochdale.

https://newhaven.craigslist.org/roo/d/the-rochdale-coop-is-accepting/7449021841.html

How COVID Has Affected Personal Lives of Low-Income New Haveners

by Alana Rosenberg, Justice, Housing and Health Study

The Justice, Housing and Health Study team conducted a survey to capture the experience of life during the COVID pandemic. This community report is based on responses to the COVID survey taken between December 2020 and June 2021. 259 participants completed the survey. For many communities, COVID has exacerbated economic and housing instability. Throughout the pandemic, federal and state governments have dedicated massive amounts of resources, for extended periods of time, to U.S. citizens.

Policies were also passed to protect people from the virus and the economic repercussions of the pandemic. The JustHouHS COVID survey asked questions about participants’ experiences with COVID and the policies meant to help people better cope with its impacts.

This Winter 2022 report begins by describing how COVID affected the personal lives and social networks of participants. It then documents what criminal justice involvement looked like for participants during the pandemic. It also explores the economic burdens the pandemic placed on participants and their access to financial and other resources. Lastly, the report describes how JustHouHS participants’ housing situations changed with COVID.

As the pandemic continues, we hope this report helps policymakers and community stakeholders understand the vulnerability of low-income residents who continue to endure, inequitably, the negative consequences of the virus on health and wellbeing.

Website: https://www.american.edu/cas/social-justice-lab/justhouhs.cfm
Winter 2022 report: www.american.edu/cas/social-justice-lab/upload/covid-community-report-winter-2022.pdf.

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