CT Environmental Rights Amendment Featured at Climate March in Hartford Feb. 2

by Kimberly Stoner, Director of Advocacy, CT NOFA

On Friday, Feb. 2, about 200 people from over 20 organizations marched in Hartford to demand immediate action on climate change by the state legislature, the Lamont administration, and utility and insurance companies in the state. The theme of the march was “Keep CT’s Climate Promise.”

There’s a lot to do. In the Global Warming Solutions Act, Connecticut promised by 2050 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 80% below levels in 2001. We would have to make some dramatic reductions in the next 26 years to meet that goal — and given the rate of climate change, that goal may not be enough. Indeed, one of the demands of the march was to set a more difficult target of reaching net zero greenhouse gases by 2050.

Kimberly Stoner photo

The CT Environmental Rights Amendment was one of the key demands. This amendment to the state constitution would include a safe and stable climate among the human rights of the people of Connecticut, along with clean and healthy air, water, soil, ecosystems, and environment, and would safeguard those rights for present and future generations. Right now, we are calling on the co-chairs of a key committee of the state legislature to bring this amendment forward in the coming legislative session. You can sign a petition at https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/we-want-our-right-to-a-healthy-environment-in-the-ct-constitution.

A great opportunity is coming up to learn more about the CT Environmental Rights Amendment, and to hear about how similar provisions in state constitutions in other states have asserted the human right to a livable environment! Maya van Rossum, the national leader of the movement to put environmental rights into state constitutions, will be the keynote speaker at the winter conference of CT NOFA coming up in March.

There was a broad range of other demands to the CT General Assembly in addition to the CT Environmental Rights Amendment:

  • Setting a target of net zero greenhouse gases by 2050, along with subtargets for electricity generation, transportation, and other uses,
  • Increasing funding for energy efficiency,
  • Rapidly increasing solar energy, battery storage, and clean heat through heat pumps, and
  • Rapidly reducing greenhouse gases from transportation by adopting advanced standards for clean cars and trucks.

When we arrived at the Capitol, state legislators, including State Rep. Joe Gresko from Stratford, co-chair of the Environment Committee, pledged to include many of these demands in a bill they are developing, to be numbered House Bill 5004. It has not yet been introduced, but when it is, all of our organizations will be watching closely to see if the state legislators are ready to meet the urgency of the moment.

Rock to Rock Earth Day Ride Supports Twenty Local Environmental Projects April 27

by Chris Schweitzer, New Haven Climate Movement

Rock to Rock is moving ahead for this spring, working with over 20 partner organizations to take real action in response to the climate emergency, and raise critical support for local environmental organizations.

2024 bicycle rides include 5, 12, 20, 40, 60-mile, and two Family Rides in East Rock Park, plus hikes in East Rock Park and West Rock Park.

Join the fun Saturday, April 27. All rides start and end at East Rock Park, with a Green Fair, live music and food trucks.

Register at rocktorock.org.

CT NOFA Winter Conference on Gardening, Farming, Land Care, and Advocacy

by Kimberly Stoner, Director of Advocacy, CT NOFA

The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Connecticut (CT NOFA) is proud to present our 42nd Winter Conference, featuring a series of virtual workshops on March 20–21 in the lead-up to our full day, in-person gathering and celebration on March 23, 2024, at Eastern Connecticut State University, in partnership with their Institute of Sustainability.

Among the workshops in the virtual schedule on March 20:

  • New Haven’s own Lori Martin of Haven’s Harvest will present a workshop on a “new model for food systems” to get food to the people and not into the waste stream,
  • Ana Legrand on “Insect Pest Management When Transitioning to Organic Production,”
  • Anne Hulick of Clean Water Action on “PFAS Contamination in CT and What Can Be Done.”
    And among the workshops virtually on March 21:
  • “A Beginner’s Guide to Funding Opportunities with the CT Dept. of Agriculture, UConn Extension, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Farm Services Agency,”
  • Yonghao Li of the CT Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven will present “Biological and Organic Control of Plant Diseases,”
  • Kip Kolesinskas on “Creating a Climate Adaptation Plan for Your Farm or Garden.”

On the big day, in person on March 23, the keynote speaker will be Maya van Rossum, the Delaware Riverkeeeper and national leader of the movement to get Green Amendments into the constitution of every state and eventually into the US Constitution. And there will be an abundance of workshops all day, including starting a community farm, sustainable cannabis and hemp production, making quality compost with New Haven’s Domingo Medina, and bridging community and diversity with experiential farming programs with New Haven’s Nadine Nelson.

One ticket will get you into all three days of workshops, plus lunch on Saturday, and a great opportunity to gather with people from across the state who love the Earth.

Registration is open! Get your tickets at this website: https://ctnofa.org/winter-conference/2024-winter-conference.

Stop the Mountain Valley Pipeline—You Can Help Right a Wrong

by Melinda Tuhus, local environmental activist

The time is long past to be building more methane gas pipelines. The clean energy future is here. But thanks to Bank of America, construction continues on the Mountain Valley fracked gas pipeline (MVP), which stretches 303 miles through West Virginia and Virginia and would carry 2 billion cubic feet of gas per day if completed. Last spring Congress, at the insistence of West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, included a section in the debt ceiling bill requiring that the MVP be completed, overriding many judicial and regulatory decisions that had left it almost dead. Local people along the route have been fighting it for 8 years, and the terrain itself has presented so far insurmountable obstacles.

Bob Congdon photo

It is poised to cross the Appalachian Trail, the iconic 2,193-mile Georgia to Maine hiking trail that is a national park. It is a danger to residents due to destruction of land, contamination of air and water, and, if completed, due to leaks and potential explosions – and to everyone due to its climate emissions.

Bank of America is one of the biggest funders of the MVP, to the tune of $1.5 billion. Please contact CEO Brian Moynihan at Twitter: @BankofAmerica, Instagram: @BankofAmerica, and [email protected] to call on BofA to stop funding the pipeline. If you’re a customer, consider closing your account and going to a local or regional bank or a credit union like Connex.

Another thing you can do — sign a petition to make MVP stop polluting the waters where it’s building the pipeline: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/old-folks-demand-virginia-ag-hold-mvp-accountable?source=direct_ link&

On Jan. 31, two dozen people protested in front of the Bank of America branch at 157 Church Street, and demanded that it stop funding the MVP. We were joined by Maury Johnson, a retired West Virginia educator and an organic farmer, whose land was ruined when MVP, LLC took it by eminent domain to run the pipeline across it. Maury is a fierce pipeline fighter and gave an update on the fight.

And we were appalled to learn right after our rally that Bank of America has reversed its pledge to no longer fund coal projects or projects in the Arctic, which is melting four times faster than the earth as a whole. We urge Bank of America to come over to the right side of history.

For more info: [email protected], 203-623-2186.

PACE Green Energy News

News and events for advocates of clean energy, energy efficiency and climate action at the state and local levels, focusing on Connecticut. Brought to you by People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE), www.pacecleanergy.org.

Connecticut’s failure to act on climate hurts in more ways than one. CT Mirror. “In my conversations with other young activists, it has long been abundantly clear that we know and care — acutely, often painfully — about these issues, and that we’re actively seeking ways to change them. Yet despite all of our action and concern, we’re often unsure if elected officials, in their inaction, care nearly as much. It’s for this reason…that I’ve witnessed the greatest shifts towards hopelessness in my few years as a young advocate. It comes from feeling like despite our megaphones, we’re speaking to a brick wall; it comes when we watch climate legislation like the Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI) used as take-it-or-leave-it bargaining chips or punted by leaders at the drop of a hat when the political stars no longer align, rather than built upon and improved as the critical climate measures we need. Plainly, it comes when young people exhaust their capacity to yell.”

Study: Business lobbying a major barrier to clean energy legislation in Connecticut  Energy News Network. “Brown University researchers found that utility and business interests outspend environmental organizations on lobbying 8-to-1, though an industry group says the study overstates its spending and influence on energy…’Environmental groups and ordinary citizens will never have the money or resources to match what Ever-source and the CBIA spend to influence lawmakers. But broad majorities of Americans see climate change as a serious problem and are demanding action from their elected leaders. So the real power is at the polls.’ ”

New England’s power system is at ‘heightened risk’ heading into winter.  Hartford Courant. “If the risks materialize and threaten the reliability of New England’s power system, the ISO said it will turn to several operating procedures to manage the grid, “up to and including controlled power outages.” Outages are a “last resort,” the ISO said. It wants to “educate the public that if this step were required, it would be used to protect the region’s power grid from an overall collapse.”…the ISO will urge conservation, asking customers to “turn down the thermostat, use appliances less frequently and minimize cooking.”

Greater New Haven Green Fund Now Accepting Grant Applications

by Lynne Bonnett, Greater New Haven Green Fund

Have an idea to help your communities become more sustainable, reduce environmental pollution, engage your neighbors in positive projects that make our communities better places to live?

Let us know what your interests are. We are here to help you.

Check out our application process on our website: www.gnhgreenfund.org. Have questions? Email us at [email protected].

The application is online. You can learn all about it on our website; click on the APPLY button on our home page: www.gnhgreenfund.org.

Best of luck to everyone. You can also view the past projects we funded under the grants section in the
navigation bar—especially our nice story map.

The application period is open until Friday, Feb. 2, 2024, so you have plenty of time, but don’t wait until the last moment to apply. We’re here to help.

Updates from the Movement for the CT Environmental Rights Amendment

Kim Stoner, CT Environmental Rights Amendment Alliance

Big news! The lawsuit in Montana, where a group of young people established their right to a stable climate, based on the environmental rights in the Montana state constitution, drew attention to the power of constitutional environmental rights across the country and here in CT.

Most important action you can take now: Sign our petition to key state legislators to move the CT Environmental Rights Amendment forward in the coming session: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/we-want-our-right-to-a-healthy-environment-in-the-ct-constitution.

We already have more than 300 signatures!

Wed., Nov. 1, 4 p.m. Want to get more deeply involved? We are offering a training webinar, “Get Up to Speed to Lead, Part 1.” Register at ct-era.org/events/ct-environmental-rights-amendment-virtual-training.

Kim Stoner had an opportunity to talk over the Held v. Montana case with Paul Bass of the New Haven Independent and WNHH radio. You can find the interview here: https://ctnofa.org/dr-kimberly-stoner-interviewed-on-wnhh-fms-dateline-new-haven.

The national movement had a great webinar with legal experts on constitutional rights and environmental justice. Ready for a deep dive? See the recording on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NASBpfok0AM.

Thanks to Eluned Li, we now have our own state website. Check it out: https://www.ct-era.org/.

Campaign for Environmental Rights Amendment

Rachel Heerema, CT Environmental Rights Amendment Alliance

The CT Environmental Rights Amendment campaign is ramping up! We are working to add individual rights to the CT state constitution for everyone to clean and healthy air, water, soil, and environment; a stable and safe climate; and self-sustaining ecosystems.

Sign our petition here:  https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/we-want-our-right-to-a-healthy-environment-in-the-ct-constitution.

Register for a national training on Oct. 4, “Securing Climate Justice Through Green Amendments: the Held v. Montana Victory & What It Means for the Nationwide Movement”: register at bit.ly/HeldvMTgreen.

And save the date for the November 1 Connecticut-based training — signing the petition will add you to our email list.
Please visit our Facebook page for more information: https://www.facebook.com/CTEnvironmentalRights.

Latest Legislative News from CT Green Energy News

Legislative Republicans Seek to Hit the Brakes on Implementing California EV Regulations

CT News Junkie. ​”Legislative Republicans called Wednesday for the reversal of proposed regulations that would require all new vehicles to be electric by 2035 as a result of a state law tying Connecticut’s emissions standards to those of California…they argued that electric vehicles were too expensive for many consumers and voiced concerns that Connecticut lacked the infrastructure and energy to support a mandated transition to electric vehicles.

Massive Turbines Arrive at New London State Pier, and About 3 Dozen Assembly Jobs

CT Examiner. “Twelve 318-foot blades are waiting to be unloaded from a cargo ship in the Thames River. They will soon arrive at State Pier, where they’ll be assembled into turbines and shipped out to sea to the first utility-scale offshore wind farm in the country…The 12 blades – more than twice as tall as the Gold Star Bridge – will outfit four of the 12 turbines that will make up South Fork Wind. Two more shipments of blades will follow in the fall to build all 12 turbines. As Connecticut Aims to Phase Out Gas-Powered Cars, Service Station Owners Face an Uncertain Future

CT Insider. ​​”While the service station industry has survived many challenges in its century-long history, none looms as large as the emergence of electric vehicles…Last month, Gov. Ned Lamont formally announced the development of new regulations that will phase out the sale of new internal-combustion engine vehicles by 2035, in line with about a dozen other states that have made a similar pledge toward cutting carbon emissions.

New Haven-León Sister City Project News: A Report from Eréndira

Hello from León, Nicaragua dear friends,

We are pleased to share our first updates from 2023. Over the next few weeks, we will share many good stories and progress from our programs. Despite these successes, there are also many challenges we continue to face in supporting the rural communities of the city of León.

Señora Petrona with her EcoStove

We always want to offer our most sincere thanks to our network of friends, our donors, our Board of Directors, and our co-workers in New Haven. Your hard work, empathy, and commitment to a more equitable society make it possible for us to reach the communities of Goyena and Troilo with programs that support people’s basic needs: food security, quality education, public health, care and preservation of the environment, and economic empowerment of women.

With this support, we continue to contribute our grain of sand toward a more just, respectful and empathetic society. So, thanks for all the support!

¡La lucha sigue! Much love, Eréndira

Less Cost, Better Health: Ecostoves in León
“My name is Petrona Muñoz Centeno and I am 58 years old. I am a housewife and I live in the Troilo community in the Nueva Esperanza neighborhood (El Polvoncito). I have benefited from an ecological stove, and this has helped me a lot at home, since today I can cook my food in a safer place. I have been able to see that this kitchen helps me save firewood. Before, I spent 200 córdobas a month buying firewood. Today I only spend half of this.”

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