"Boston Sunset" by walknboston is licensed under CC BY 2.0
“Boston Sunset” by walknboston is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Environmental organizations and individual activists invited to submit opinion articles for publication

From an environmental perspective, Boston’s new Acting Mayor Kim Janey got off to a fine start in her inaugural speech by naming the looming existential crisis of global warming as a key concern for her incoming administration to tackle, “The problems laid bare by the pandemic were here well before COVID-19. The issues of affordable housing, fair wages, public transportation, and climate change are not new. What’s different is these problems now impact even more of us. But, I believe these challenges create an opportunity—an opportunity to come together, to heal and build a better, more equitable city.”

This means that climate activists may very well have someone in charge at Boston City Hall who is willing to do more than just spew forth toothless and largely useless reports. Sure, Janey is only slated to be in office for the rest of her predecessor’s term, less than a year… but maybe she’ll run for a full term. And maybe she’ll win.

Even if she doesn’t, now is the perfect time for ecologically-minded Bostonians—especially those with relevant science and policy training—to offer the mayor serious proposals to help the Hub survive a climate disaster that is already upon us. Or at least delay the worst long enough for Massachusetts to build a new capital away from the extremely vulnerable coast and move our population out of the path of sea level rise that is well under way.

Because a Republican governor recently signed a pretty decent, if long overdue, climate bill—An Act Creating a Next-Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy—that will indeed commit the Commonwealth to not only reducing carbon emissions by 50% in 2030 (real progress, if still not enough) but moving to net zero emissions by 2050. It will also force utilities to source more and more renewable energy as those target dates approach. And, most interestingly, it will actually create a consistent definition of “environmental justice communities” that “allows the state to put more focus on, and resources towards” stopping “environmental and industrial burdens from piling up” in such working class neighborhoods, neighborhoods of color, and immigrant neighborhoods, according to WBUR.

Neighborhoods like Boston’s predominantly African-American District 7—which Kim Janey represented prior to her elevation to the mayor’s seat.

I’m sure environmental advocates are well aware of these developments and are scrambling to get Janey the best ideas based on the best available research to stop and perhaps one day even reverse the relentless devastating progress of the manifold negative effects of global warming—and transition Boston to the next phase of its history. As a state capital in the Anthropocene Era, a new geological epoch hastened by thoughtless human destruction of our biosphere. With the hope that she’ll push far harder than any previous mayor to put such concerns front and center in her policy agenda. Be it for the brief 10 months until she has to step down in January or for another four years after a November victory should she decide to run to stay in office.

So, my colleagues and I would like to invite activists to condense their best municipal global warming action proposals for the new mayor down to about 700-1000 words and submit them for publication here in DigBoston as opinion articles.

Our audience is extremely concerned about the ecological catastrophe we all face and will certainly read such proposals for Boston with interest. As we hope Mayor Janey and her staff will do as well.

We’d prefer that global warming policy proposal pieces come from established environmental organizations, but we’ll certainly also run opinion articles from individual climate scientists, social scientists, and activists in the know.

Anyone interested in submitting a draft for publication should contact me directly at execeditor@digboston.com. I look forward to seeing what folks come up with. Particularly ideas for stopping the massive amount of carbon emissions from all the jets that use Logan Airport—which is under federal jurisdiction. Making it an unsolved predicament that could reverse all the good the new state climate bill could otherwise do in Suffolk County going forward. 

4/6/21 update: Acting Mayor Kim Janey just announced she is running to keep her seat in the upcoming Boston mayoral election.

Jason Pramas is executive editor and associate publisher of DigBoston.