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Students To Walk Out Over Fossil Fuel Plans

This open letter addressed to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick was originally posted by Students for a Just and Stable Future and is re-posted here with permission.

Dear Governor Patrick,

We write to you today as students and youth of Massachusetts concerned about our futures. On Monday, March 31, we will be walking out of class to call for a ban on new fossil fuel infrastructure in the Commonwealth. We request that you meet us that day at a public rally on the Boston Common at 11:00 am to answer our call. The energy infrastructure built today will affect our entire lives, and we insist that these decisions not be made without our involvement.

We are driven to this action by the desperation we feel as we see the impacts of political inaction on the climate crisis. Climate change is already turning western states into dustbowls while strengthening the devastating power of storms. Drinking water supplies are shrinking while sea levels are rising. Continued inaction robs more and more of our generation of the chance to survive.

There is still time to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of the climate crisis, but this window of opportunity is rapidly shrinking. The International Energy Agency has determined that we only have until 2017 to stop building new coal, oil and gas infrastructure before we are “locked in” by the lifetime emissions of these projects to extremely dangerous levels of warming.

We must draw the line against new fossil fuels. Your climate initiatives, while stronger than those of most politicians, are not enough. 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.

There is an alternative. We can choose to meet all new energy demand through a combination of renewables, energy efficiency and conservation. Reinvesting in sustainable solutions, from public transit to distributed solar power, will create thousands of local jobs, produce healthier communities, and, in turn, more equitably distribute resources in our society. This is the future, full of hope and possibility, that we would like to build—and we are determined to do whatever we can to achieve this vision.

Your legacy is our future, Governor Patrick, because the energy choices that you make determine the future that our generation will inherit. You should not make these decisions without us. Your actions today will be remembered tomorrow. For the sake of our generation and those to follow, we call on you to immediately ban new fossil fuel infrastructure in Massachusetts.

We will walk out of class on March 31 because we are determined to fight for our futures. Will you acknowledge your generational responsibility and meet us in public on that day?


Students for a Just and Stable Future

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