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Hundreds gather for People’s Climate Movement sister rally

  • Attendees of the sister rally in Greenfield, fill Energy Park Saturday, April 29, 2017. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt

  • Heather Sadler, of Greenfield, applies sunscreen to her daughter Lydia Sadler, 1, with her other two daughters Abigail Sadler, 4, and Evelyn Sadler, also 4, while wearing pink "pussy hats" at the sister rally in Greenfield at Energy Park Saturday, April 29, 2017. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt

  • Attendees of the sister rally in Greenfield, fill Energy Park Saturday, April 29, 2017. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt

  • Violet Kitchen, of Shutesbury, Piper Pichette, of Deerfield, and Jordan Helzer of Amherst, at the sister rally in Greenfield at Energy Park Saturday, April 29, 2017. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt

  • Attendees of the sister rally in Greenfield, fill Energy Park Saturday, April 29, 2017. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt

  • Marcia Curtis, and Asheley Griffith of Sunderland the sister rally in Greenfield at Energy Park Saturday, April 29, 2017. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt

  • Dr. Larry Buell, of Petersham, representing Lucius Spoon, an 1840's farmer who lived near Buell in Petersham, at the sister rally in Greenfield at Energy Park Saturday, April 29, 2017. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt

  • A young attendee of the sister rally in Greenfield, lies on the grass at Energy Park with her sign shielding her from the sun Saturday, April 29, 2017. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt

  • Attendees of the sister rally in Greenfield, fill Energy Park Saturday, April 29, 2017. Recorder Staff/Matt Burkhartt—Matt Burkhartt



Recorder Staff
Saturday, April 29, 2017

GREENFIELD — While Anand Nayak and Polly Fiveash sang about the environment, the hot sun shone down on the approximately 500 men, women and children who clapped along and swayed to their tunes.

Local residents gathered from 10:30 a.m. to noon Saturday for a People’s Climate Movement sister rally in Energy Park, expressing their support for measures to curb climate change such as encouraging renewable energy and divesting from fossil fuels.

“You can’t breathe money,” said Northfield resident Jinx Hastings, as she sat on the grass listening to the musicians and speakers. “We have to put our money in the right places. It’s not Republican, it’s not Democrat, it’s for everybody. It’s just common sense.”

“If we didn’t have the planet, where would we go?” asked Hastings’ friend Lisa Nash, who traveled from Hardwick to attend the rally.

The rally was organized by members of Pint Huddle, a group created by Alden Booth, owner of The People’s Pint, with the goal of bringing people together to work on different issues.

Speakers included Leigh Youngblood, executive director of the Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust; Sandra Boston and Susan Triolo of the Sugar Shack Alliance; Andrew Fisk, executive director of the Connecticut River Conservancy (formerly the Connecticut River Watershed Council); David Cohen, a member of the coordinating committee of Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution (FCCPR); and Claire Chang, owner of the Solar Store on Fiske Avenue.

Triolo spoke of Sugar Shack Alliance’s push to halt Kinder Morgan’s 2-mile pipeline through Otis State Forest in Sandisfield, which she said would lead 14,000 trees to be cut down in a seven-day period. The new struggle, some attendees said, shows protecting the environment and curbing climate change requires continuous advocacy.

“It seems like once you knock down one evil, another one pops up,” said Northfield resident Emily Koester, who attended a march in Washington, D.C., in February 2012 to protest the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Fisk emphasized the need to make renewable energy have the smallest carbon footprint possible, pointing to 13 hydroelectric facilities on the Connecticut River, many of which are governed by regulations that were written 30 to 50 years ago. To enact necessary change, Fisk asked attendees to strive to unite with others across political divides.

“We need to make climate change no longer a partisan issue,” he said.

Another goal, Chang said, should be to increase funding for the Mass Solar Loan program, which provides financial support for residents looking to install solar panels at their homes. Individuals who demonstrate low incomes can receive 20 to 30 percent reductions on their loan’s principal, Chang said.

“We need to extend the benefit (of solar energy) to everyone in the commonwealth,” she said, adding that she wants to see Eversource support solar power.

“They are a monopoly,” Chang continued. “They are supposed to support the common good. We are the common good.”

Still, Boston said, there is good news: “momentum is building.” She cited statistics from a report released by nonprofit solar advocacy group The Solar Foundation, showing that from 2015 to 2016, the solar industry saw a 25 percent increase in new jobs and wind employment rose by 32 percent.

The unified message of the speakers was to further discussion of climate change. Attendees were encouraged, for example, to write letters to President Donald Trump asking him not to pull out of the Paris climate agreement, to Governor Charlie Baker asking him to resist the pipeline, and to legislators asking them to divest from fossil fuel.

“We have to learn the difference between lifestyle and life,” Boston said. “Be kind and fierce defenders of the precious gift of life.”

You can reach Shelby Ashline at: sashline@recorder.com

413-772-0261, ext. 257