February 17, 2012 - Environmental rhetoric is riddled with fluffy promises about green jobs, green economies, and green governments. These issues may seem simply nebulous and unimportant concepts. Yet the Massachusetts state government is now poised to lead its constituents towards a true green economy.
Students for a Just and Stable Future, a political advocacy group on campus, lobbied to create the first environmental caucus—the Green Economy Caucus—in the Massachusetts State Legislature last year. The purpose of the caucus is to “promote legislation and policy that encourage economic growth and job creation based on sustainable development aimed at improving economic, environmental and social well-being.” This caucus, a victory for SJSF, represents student involvement in the government and the commitment of politicians to act on climate change mitigation. The first Caucus meeting was on February 13, and represents an historic achievement for Massachusetts legislators. The meeting was an enormous success, with about 50 legislators and aides present, and lends hope for future political processes.
The United Nations Environment Programme defines a green economy as “improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.” According to Mihir Chaudhary ’12, leader of SJSF, the “Green Economy Caucus represents the first cohesive political attempt to develop a 'transition' to a post-carbon economy. We do not know what that economy will look like, but this is where the true potential of this legislative forum works.”
So, why does anyone care about a green economy? Climate change has an undeniable impact on our way of life. Everyone has heard the statistics: The Northeast has warmed half a degree Fahrenheit per decade since 1970. The numbers of days over 90 degrees Fahrenheit in Massachusetts is expected to increase from between five and 20 days to between 30 and 60 days. Ocean temperatures in the Northeast Atlantic are expected to increase up to eight degrees Fahrenheit due to climate change. These numbers seem abstract, but the realities they represent pose a significant threat to agriculture, fishing industries, tourism, health, and communities—the foundations of our economy. read more>>>