Last month, hundreds of UU activists from across Massachusetts commemorated Earth Day by opening a new season of resistance to the Boston-area West Roxbury Lateral Pipeline, part of a sustained and growing climate justice campaign to disrupt the dangerous expansion of the fracked gas infrastructure and fossil fuel economy that threatens us all. Over the last year and a half, members of UU congregations and communities across the state have organized creatively as committed people of faith building collective power to halt Spectra’s pipeline construction, succeeding on several occasions in shutting down the work site, with sustained vigils, rallies, and acts of nonviolent civil disobedience.
The campaign was renewed this spring with a vibrant action on April 23rd, which turned out more than 300 protestors on a rainy Saturday morning, just days after the good news that another controversial pipeline project had been canceled, with Kinder Morgan calling of further development of the Northeast Energy Direct (NED) pipeline. The crowd included high school and college students, ministers, community leaders, elected officials and residents of the neighborhood in which the pipeline would be based, posing a significant threat to community health and safety. It was followed by an act of civil disobedience, in which three activists were arrested at the construction site on April 29th, and a Celebration & Lobby Day at the Massachusetts State House on May 3rd to recognize the strides made and keep up the pressure.
These developments build upon months of organizing and training based at several UU congregations across the state, a Call to Action signed by twenty-seven UU ministers earlier this winter, as well as ongoing leadership by UU Mass Action’s Climate Justice Organizer, Evan Seitz, a friend and former staff member of the UU College of Social Justice. The “UU Rising” movement has effectively highlighted that this struggle against the Spectra pipeline is also interconnected with many other efforts for climate justice, as this pipeline is just one more outpost of destruction in a system that harms our planet and all its inhabitants, compelling our moral resistance as people of faith and conscience.
Our upcoming Activate Boston: Climate Justice training will give high school aged youth a timely and immersive opportunity to learn more about this campaign, and others like it, this summer. If you know a young person concerned about climate change and eager to take action for social justice, please encourage them to apply today, with the deadline quickly approaching and generous financial aid available to young people in need who’d like to attend.