Climate Justice for Newton
Climate Justice for Newton
We, a group of local students and organizers, call upon our communities, the city of Newton, and the state of Massachusetts to take action to uphold the following demands.
To ensure the progression of our just, equitable, and sustainable vision for Newton, we ask that local leaders (Mayor Fuller, the city council, the school committee, etc.) meet with Climate Justice, antiracism, and social justice representatives on a recurring basis to review progress towards these goals.
Additionally, we ask for the formation of a Newton Climate Justice task force. These members will serve as an essential voice at all relevant city council meetings to bring us closer to the following propositions.
We encourage these communities to work towards Climate Justice by implementing the following four intersecting goals.
Dismantle Oppressive Systems
- Dismantle Systemic Racism
- Declare systemic racism a public health crisis in the city.
- Adopt the 1619 Project for accurate history education.
- Support and educate on the BREATHE Act and similar legislation.
- Appoint an additional branch of student government led by BIPOC high schoolers.
Support Indigenous Autonomy and Justice
- Change the name of “Columbus Day” to “Indigenous People’s Day.”
- Ensure that Mayor Fuller (and all subsequent leaders of Newton) commit to regular and thorough tribal consultation on how to uplift and honor indigenous groups.
- Commit to changing the city seal along with all other derogatory, anti-indigenous language and/or imagery on Newton monuments and government documents.
- Ensure that local activist groups uphold the principles of the Red Deal.
Defund the Newton Police Department
- Defund the police and reinvest those funds in holistic, equitable, and community-based ways of achieving public safety.
- Finance public housing initiatives and underfunded public health services (ie. mental health services and domestic violence resources).
- Commit to transparency in police union negotiations.
Create Equitable City Opportunities
Provide Zoning and Housing Justice
- Abolish single-family-only zoning, significantly increase affordable housing opportunities, and provide more environmental protections within its new zoning code.
Reform Sustainability and Environmental Curriculum
- Enforce the Newton Public Schools’ teaching about the history of the environmental justice movement while providing students with a systemic/structural understanding of the causes and solutions to the climate crisis and its intersections with the fight for racial and economic justice.
-Move away from individualistic sustainability education and instead examine the root causes of climate change: capitalism, corporate greed, and oppressive systems.
Take Environmental Action
Support Local Environmental Protection
- Declare a Climate Emergency in Newton.
- Renegotiate the Newton Power Choice contract to a default of 100% renewable energy with access to fuel assistance programs for low-income residents.
Make Environmental Reparation Efforts
- Begin to engage in a process of environmental reparations due to Newton’s privileges (environmental, economic, racial, etc.) amidst the many climate injustices faced by communities of color and/or communities with lower income levels.
- Form a coalition group of Newton representatives and affected communities to address environmental harms inflicted by the city of Newton.
- Work on land reparations for people who have been displaced as a result of the construction of the Mass Pike.
Have Climate Justice Groups at Schools
- Form and/or continue student-led climate justice groups at all schools to assess relevant reforms by meeting with school administrators and Newton government officials regularly.
- Denounce Environmentally Unjust Projects
- Immediately close down the Weymouth Compressor station.
- Begin the process of shutting down other environmentally harmful projects across MA.
- Acknowledge and fight against the disproportionate impact of these sites on low-income communities and communities of color.