Climate group Extinction Rebellion Boston is continuing to pressure the Healey administration to ban new fossil fuel infrastructure projects.
Their latest attempt to send a message to Gov. Maura Healey came this morning, when more than 35 activists marched around the Rose Kennedy Greenway, shutting down traffic in the Financial District.
“The activists communicated that they would refuse to end their traffic disruption unless the Governor made a public statement committing her administration to opposing all new fossil fuel infrastructure projects, including the expansion of airports and gas connections in new buildings,” the group wrote in a release.
Wearing blue shirts with yellow illustrations of the Earth accompanied by slogans “I rebel for…” followed by personal messages, the group split into three subgroups and marched around several intersections in the Financial District, creating a traffic gridlock.
Some people expressed confusion around the group’s stunt on social media.
“While I do understand and appreciate your point, do you understand the irony that the gridlock resulting from this action puts more fossil fuel emissions and fine particulates in the air?,” one person wrote on X, the former Twitter platform.
Photos and videos posted on social media by Extinction Rebellion Boston show “rebels” being arrested, including some in the area of Purchase and Summer streets. The group says it blocked “rush hour traffic for almost 30 minutes.”
The group wrote an open letter to “readers stuck in traffic,” beginning with: “We gave you a bad morning. We made you late to work, or to a dentist appointment, or to an interview. Whatever you needed to do this morning, whatever you got up early for, we got in your way. Articles from media corporations never really capture what we’re trying to do, so we’re writing this letter to explain. We all had a difficult day today, because we think it will make a better tomorrow.”
If the Healey administration fails to put a stop to new fossil fuel infrastructure projects, Extinction Rebellion Boston says, “escalation is inevitable.”
This morning’s blockade comes after the group earlier this month planned a protest at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, which led to the museum’s director canceling evening hours the night of.
“We don’t enjoy spending our mornings in front of cars, but we’re blocking these roads because it’s proven to be the best way to actually change how our society approaches this disaster,” the group wrote.
The governor is scheduled to make a stop later today at MassWildlife Headquarters in Westboro, where she will sign two environment-related executive orders.
One will call on the state’s procurement officers to stop buying so-called disposable plastics, and the other will direct state officials to establish “biodiversity conservation targets” for 2030, 2040 and 2050, and come up with a plan to meet those goals.
The governor has been vocal about her intention to put the impacts of climate change front and center and her administration’s work to make Massachusetts more climate resilient.
Just hours into her first full day on the job, Healey signed an executive order creating the Office of Climate Innovation and Resilience and naming Melissa Hoffer the state’s Climate Chief, the first such cabinet level position established by any state.
“Our natural world recognizes no political divisions and neither should our work to protect it,” Healey said Monday at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York. “So I offer Massachusetts’ partnership, and I invite colleagues and leaders across America and around the world to take action for the health of our oceans and the long-term well-being of our people.”
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