What is an MCAN Chapter?

Our chapters are most commonly community-based groups of volunteers that pursue projects or activities in their homes and communities that address climate change through a combination of town level policies or activities, personal actions, and support for state and federal policies that will reduce global warming pollution.

Based on the best currently available science, MCAN supports reductions in greenhouse gas emissions 25% below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80% below by 2050.

What does an MCAN Chapter do?

Here is a list of some of the things that MCAN local groups are currently working on:

• Developing a community Climate Change emissions inventory

• Developing city or town Climate Action Plans

• Passing local ordinances through town meeting or city council that support climate change pollution reductions

• Promoting participation in Community Choice Aggregation or the Clean Energy Choice program

• Develop a speakers series or lecture program on a related Climate Change subject

• Support development of local or regional clean energy projects like solar on schools or capped landfills 

• Advocacy on pro-climate governmental policies

• Promoting municipal energy efficiency effort 

• Establishing local energy/climate commission or advisory group

• Establishing building guidelines for town or city construction

• Establishing a residential energy efficiency effort

• Establishing a community educational outreach program

• Establishing a school system educational outreach program

How do I start an MCAN Chapter?

Most MCAN local groups have found success with these six steps:

  1. Assemble a great committee Identify citizens representing various constituencies in your community who are interested in working on energy and climate change issues. Identify a project champion who will help to see the project through by providing vital outreach and public relations support. Identify an individual willing to chair the committee, call the meetings, draft the agendas and keep the process moving.

  2. Select the best structure for your committee a. An ad hoc citizen energy and climate action committee (most MCAN local groups are structured this way) b. A subcommittee of an existing municipal committee (some MCAN local groups are structured this way) c. An independent municipal committee or task force appointed by a select board or city council (some MCAN local groups are structured this way)

  3. Do some research and inventory Conduct some initial information gathering to explore areas where the community might save energy. Ask about the energy saving and emission reduction actions that may be underway or planned in your community. Be sure to check with community officials and decision makers to identify opportunities and problems. Also find out who is responsible for decisions and how to plug into existing or planned processes. We have some great assessment tools you can use! And don’t forget to ask us about what other MCAN local groups have done with the problems and opportunities you have identified.

  4. Set achievable goals and stick to them Think about both short- and long-term goals. Keep the list of goals short and to the point. As much as possible, align your priorities with the priorities of the governing body you are trying to influence. Finally, it is helpful to make connections to broader sustainable development goals and projects at the regional and state levels. MCAN staff can really help you here!

  5. Develop effective messages and a communications plan to disseminate them A good communications plan will most likely be multi-layered, long term and involve several stakeholders and a broad selection of community audiences. This will help to insure more legitimacy among the public, more direct connection with select boards, and greater access to financial support from the community and beyond. Your message will be critical too. The most powerful messages are clear, concise and compelling. Positive, persistent and proactive communications always work best.

  6. Dive in! Implement strategies and encourage action As you implement your plan always be on the lookout for: • Additional sources of funding • Ways to recruit new members and broaden your network of partners (places to look: business owners, faith-based organizations, environmental & health organizations, Chambers of Commerce, Rotary and other service organizations.) • Chances to periodically re-evaluate your progress, goals and new opportunities • Opportunities to celebrate your progress and recognize employers and others who are making great strides toward achieving shared goals

What are the benefits of being an MCAN Chapter?

• Individual consultation available from MCAN staff to help with organization and campaign organizing, publicity, strategy development and strategic planning.

• Group listing, link and/or page on MCAN’s website.

• Group representative may serve on the MCAN Board if elected to the Board.

• Statewide legislative representation and networking opportunities.

• Training available to local members in outreach, energy efficiency, renewables and advocacy at MCAN Annual Conference and at training sessions and seminars.

• Resources available to Chapters include: sample plans and other materials, guidance in locating additional sources of funding and case studies available on: community outreach, energy efficiency and clean energy development projects.

• Frequent updates provided by email and phone conference on important policy action at state and regional levels.

What are the obligations of an MCAN Chapter?

• Commitment to economy-wide mandatory carbon cap in Massachusetts that reduces global warming pollution 80% by 2050.

• Commitment to focus on local advocacy and education, so that our individual communities and state meet these carbon cap obligations.

• Group representative attend (in person or by teleconference) a majority of MCAN Steering Committee meetings.

• Share information and resources with other groups, so we gain from each other’s experience and efforts.

• Participate in statewide policy advocacy, on selected occasions when authorized by MCAN Board and Steering Committee.

• Provide annual updates of group mailing list and activity report to MCAN.

Who do I contact to learn more about becoming an MCAN Chapter?

Contact MCAN at info@massclimateaction.net.

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