We're canvassing for a 100% clean future

One door at a time, our staff are building a grassroots movement to power Massachusetts entirely with renewable energy.

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Ben Hellerstein
State Director

Author: Ben Hellerstein

State Director

(617) 747-4368

Started on staff: 2012
B.A., magna cum laude, Carleton College

Ben directs Environment Massachusetts’ efforts to promote clean air, clean water, clean energy and open spaces in Massachusetts. In 2016, he launched a campaign to repower Massachusetts with 100 percent renewable energy. Prior to assuming his current role, Ben led the organization’s effort to get Massachusetts to 20 percent renewable electricity by 2025. His areas of expertise lie in renewable energy and the impacts of fossil fuel pollution, and he has authored reports on clean energy policies at the local, state and federal levels, earning media coverage statewide. Ben lives in Brookline and enjoys exploring the region on foot, by bike and by public transit.

Restaurants reopening. Fans back at Fenway. Environment Massachusetts canvassers hitting the streets to educate and mobilize Bay Staters around important environmental issues.

These are just a few of the signs that life in the Bay State is getting closer to normal, as more and more people get vaccinated and COVID infection rates decline.

Earlier this month we relaunched Environment Massachusetts’ door-to-door canvassing offices, with a full set of health precautions in place to keep our staff and members of the public safe.

This summer, our staff are visiting neighborhoods across Massachusetts to build support for the 100% Clean Act (H.3288, S.2136), filed by Rep. Marjorie Decker, Rep. Sean Garballey, and Sen. Joseph Boncore. This bill will transition Massachusetts to 100 percent clean electricity by 2035 and 100 percent clean heating and transportation by 2045.

I’m excited to share our plans with you and let you know how you can add your voice to this grassroots movement.

Canvassing is in our DNA

Canvassing — going door-to-door — has been a core part of our work at Environment Massachusetts since the early 1980s. We canvass to educate the public about the problems facing our environment, build grassroots support for solutions, and raise money to fund our campaigns.

Many of our senior staff got their start working on the canvass or helped direct one of our canvassing offices early in their careers. I remember showing up on my first day as an assistant canvass director for our sister group PennEnvironment in April 2013. When I walked in the front door of the Philadelphia office, it was practically empty — with nothing on the walls and no canvassers in sight. Within just a few weeks, we had hired dozens of staff to work with us, and by the end of the summer we had recruited thousands of people to join our campaign to protect Pennsylvania’s parks.

In 2014 I helped direct the Newton canvass office along with Elizabeth and Melinda.

After the summer ended, I came on board with Environment Massachusetts as a campaign organizer, and helped direct canvass offices in Cambridge and Newton. I stepped into my current role as state director two years later.

One of the biggest reasons we’re excited to relaunch our canvass offices is to recruit the next generation of young people to join the environmental movement. This summer we’ll help college students and recent graduates develop a passion for social change, and maybe even launch a career working to protect our air, our water, and our climate.

How we’ll win a strong clean energy law

Our goal is to pass the 100% Clean Act into law before July 31, 2022, the end of the current two-year legislative session. If we succeed, Massachusetts will have the strongest clean energy commitment of any state in the country. That would be a huge step toward a cleaner, healthier future for all of us.

This summer, we’re focused on our first big challenge: Getting the Legislature’s energy committee, chaired by Rep. Jeff Roy and Sen. Michael Barrett, to give a favorable report to the bill. Once that happens, the bill can move on to consideration by the full House and Senate.

Our staff are building grassroots support for 100% renewable energy, one conversation at a time.

We think one of the best ways to convince the chairs and members of the energy committee to advance the 100% Clean Act is to show that their colleagues — other members of the House and Senate — support it.

That’s why we’re going door-to-door in communities across Massachusetts. We’ll build grassroots support to convince representatives and senators that the 100% Clean Act is a must-pass piece of legislation this session. If enough legislators say this bill is a priority, we think the energy committee will listen.

Our canvassing campaign will reach tens of thousands of households across Massachusetts, and collect thousands of signatures on a petition supporting the 100% Clean Act.

How you can take action

This summer, in addition to educating the public and collecting petition signatures, our canvassers are helping to launch a new project called 100 for 100%.

In cities and towns across the Commonwealth, we're asking 100 people to contribute a personal statement about why they want Massachusetts to go 100 percent renewable.

Sharing the reasons why we care about an issue is one of the best ways to convince our elected officials to make it a priority. And by talking about our personal motivations for supporting the transition to clean energy, we can inspire other people to take action, too.

The easiest way to get involved in 100 for 100% is to write a few sentences about why you support 100 percent renewable energy for Massachusetts and submit it through our online form. We're also encouraging people to get creative. You can record a video. You can sing a song or recite a poem. You can submit an original work of art. Kids can participate, too.

Throughout the summer, we'll share these statements on social media and on our website. At the end of the summer, we'll deliver the statements to our elected officials.

Learn more about 100 for 100% and how you can get involved.

We want to know: Why do you support 100% renewable energy for Massachusetts?

This summer, we’re bringing together thousands of people to advocate for a healthier, safer future powered by renewable energy. I’ll be sure to keep you updated as our work moves ahead.

Ben Hellerstein
State Director

Author: Ben Hellerstein

State Director

(617) 747-4368

Started on staff: 2012
B.A., magna cum laude, Carleton College

Ben directs Environment Massachusetts’ efforts to promote clean air, clean water, clean energy and open spaces in Massachusetts. In 2016, he launched a campaign to repower Massachusetts with 100 percent renewable energy. Prior to assuming his current role, Ben led the organization’s effort to get Massachusetts to 20 percent renewable electricity by 2025. His areas of expertise lie in renewable energy and the impacts of fossil fuel pollution, and he has authored reports on clean energy policies at the local, state and federal levels, earning media coverage statewide. Ben lives in Brookline and enjoys exploring the region on foot, by bike and by public transit.