May 7: Erica Mattison, “How to enhance your effectiveness as an advocate for conservation and healthy communities”

erica mattison 2Erica Mattison is the Legislative Director for the Environmental League of Massachusetts.

You care about having a clean, healthy environment for your community (and beyond), as well as future generations.  So, what are some ways you can make sure you are an effective advocate for the issues you care about?  How can you influence your elected officials?  This interactive advocacy training, led by the Environmental League of Massachusetts, will cover the following:

  • Strategies for building relationships with influencers, elected officials, and other key decision makers
  • How to hone your message for maximum effectiveness
  • How to become a go-to resource on the issues you care about
  • The importance of going beyond the expected parties and building power through working collaboratively with a broad range of stakeholders.

The session will be lead by Environmental League Legislative Director Erica Mattison, MPA, JD. In addition to working as an environmental protection lobbyist on statewide issues, Erica is a community activist. In her neighborhood in Dorchester, she serves on the board of Greater Ashmont Main Street. She is actively involved in advocating for safer streets and vibrant, sustainable communities.  Erica obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts Commonwealth College and her Masters in Public Administration and Juris Doctor from Suffolk University.

Resistance in the Age of Trump

Submitted by Andrea Perrault

As the Trump administration continues its march to Make America Great Again, it seems that on each day we are shocked by a new tweet, press release, or news item promoted by Sean Spicer, the Trump Press Secretary. There are so many issues that deeply concern us, as budget cuts or severe decimation seem likely: the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Endowment for the Arts, National Public Radio, the Public Broadcasting System, public education, the National Science Foundation, and, of course, Obamacare. While we may be disillusioned or downright depressed, we need to focus on the types of actions that will bring about collective action to save the things we hold dear. Consider the following:


Marvin MillerSubmitted by Marvin Miller

Religions and governments are involved in ethics: they tell people, by commandments, laws, etc., what they want people to regard as the right thing to do.

Our society is the most inefficient in the world.

In physics, efficiency is defined as the ratio of useful work done to total energy used. Americans use more energy per capita than the people of any other country. But we don’t live better than people do in other technologically advanced countries. Those of us who have jobs work longer than people do elsewhere. We don’t spend less time getting to and from work than others do. We don’t have more time for lunch breaks, vacations, leave for family care, or holidays than others do.

Pot Talk Redux

marijuana leafIn February of 2015, the Boston Ethical Community hosted a panel discussion featuring members of the Cannabis Society of Massachusetts. On March 19, the Cannabis Society returns to BEC to present a talk entitled High Ground.

Much has transpired since the  2015 session. Marijuana advocates were then primarily concerned with medical marijuana. The panel discussed difficulties that caregivers faced in growing and administering marijuana as therapy for a variety of medical conditions. At that time, no medical marijuana dispensaries in the state had yet gained approval to sell the product.

Media Matters

Submitted by Andrea Perrault

The story of how we, the public, get our news has never been more important. In 2008, Barack Obama broke new ground with his campaign’s ability to communicate over social media. The campaign built a stunningly effective strategy to mobilize the youth vote. Yet, how quickly the bright light of that effort dimmed. In 2012, many younger people felt disillusioned because change had not come fast enough.

Religion, Government, Ethics

Marvin MillerSubmitted by Marvin Miller

Religions and governments are involved in ethics: they tell people, by commandments, laws, etc., what they want people to regard as the right thing to do.

Religion and government have always been entangled with each other. In ancient times there was no distinction between them. Over time, specialization occurred; the people who led the societies’ religious rituals were not the same people as those who conducted its civil and military affairs. This separation didn’t happen all at once. Even today in our own society, religious leaders are authorized by governments to conduct ceremonies that change the legal marital status of couples.

April 16: Michael Bleiweiss, “The History of the Earth Part 1: From Gas Cloud to Early Reptiles”

MichaelBleiweiss_12-21-2015_6_BMichael Bleiweiss is Vice President of the Boston Ethical Community.

The earth has existed for 4½ billion years and it’s been a very busy planet. Continents have formed and broken up and formed again. Millions of species of living things have come and gone. Eventually, one species capable of understanding this history evolved. This three-part lecture series will explore our knowledge of this history. The first part will take us from earth’s formation up until the appearance of the first reptiles.