Berkshire County should prove to be fertile ground for a chapter of 350 Mass-
achusetts, the grassroots organization seeking to lower the state’s dependence on polluting fossil fuels. The chapter was created a week ago, adding a region of the state that has long cherished the environmental cause.
Craig Altemose, executive director of the Better Future Project, which is promoting the 350 Massachusetts initiative (350 refers to the maximum acceptable parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere -- the level is now 400), warned a crowded BCC lecture hall at the chapter’s kickoff meeting that opponents of environmental reform have the big money. This is the case for a variety of good causes, but environmentalists can’t bemoan this disadvantage or concern themselves with the flat earthers who see global warming as a massive conspiracy.
What the environmental community has on its side are the many Americans who see what the extracting and burning of fossil fuels are doing to the environment -- 350 Massachusetts wants to reduce the use of oil, coal and natural gas while encouraging clean energy sources like wind and solar, the latter of which has established a strong footing here. State Sen. Benjamin Downing, a Pittsfield Democrat and supporter of 350 Massachusetts, has introduced a bill to divest the state’s pension fund of stock in the oil companies that are using their profits to fight green energy initiatives in Boston and Washington, D.C.
The struggle to preserve the environment is an uphill one but there is strength in numbers. Add the members of the Berkshire chapter of 350 Massachusetts to those numbers.