Boston commemorated this Earth Day weekend with an anti-war rally and community park clean-up that demonstrated the connections between the environment, gentrification and war.
Community cleans up Ringer Park in Allston
Organizers with the Party for Socialism and Liberation joined community members in the Allston-Brighton neighborhood of Boston on April 24 for an Earth Day clean-up of Ringer Park. Nearly 50 neighbors — from college students and young adults to older, long-time residents — worked together to gather at least a dozen bags of trash from around the park.
For years Allston has been a target of developers and property management companies like Alpha Management, the Hamilton Company and Harvard University. Their projects have eaten up the neighborhood’s little green space and left congested areas like Ringer Park full of trash. Attendees of the pick-up said they noticed the neglected state of the park, but knew they couldn’t confront it on their own.
The neighbors spoke about other issues plaguing Allston-Brighton — from rising rents to the ongoing rat infestation — and brainstormed community-based solutions to pursue in the future.
After three hours of picking up trash, PSL organizer Mandy Wilkens addressed the group of neighbors. “Coming together as a community,” they said, “I hope you have seen, as I have seen, that we can do a lot.”
Protest at Park Street, Downtown Boston
About 100 Bostonians gathered at Park Street on April 22 for an Earth Day rally endorsed by 22 groups in Boston including Massachusetts Peace Action, ANSWER — Act Now to Stop War and End Racism — Coalition, Jericho Movement, CODEPINK Western MA and the Party for Socialism and Liberation.
“The U.S. Pentagon is the world’s largest unregulated polluter and is provided an endless amount of funds to continue to operate and engage in war,” said Kim Barzola, an organizer with ANSWER Coalition.
Local high school student Sebastian, a member of the Jericho Movement’s Boston chapter, reminded the crowd of the many Indigenous leaders held as political prisoners because of their environmental activism. “If we are to find justice for the Earth,” he said, “we must find justice for those who have stood up for the Earth.”
J.D., an organizer with the Party for Socialism and Liberation, explained that scientists have concluded the Earth can only warm by 1.5 degrees before climate catastrophe. “Thanks to Wall Street financiers, fossil fuel lobbyists and their friends in government, the world has already surpassed 1.1 degrees of warming and is now on track for around 3 degrees by the end of the century.”
“The wealthy will only tend to their own interests, even in times of emergency such as the climate emergency we are all living in now,” Barzola said. “What we need is collective action and systemic change!”