Thank you for your efforts, and for your perseverance during these trying times. It’s hard to stay optimistic in the battle against climate change. Every day we hear news reports or read headlines painting an increasingly bleak, threatening picture of the future. And yet the vast majority of Americans seem either unaware of or unconcerned about the catastrophe we are careening toward.
I write with news that is, hopefully, both exciting and useful. I am a clinical psychologist turned climate advocate and organizer, applying my psychological training to understanding how individual and collective denial works, and the best ways to intervene in it. I have written about my ideas on my blog, The Climate Psychologist, and elsewhere. Working with an ever-growing team, I developed a tool that fights denial, minimization, and passivity and helps people channel their concerns into effective engagement. If deployed widely enough, this tool can lay the groundwork for organizing the emergency response that's currently politically impossible, but that is required to restore a climate that is once again safe, stable and supportive of human civilization.
The tool is the Pledge to Mobilize, a one-page document that any American can sign, which enumerates what's now necessary to secure a livable future for humanity. It is a political platform that publicly acknowledges climate change as a threat to civilization; demands a World War II-scale climate mobilization to transform the United States economy to carbon neutrality by 2025, while creating full employment; and makes reducing global emissions to net zero at wartime speed our top foreign policy priority.
The Pledge is also a social movement strategy, designed to fight individual and collective denial and build political power. When someone signs the Pledge to Mobilize, they agree to vote for candidates on the local, state, and national level who have signed the Pledge over those who have not, to donate time and money exclusively to candidates who have signed the Pledge, and most importantly, to spread the truth of climate change, and the Pledge itself, to others.
Climate change is often treated as an unmentionable topic, but the Pledge to Mobilize motivates people to talk about it with their friends, family, colleagues and networks in a goal-oriented (rather than helpless) way. The Pledge strikes at the heart of the tendency to feel overwhelmed by climate change, which causes us to become passive bystanders, and gives individuals a route to effective advocacy. Since launching the Pledge four months ago, we have seen impressive results in its ability to mobilize people who were previously disengaged, and to spur the already engaged to ever greater feats of activism.
When people confront the stark reality of climate change and start to view themselves as efficacious actors, they become hungry for ways to engage. This is why I believe the Pledge to Mobilize might work synergistically with your organization's goals. If your organization decided to spread the Pledge to Mobilize among members, I believe it could further energize — or re-energize — your membership. The Pledge also offers a promising route to engage new members. Of course, you would also be helping spread the truth of climate change, and the need for a WWII-scale national mobilization, far and wide.
If you are interested in learning more, check out the slideshow at the top of our website, or for a deeper dive, read our strategy document Rising to the Challenge of Our Time, Together. Or, take the Pledge to Mobilize and join us!
Please let me know if you have any questions,
Your friend and ally,
Margaret Klein Salamon
The Climate Mobilization