We honestly weren't expecting major media interest so soon after our launch, but we're thrilled that on Sunday — basically our first day out on the ground — USA TODAY gave our platform space in their report on the NYC People's Climate March. And that yesterday afternoon, Al Jazeera America asked our co-founder Margaret Klein on for a live interview.
If a broader audience for our message helps mobilize Americans even more rapidly than we've been hoping, we're all for it.
How one thing led to another:
On Sunday morning before the March began, USA TODAY reporter Alia E. Dastagir came across our first public info session for the Pledge to Mobilize at Columbus Circle, briefly spoke to TCM co-founder Ezra Silk (left), and tweeted this photo of our morning team, including Margaret, Virginia Fisher (right), and another core supporter:
We're impressed that Ezra's (appropriately) dire statement made it intact into one of the most mainstream and widely circulated papers in the country:
Ezra Silk, 25, of Portland, Maine, said the USA has to take action on climate change if it wants to protect the nation's democracy. He pointed to Syria as an example of how climate change can contribute to a country's collapse.
"'There was the worst drought in its modern history," said Silk, co-founder of The Climate Mobilization, which advocates a World War II-scale intervention on climate change. "It caused a major upheaval when all the farmers came into the cities. There was a tyrant, who then oppressed his people, a civil war broke out, destabilizing the entire region, and a group like ISIS has come to the forefront. I mean that's the embodiment of what America is not about, and that's what collapse of civilization would look like."
Which communicates our message in a nutshell: It's not just that the reality of climate change, a growing force that threatens the collapse of civilization, is terrifying — ignoring it is deeply un-American.
That quote caught the attention of a producer at Al Jazeera America, who contacted us yesterday afternoon to request a live same-day interview. Margaret accepted the offer, and within three hours was on set at Al Jazeera's studio in midtown.
There doesn't seem to be an official video forthcoming online, but take it from us that with minimal preparation, against the somewhat contrarian tone of anchor Tony Harris, Margaret succinctly and passionately laid out our case within the five minutes of allotted airtime. Here is a transcript of the interview.
Another still of the interview, courtesy of Al Jazeera:
We'll take the early media attention as an indication of just how widely beyond the climate movement the prospect of a WWII-scale national mobilization against climate change, and the Pledge to Mobilize as a strategy to shift American politics quickly toward making such a mobilization a possibility, will resonate.
The Climate Mobilization's message is basic but powerful. The global, civilizational threat we face from climate change is so dire, and so far beyond what most Americans have imagined, that it requires a seemingly unprecedented global response — but there is historical precedent for such an enormous mobilization, and against incredibly daunting odds, we have little choice but to rise to the challenge of our time, again.
It's time for a dramatic shift in our national discourse on climate change. The incredible turnout at the Peoples Climate March has made it clear that a critical mass of Americans are finally over the misleading "debate" about the nature of global warming and ready to demand the necessarily urgent, focused, and massive emergency response to it from our political leaders.
For all of us, this is only the beginning.
Anyway, we now have a press page. It also includes Margaret's excellent interview with Guernica Daily contributor Bridget Read from last week, and our statement in advance of the People's Climate March, which was republished on Resilience.org and the blogs Boomer Warrior and Fairfax Climate Watch.
Back to movement-building!