Rosh Hashanah: Mobilizing The Holidays

Mobilization and persuasion starts with personal connections and nothing is more personal than family and the holidays.  Today is Rosh Hashanah, or The Jewish New Year, one of the most important days in the Jewish tradition.  This year I decided in light of the looming...

By Greg Schwedock 

Mobilization and persuasion starts with personal connections and nothing is more personal than family and the holidays.  Today is Rosh Hashanah, or The Jewish New Year, one of the most important days in the Jewish tradition.  This year I decided in light of the looming climate catastrophe I had to share with my family the vision and opportunities The Climate Mobilization provides to save civilization.  The following is what I told them:

I started with a joke to get everyone’s attention.  If you tap a glass and tell your family you proposed to your “significant other” they’ve never heard of, I promise it will get their attention…

A week from today it will be written who shall live and who shall die, who will die of thirst and who of famine, who will be wealthy and who will be joyous.  

In the meantime our tradition calls for us to reflect, to seek genuine forgiveness from those we have wronged, hopefully it will be granted, and hopefully it will be taken into account when our names are written in the register.

However, as a whole humanity’s fate has been written and it is not pretty.  Scientists nearly unanimously agree that human caused climate change will have repercussions that will ultimately trigger the collapse of civilization and that it will happen in this generation’s lifetime.  It does not matter that every other doomsday prediction has previously not unfolded.  Physics does not care.

Luckily for us this evening, it’s not a time for fasting, in fact it’s a time for sweets: for apple and honey and for celebrating beautiful newborns: the latest to join the family.  A new year and a newborn are both full of opportunity.  While the industrialized world might need a host of forgiveness for its transgressions if we act now there is a still opportunity to change what is written.

We were created in God’s image and it’s said there’s a little bit of god in all of us.  So perhaps it’s fitting that we have the opportunity as a family, community and society to come together, find that spirit in all of us, to change what is currently written in the book of life, to flip it on its head.

From catastrophe to opportunity
From greed to kindness
From racism and all isms to a celebration of variety and distinctions
From sickness to health
From extinction to vibrance
From despair to mobilization

I count myself lucky for many reasons, but most recently because I’ve dedicated myself full time to an organization called The Climate Mobilization, and it feels great.  It’s a blessing to work with a community of folks facing the facts, who say the hell to denial and despair.

The Climate Mobilization has a vision, a framework to fight for, so that we do not have to wallow in despair.  In fact, we fought so that our vision for a mobilization of a scale not seen since WWII is now in the democratic party platform.  In august we released a first draft of a detailed Victory Plan for what a successful mobilization in the US would entail.

The power is momentarily still in our hands to control our fate.  
The greatest generation was able to do it, now it’s time for our generations to mobilize.
To mobilize so that little Joey can have the opportunity to live to a ripe old age.
To fight so that all of your children can.
No one else will do it for you.

Mobilization can take many forms, of course not everyone can drop everything to be full time, there are obligations to children, patients, clients and students.  However, it could be simple as conversations or donations; to taking a stand as a leader in your community, traditional protest or hosting a full time Mobilizer in your home.  

I’d love to discuss how you can play a part because I hope to not leave you with warning of catastrophe, but rather an opportunity to act.

We could even leave society better off than we found it and that’s an opportunity and cause to celebrate.

Little Joey chimed in on queue and there were cheers all around after I finished.  There were followup questions and appreciation for sharing, however the true test to know if the message was received will be to see who joins the mobilization in this sweet new year.

Happy New Year to all celebrating!

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Kristen Cashmore

Senior Director
Kristen brings more than 25 years of social justice advocacy to Climate Mobilization. Her previous positions at human rights, public health, environmental justice, and clean energy organizations inform her work with the variety of stakeholders she is engaging with to bring an accelerated response to the climate emergency. Kristen earned a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies from UC Berkeley, where she was a teaching assistant in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management.

Malik Russell

Communications Director

Malik leads Climate Mobilization’s press and communications strategy. He formerly served as Communications Director for the NAACP. He is a journalist, author, community-based educator, and former lecturer in the Department of Strategic Communications at Morgan State University. The former editor of the Washington Afro-American newspaper, he has worked as a journalist in the Black Press for over two decades.He has a BA in American history from Brandeis University and earned a Master of Public Administration degree from Baruch College in New York, where he was selected as a National Urban Fellow.

Ezra Silk

Deputy Director

Ezra is co-founder of The Climate Mobilization and Climate Mobilization Project. He authored The Climate Mobilization’s Victory Plan, an influential exploration of how the federal government can organize and implement a mobilization to save civilization from the Climate Emergency and ecological crisis. This document directly shaped the demands of the Extinction Rebellion movement and the Green New Deal framework. Ezra was also a lead author of the climate emergency declaration resolution introduced in Congress in July 2019. A former newspaper reporter, Ezra has a BA in history from Wesleyan University.

Matt Renner

Executive Director of The Climate Mobilization

Matt has worked as a nonprofit executive in clean energy, climate policy, and journalism for over a decade, focusing on the near-term social and economic impacts of climate change. He leads organizational expansion and works closely with the communications and organizing teams. Matt earned a BA in political science from UC Berkeley, where he was deeply inspired by the work of Professor George Lakoff.

Laura Berry

Research & Policy Director

Laura brings over a decade of experience to Climate Mobilization in climate advocacy, organizing, research, and policy. She has worked on climate, environmental, and sustainability issues from local to global scales with organizations including the Stockholm Environment Institute, the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, and 350.org. She is passionate about deepening democratic engagement in response to the Climate Emergency. Laura has a BA in human ecology from College of the Atlantic and an MSc in global environment, politics, and society from the University of Edinburgh.

Rebecca Harris

Organizing Director

Rebecca leads Climate Mobilization organizing efforts. Along with a history of social movement organizing, Rebecca he has worked as a journalist covering equity in Chicago public schools. Most recently, Rebecca worked as Development and Communications Manager at Latino Union of Chicago, an immigrants’ and workers’ rights organization. She is a 2017 graduate of the Reframe Mentorship in strategic communications and a 2019 participant in the Anne Braden Organizer Training Program.

Marina Mails

Operations and Community Manager
Marina manages operations and volunteers for both The Climate Mobilization and Climate Mobilization Project. She brings broad experience working in non-profit organizations, health care settings, and running her own private counseling practice. Before joining Climate Mobilization, Marina maintained a practice focusing exclusively on climate-related emotional coping, helping people make bold choices for lifestyle and professional change in response to the Climate Emergency. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science and Spanish from Wake Forest University and a Masters in Counseling from UNC Greensboro.

Sydney Ghazarian

Digital Organizer
Sydney leads digital strategy for The Climate Mobilization and Climate Mobilization project. She is also a founder of National Democratic Socialists of America Ecosocialist Working Group and worked to establish climate as a primary focus of the American Left. Sydney has previously worked in journalism and in academic research. Sydney received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of California San Diego.

Cris Lagunas

Strategy Director

Cris is helping to grow the Climate Emergency Movement by supporting creative campaigns and extending the reach of the movement’s message. Cris is a co-founder of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, an organization dedicated to using direct action tactics to expose, challenge and dismantle the immigration detention system.Cris got his start in organizing when he was 15 years old, getting involved in a local group of fellow undocumented youth.

Margaret Klein Salamon, PhD

Founder and Board President

Margaret is the founder of The Climate Mobilization (TCM) and Climate Mobilization Project (CMP) and helped catalyze a worldwide climate emergency movement through her work with both organizations. Margaret now serves as Climate Awakening Program Director. She is the author of Facing the Climate Emergency: How to Transform Yourself with Climate Truth (New Society Publishers, April 2020) and several influential essays. She is also a member of the Climate Emergency Fund’s Advisory Board. Margaret earned her PhD in clinical psychology from Adelphi University and a BA in social anthropology from Harvard. Though she loved being a therapist, Margaret felt called to apply her psychological and anthropological knowledge to solving the Climate Emergency.

AriDy Nox

Organizational Development and Engagement Manager
AriDy brings creativity, enthusiasm and a tremendous capacity for organization to her/their role, assisting the executive director with travel, communication and fundraising. AriDy Nox is a multi-disciplinary black femme storyteller and social activist. They have served as a national representative for The Young Women of Color Leadership Council, the Millennials of Color Leadership Bureau, and held writing positions with Advocates for Youth and RH Reality Check. She has worked as an administrative and executive assistant for a myriad of organizations including the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at Tisch School of the Performing Arts at NYU, the Youth Engagement Fund and the Community Resource Exchange.