A Leap to Mobilize LA

On November 3 and 4, over 80 leaders from across Los Angeles gathered to begin to draft an L.A. Leap Manifesto: an intersectional people's platform to guide Mobilize L.A., the effort launched in June to transform America's second largest city to carbon-neutrality by 20...

On November 3 and 4, over 80 leaders from across Los Angeles gathered to begin to draft an L.A. Leap Manifesto: an intersectional people’s platform to guide Mobilize L.A., the effort launched in June to transform America’s second largest city to carbon-neutrality by 2025 through a WWII-scale mobilization rooted in environmental justice.

Councilmember Paul Koretz delivered the following opening remarks on Nov. 3 at the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE):

Good afternoon everyone,

I want to acknowledge and thank the Tongva people for hosting us on their land and to thank Gloria for her beautiful prayer.

We are living in a time of chaos, in a climate emergency of shocking proportions we didn’t expect so soon, and still, nobody is really paying attention.  Severe climate-exacerbated events are killing people, wrecking homes and destroying lives, in real time, right now, not far from here. For instance, last month, in the worst wildfire in California history, the lucky ones had enough time to grab their children and get out, watching a wall of flame encase their neighborhood as they drove away from their home for the very last time.

We’re in a time when Puerto Rico has simply been destroyed by a climate-enraged hurricane and now, just a month out, we barely hear anything about it. Their struggle has been buried under more chaotic news of wildfires, mass shootings, sexual assaults and vehicle attacks. Meanwhile, while chaos reigns and distracts us, the radicals occupying the White House are systematically gutting environmental and social protections, doubling our health insurance premiums, and aiming to cut taxes on corporations and on the very rich and substantially raise taxes on the rest of us.

Yet, for many Angelenos, chaos is and has always been a part of their daily lives.  I think it’s important to acknowledge those who live on the frontlines of our extractive economy every single day.  Those who live beside active oil drilling sites, those who live beside a leaking battery recycling plant, or an oil refinery, or a leaking gas storage site, or near the Port, or along the 710 corridor, or in communities where unemployment is at 20% or more, and homelessness is rampant.

Most of us in this room all know about what happened at Standing Rock and about the Dakota Access and Keystone transcontinental Pipelines, but I want us as Angelenos to come clean right now.  I want to acknowledge that, for decades, Los Angeles has received power from coal mined and burned on the Navajo Nation.  I want to acknowledge that the coal slurry used by the now-closed Mohave Generating Station from the Black Mesa Mine caused severe problems to the groundwater that both the Navajo and Hopi tribes used for farming, livestock maintenance, drinking and other domestic uses.  Southern California’s energy use destroyed their water table, the water that gives them life in an already-water starved region.  If we are going to talk about water concerns in Standing Rock, we first need to acknowledge our own sins.

As the City gets off of coal power, as we successfully close down the Navajo Generating Station next year, I also want to acknowledge the Navajo jobs that are being lost.  In my understanding, the paychecks of each of those workers also funds the lives of a number of extended family members on the Reservation.  A lot is being lost in an extraction economy that never stops taking.

We need to acknowledge that the extractive economy has failed humankind completely. It has, without any exaggeration, pushed our biosphere to its absolute limits, all the while exploiting workers, endangering human health and poisoning our fellow creatures.  

The extractive economy is why people are trying to halt our actions on climate.  It’s Naomi Klein’s shock doctrine in full regalia.  There is money to be made when an entire city needs to be rebuilt.  These vested interests don’t seem to understand that if one degree of global warming is already causing climate chaos, two or three or four degrees are not going to be habitable.  You can’t cash those lucrative checks when civilization has been wiped out.

But, I believe very strongly that there is a different path.  Working together, I believe we can find it.  That is why I am here and why I’m involved in this effort.  I believe we can dream here together today, and tomorrow create a vision for what Los Angeles can look like in 2025, for what it can look like in 2028 when our City is on display to the world for the Olympics.  And beyond.

In a time of chaos, the clearest vision will win the day.  A clear vision, backed by a massive, focused, diverse people’s movement, will take us into a vibrant, equitable, just, regenerative and peaceful future.

To do that, we need to understand and transform each of the cultural, political, economic, and social dimensions of the climate emergency.  The groundwork toward this kind of Energy Democracy is being laid by people like Dr. Cecilia Martinez and the Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy, but it is also happening right here in Los Angeles in work being done by the people you are sitting among.  Ending neighborhood oil drilling, divesting from corrupt banks, closing down Aliso Canyon, fighting to clean up the Port, we are already on the frontlines of climate justice.  Now, over the next day and a half, we need to build trust, build relationships, share ideas, step out of our silos and find the common ground that binds us together.  

Let’s find the issues we can agree upon and, together, in strong coalition, move forward and fight for the future we want, under the tight ticking clock climate timeline we need.

It’s time for a true World War II level climate justice mobilization and it’s time to do it together, here in Los Angeles, for all our sakes.  

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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.