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A county of one million declares first-in-nation climate emergency

On Tuesday December 5, thanks to the efforts of TCM organizers, the County Council of Montgomery County, Maryland unanimously passed a resolution declaring climate emergency, making it the first county in the nation to do so.

  The Washington Post's  coverage of the historic resolution was picked up by the Associated Press and broadcast to over 50 outlets around the country.
The Washington Post’s coverage of the historic resolution was picked up by the Associated Press and broadcast to over 50 outlets around the country.

The Trump administration is busy waging war on the environment, but Climate Mobilizers are on the ground, playing offense — building power for emergency climate mobilization.

On Tuesday December 5, thanks to the efforts of TCM organizers, the County Council of Montgomery County, Maryland unanimously passed a resolution declaring climate emergency — making it the first county in the nation to do so.

The County also moved its emissions reductions goal up from 80% in 2050 to 100% by 2035, and is newly greatly emphasizing the need for developing and scaling the county’s capacity for carbon drawdown.

The Council set an interim goal of 80% by 2027. It also greatly expanded the coverage of these goals, from increasing renewable sources of electricity to the elimination of ALL greenhouse gases (GHG) from ANY source in the County. This marks a huge step, as generating electricity typically accounts for only about a third of  GHG.

The resolution was sponsored by Councilmembers Marc Elrich, George Lebenthal and Council president Roger Berliner, and cosponsored by Councilmember Tom Hucker.

“In this era of federal insanity, local governments must not settle for rubber stamping Paris, but step up and do enough to save us,” said Dr. Jim Driscoll, coordinator of the local chapter of The Climate Mobilization (TCM), which launched this effort.

The effort was commended by noted local climate leaders. Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Hip-Hop Caucus president and Montgomery County resident, as well as TCM advisor, said, “Wealthy communities like Montgomery County add far more than our share to climate change, while poor communities and those targeted by racism bear the brunt of its effects. I pray that others across the country will follow our lead.”

 From the right, gathering outside the Montgomery County (MD) Council Meeting room are Jim Driscoll, Coordinator, MOCO Chapter of The Climate Mobilizaton (TCM), outgoing Council President Roger Berliner, Councilmembers George Leventhal and Marc Elrich, TCM Fellow Kevin Flatt, Jeff Weisner, President of the 350MOCO Steering Committee, Councilmember Tom Hucker.
From the right, gathering outside the Montgomery County (MD) Council Meeting room are Jim Driscoll, Coordinator, MOCO Chapter of The Climate Mobilizaton (TCM), outgoing Council President Roger Berliner, Councilmembers George Leventhal and Marc Elrich, TCM Fellow Kevin Flatt, Jeff Weisner, President of the 350MOCO Steering Committee, Councilmember Tom Hucker.

Dr. Michael Mann, noted climate scientist and member of the TCM advisory board commented on the resolution’s passage, saying: “There is no carbon budget left to avoid catastrophe. We need every local government to follow Montgomery County’s example and get rid of all its emissions, not in thirty years, but ASAP.”

TCM Organizers Jim Driscoll and Herb Simmens succeeded in spearheading this effort because they got organized and built alliances. And that’s what is going to help us mobilize Los Angeles, and ultimately the whole country.

While it’s not yet the decade transition The Climate Mobilization demands, in a county representing over one million residents and a stone’s throw away from our climate-denying federal government, this resolution marks a powerful turn away from gradualism. And we’re only going to keep pushing until we get the full mobilization we need.

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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.