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San Francisco and Chico declare a Climate Emergency

San Francisco becomes the largest city in the region to declare climate emergency, joining Berkeley, Richmond, Oakland, Alameda, Hayward, and Fairfax in a growing regional coalition of cities set on a just transition and climate action at emergency speed. Chico, California, located in a region wracked by climate shocks in recent years, has also declared a climate emergency.

 San Francisco Supervisor Rafael Mandelman and supporters announce the declaration of Climate Emergency resolution in February. (Image: Mothers Out Front)
San Francisco Supervisor Rafael Mandelman and supporters announce the declaration of Climate Emergency resolution in February. (Image: Mothers Out Front)

San Francisco declares a Climate Emergency

On April 2, San Francisco Supervisors unanimously passed a resolution sponsored by Supervisor Rafael Mandelman declaring a Climate Emergency. This resolution is the result of the efforts of local activists and sets the stage for accelerated action to reduce the city’s emissions at emergency speed.

The resolution commissions a technical report from city staff and calls for a public hearing to discuss strategies for deep emissions reductions.

The groups championing this resolution include SF Tomorrow, Bayview Hunters Point Community Advocates, Mothers Out Front, 350 Bay Area, 350 SF, Citizens’ Climate Lobby SF, Sierra Club SF Group, SF Labor Council, SEIU 1021, Jobs with Justice, and others.

In passing this resolution, San Francisco joins other major metropolitan cities including Los Angeles, Vancouver, Canada and London, England in advancing the Climate Emergency Movement.

Click here for a map of declared cities and a spreadsheet listing the over 400 local governments representing over 40 million people, that have declared a Climate Emergency.

As a result of the leadership and collaboration of established community and labor groups, in consultation with resolution sponsor Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, the final resolution includes a strong focus on environmental justice, the central role of organized labor, and support for frontline communities in the transition to a fossil fuel-free economy:

Be it resolved […] That labor unions and frontline environmental justice communities must be equitably and actively engaged in the City’s transition to a fossil-fuel free economy and prioritized through local climate mitigation and adaptation planning, policy, and program delivery, ensuring a just transition for all people; and, be it

Further resolved, That any legislation or projects started through the climate emergency process should consider union career opportunities, including training and retraining, and investments in working-class, low-income communities, and communities of color historically and disproportionality impacted by pollution, high unemployment, poverty and environmental injustice; and, be it

Further resolved, That as the City works on climate mitigation, it shall continue to advance climate adaptation efforts to address unavoidable current and future climate change impacts; and, be it

Further resolved, That the Board of Supervisors will work with the Mayor’s office, the Controller, and the Capital Planning Committee to develop a budget that enables urgent climate action, avoids further investment of public dollars in fossil-fuel reliant infrastructure when there are clean energy alternatives, supports public sector employees, and ensures a climate resilient future for all San Franciscans.

The full text of the San Francisco resolution is available here.

San Francisco becomes the largest city in the region to declare climate emergency, joining Berkeley, Richmond, Oakland, Alameda, Hayward, and Fairfax in a growing regional coalition of cities set on a just transition and climate action at emergency speed in one of the most innovative and also most economically stratified regions in the world.

Along with the state’s legacy of environmental advancement, the success of this regional declaration effort, combined with the momentum to build the world’s first Climate Emergency Mobilization Department within the City of Los Angeles, puts California in a leadership position as the Climate Emergency Movement develops and grows.

In the face of climate shocks, Chico California declares a Climate Emergency

On April 2, Chico, California joined the growing Climate Emergency Movement. In a five-to-one vote, the Chico City Council adopted a resolution “Declaring a Climate Emergency, Requesting Regional Collaboration on an Immediate Just Transition and Initiating an Emergency Mobilization Effort to Restore a Safe Climate,” which includes a commitment to “eliminating citywide greenhouse gas emissions as quickly as possible and no later than 2030.”

Led by 350 Chico, this efforts was bolstered by people who lost their homes in recent fires and dedicated their time and energy to this effort. Local groups supporting this resolution include the Butte Environmental Council, Chico Peace and Justice Center, Butte County NAACP, Democratic Action Club of Chico, North Valley Housing Trust, Women On Reproductive Defense, Yahi Group of Sierra Club, The Women’s March on Chico, Chico Community Guilds, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Chico, Stonewall Alliance of Chico, Chico DSA, Mobilize Chico, Butte County Health Care Coalition, Northstate Labor Federation, and the AFL-CIO.

The resolution includes key commitments such as:

  • Establishing a staff supported “Climate Emergency Commission with a diverse and inclusive representation of residents;”

  • Commitment to a Just Transition through the creation of “jobs which guarantee good pay and comprehensive benefits;”

  • and deliberative democracy, which underscores the need for full community participation, inclusion, and support to plan and implement these measures.

The full text of the Chico resolution is available here.

The calls from the community to declare Climate Emergency were supported by the evidence on the ground.

The region has been wracked by severe climate shocks in recent years—the Chico metropolitan area includes the town of Paradise, which was decimated by the Camp Fire in November of last year, which claimed 85 lives and burned over 18,000 structures, becoming California’s most deadly fire to date. Thousands of residents were displaced, many moving to the city of Chico itself.

In 2017 the Oroville Dam, the tallest dam in the U.S., which is located in the area, came dangerously close to failure after the wettest winter in 100 years degraded the dam’s main spillway, and forced the use of the unpaved emergency spillway. This led to an incredibly tense emergency evacuation of the towns downstream, as residents watched to see if their entire community would be flooded—luckily the rains subsided enough to get ahead of the flow and repair the spillway.

36 speakers attended Tuesday’s meeting to weigh in on the resolution, with the vast majority in support. In what attendees took as a sign of the significance of the vote the meeting was forced to adjourn early because of a severe hail storm and flooding risk.

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Alexia Leclerq

Network Coach

Alexia (she/they) is an environmental justice organizer based in Austin, TX. They graduated summa cum laude from NYU (’20), where they self-designed a major titled “The Politics and Economics of Inequality.” Their research focuses on political ecology, environmental justice, AAPI communities, inequality, postcolonialism. As an organizer and researcher they have spent the past 5 years working on various issues from preserving the Colorado River, water rights, fighting land use policy and zoning that enforces race-based discrimination, conducting ethnographic research on climate health, to organizing mutual aid, youth programming, and shaping national legislation alongside members of the Environmental Justice Leadership Forum and the Environmental Justice Health Alliance; today Alexia continues to work as an organizer with PODER, a grassroots EJ org. Alexia is also the co-founder of Start: Empowerment, a BIPOC led social and environmental justice education non-profit working with youth, educators, activists, and community members to implement justice-focused education and programming in schools and community spaces. S:E curriculum and programming has reached over 2,000 students, been recognized by the NYC Department of Education, and taught in universities. In 2021, their work was recognized by the prestigious Brower Youth Award.

Emmett Hopkins

National Organizer

Emmett organizes local-scale mobilization for the Sonoma County campaign, while supporting Climate Mobilization’s organizing efforts around the country. He brings over a decade of experience collaborating with diverse stakeholders to build community food systems, ensure equitable access to public lands, and mobilize resources towards a just transition to an amazing zero carbon future. He graduated from Stanford with a BS in Earth Systems and MS in Urban Planning & Sustainable Design. Emmett enjoys growing food and cultivating relationships, riding bikes and buses, and reimagining our communities to better serve all the people living in them.

Suha Dabbouseh

National Organizer

National Organizer Suha Dabbouseh leads national strategy for The Climate Mobilization. They are originally from Chicago but have lived, organized and rebel-roused in seven states and 11 cities. Suha received their law degree from CUNY-School of Law where they focused on social justice lawyering representing detainees at Guantanamo Bay. While practicing law, Suha had worked to advocate on behalf of domestic violence survivors, transgender clients and fighting employment discrimination. Their passion is building people power and organizing to dismantle structural inequities.

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.

Mariyah Jahangiri

Network Organizer

Mariyah leads Climate Mobilization Network’s recruitment, coordination, and organizing support. She has organized across movements and is passionate about addressing white supremacy in the mainstream climate movement and building capacity for youth-led, BIPOC-led intersectional climate movements. She has been inspired by her experiences organizing to defund the police in Boston, supporting mutual aid and food sovereignty projects in Iowa, Atlanta, and Puerto Rico, and working on a Make Big Polluters Pay campaign. Mariyah worked as an organizer with the Bernie Sanders 2020 campaign and Planned Parenthood PAC. She graduated from Grinnell College with a Sociology degree.

Rebecca Harris

Co-Leader and Director of Organizing

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

Co-Leader and Director of Operations
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.

Meghann Beer

Co-Leader and Director of Resource Mobilization and Strategy

Meghann brings more than 20 years of nonprofit management and fundraising experience to The Climate Mobilization and Climate Mobilization Project. For over a decade Meghann has worked as a nonprofit consultant helping organizations expand their capacity, secure revenue, develop successful strategies, and effectively evaluate their programs, enabling them to create greater positive change in the world. She has also worked as an executive director, designed and facilitated international service learning experiences, and taught university courses in fundraising and nonprofit management. Meghann earned a MPA in Nonprofit Management and Comparative and International Affairs from The School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University, in Bloomington, IN and a BA in Art History and American Studies from Tufts University in Boston, MA.

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.

Zack Burley

Policy Associate

Zack provides policy support for the Climate Mobilization team, and brings a versatile set of policy skills and experiences in labor organizing, journalism, legislative politics, and legal practice to the climate emergency movement. Zack earned a JD from Denver University Sturm College of Law, is a founding organizer of the Political Workers Guild of Colorado, and formerly served as a legislative aide in the Colorado General Assembly.

AriDy Nox

Co-Leader and Director of Narrative Strategy

 AriDy Nox is a multi-disciplinary black femme storyteller and social activist with a variety of forward-thinking creative works under her/their belt. They create out of the vehement belief that creating a future in which marginalized peoples are free requires a radical imagination. Their tales are offerings intended to function as small parts of an ancient, expansive, awe-inspiring tradition of world-shaping, created by and for black femmes. They have over a decade of experience as a young social activist and organizer, within reproductive justice and racial justice frameworks with organizations like the Young Women of Color Leadership Council with Advocates for Youth, the Toni Cade Bamabara Collective at Spelman College and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated. They bring creativity, enthusiasm and a tremendous capacity for organization to her/their role and deep belief that times of apocalypse are opportunities for rebirth. We need first imagine the world we want in order to create it.