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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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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.