Climate Emergency Backstory with Paul Gilding

Margaret’s updated paper, Leading the Public Into Emergency Mode, gives the backstory, both theoretically and historically, of how the world started to wake up in late 2018, and what comes next. 

By Paul Gilding

I remember with crystal clarity my response when I first heard about the work of Margaret and The Climate Mobilisation. I thought “Is this it?”

Ten years earlier, 2005, I had written a paper titled Scream Crash Boom that expressed my grief at the inevitability of the crash and global crisis that was coming. I also argued that when the crash was in full flight, we would panic and respond, that we would wake up and recognise the crisis as existential and respond with a mobilization that was incomprehensible at that time. And it would most likely be successful.

Then I sat and waited. For 10 years.

Of course, I continued my advocacy work around the world, arguing that the crisis was inevitable and we should act ahead of it – because there was a huge opportunity in doing so. I wrote more papers including the One Degree War Plan which detailed what a Climate Emergency Plan could mean in practice. I wrote my book The Great Disruption which went to the central issue of our economic system. I kept at it, because I was hoping I was wrong – that we would act before the crisis took hold.

But in my heart, I knew I was right, that people weren’t going to – and therefore I was really just filling in time.

Then Margaret contacted me after forming The Climate Mobilization (TCM) and asked me to join the Advisory Board. And I thought “Is this it?” Are we ready to wake up? I dared to hope it was and so I was delighted to accept – and since then to endorse and support the work of Margaret and TCM in whatever small ways I could.

The way TCM saw the world was really difficult for the climate movement. Margaret beautifully illustrated just how difficult in her 2016 article Leading the Public into to Emergency Mode. The article deeply challenged pretty much the entire strategy of 20 years of climate activism. It argued for the truth. That we faced an existential crisis and nothing short of shifting urgently to emergency mode would be enough. But the truth of course can be deeply challenging.

For two more years, it was still a lonely idea. Luckily for all of us, TCM threw themselves against the wall of resistance, screaming and shouting at anyone who would listen. Tell the truth! We face an existential crisis! The house is on fire!

Then it happened. To the rest of the world, unexpectedly and out of nowhere. To those of us who knew this was coming, it was never unexpected. But it was certainly welcome.  Margaret’s updated paper, Leading the Public Into Emergency Mode: Introducing the Climate Movement gives the backstory, both theoretically and historically, of how the world started to wake up in late 2018, and what comes next.

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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.