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Ten Years to Zero: A newsletter of the Climate Emergency Movement

11k+ Scientists Declare Climate Emergency, Climate Breakdown in California, Fighting Fossil Fuel Producers in Court

 11,000+ Scientists Declare Climate Emergency

The scientific community is sounding the alarm, with a group of over 11,000 scientists from 153 countries banding together to publish a paper in the journal BioScience stating ““We declare clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency.” Citing their moral obligation to speak up, the scientists warn of “untold suffering due to the climate crisis” and convey their thinking with precise data collected over 40 years that brought them to their conclusion.  Click the graphs to the right to read the full paper

The paper calls for massive changes across all sectors of society to combat the crisis, and underscores the possibilities for “greater human well-being” inherent in a just transition away from fossil fuels. 

The Washington Post linked this statement to our Climate Emergency Campaign efforts: 

The term “climate emergency” has been championed by climate activists and pro-climate action politicians seeking to add a sense of urgency to the way we respond to what is a long-term problem. The Climate Mobilization, an advocacy group, is seeking to have governments in the United States and elsewhere declare a climate emergency and enact response measures commensurate with such a declaration … To date, scientists have been reluctant to use such language. However, this study may change that.”

Declaration Update

The hard work of local Climate Emergency organizers paid off in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where city counselors voted unanimously to declare Climate Emergency on November 4. The measure calls on Ann Arbor to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030, in alignment with our demands. 

Since January 1, 2019, there has been a 404% increase in the number of governments that have declared a Climate Emergency. Last month Malta became the eighth national government to declare, joining the UK, Republic of Ireland, Portugal, Canada, Argentina, Spain, and Austria. This data is being tracked here, please feel welcome to share it.

Some cities that have already declared are beginning to mobilize. Berkeley’s ban on natural gas in new construction is proliferating — 13 cities in California have passed similar measures, including San José, which passed a strong Climate Emergency declaration  in September and is now working to live up to it. 

Local action is desperately needed, as the national governments are failing to act or moving backward. On November 4, the Trump administration announced it will begin the yearlong process of withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord — an effort to keep warming within a still-deadly and unacceptable 2 degrees. (Check out The Climate Mobilization’s Communication Director Malik Russell commenting on the withdrawal in The New York Times.) 

 Image:  telegraph.co.uk
Image: telegraph.co.uk

In better news, Canadian voters endorsed climate change action in that country’s national elections last month; after the election, two-thirds of Members of Parliament support a carbon tax.

Climate Chaos in California

California has been burning and without power. Last week the Kincaid fire spread to more than 77,000 acres (close to twice the size of San Francisco), forcing the evacuation of 200,000 people. A ring of fires now dot the outskirts of Los Angeles, forcing more evacuations and threatening homes. Many of these fires were caused by wind damage to electrical equipment — despite a “Public Safety Planned Shutoff” by Northern California’s major utility company, PG&E, that shut off power to nearly 3 million people for days at a time. 

 Image: nbcnews.com
Image: nbcnews.com

For millions of people in California the chaos, uncertainty, and physical danger of the climate crisis made itself painfully clear this month. Higher global temperatures produce drier, hotter weather punctuated by more intense rainfall — leading to increased plant growth that becomes dense fuel each autumn. 

Housing policies have pushed population growth in the fire-vulnerable wildlife urban interface, and a  profit-driven, privately owned power company  has failed to make the necessary infrastructure improvements to keep Californians safe.

California’s wildfires show us what states can and must do to radically alter how people live with an already-altered natural environment. Among these concrete steps — detailed in the Climate Mobilization’s Victory Plan — is the development of a “SuperSmart Grid” that uses decentralized, solar-based power generation to maintain highly resilient, flexible sources of energy, with zero carbon emissions. Advanced renewable energy microgrids onsite at critical facilities are a straightforward step to providing some resilience in the face of continued power shut offs and fires.

Taking on Fossil Fuel Extractors in Court

Cities and states throughout the U.S. are bringing lawsuits against oil, gas, and coal companies, arguing that the companies’ extraction, promotion, and sale of fossil fuels has led to rising sea levels, increased flooding, and more frequent extreme weather events — thereby creating a public nuisance. Litigating these cases means revealing how fossil fuel companies have lied to the public and going after companies that are still expanding drilling, endangering us all.  

The U.S. Supreme Court delivered a significant victory to the latest campaign of public nuisance suits in October, rejecting an appeal from oil companies and allowing the cases to proceed. Coastal cities like Baltimore and states like Rhode Island will now have a chance to demand documents, present evidence, and seek remedies for the damages they are already suffering as a result of climate change. 

Along with legal action, this year’s presidential primary campaign has seen a broader shift among national politicians in the U.S. placing blame for climate chaos with the fossil fuel companies and demanding that climate action begin with a ban on new production.

If you’re interested in learning more about lawsuits aimed at remediating the effects of, or demanding a stop to, carbon production, the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law maintains an incredible online resource for tracking climate change litigation in the U.S. and internationally.

Parenting in an Emergency

For parents, living with climate truth brings particular heartbreak and challenges. As Climate Mobilization Project board member Shuo Peskoe-Yang put it recently in an interview with NPR, “the future as it has been promised to [us], is not what that will be” for our children. The interview covers ways to minimize the trauma children experience while making clear the stakes and empowering them to act. 

Researchers recommend talking openly about climate, cultivating a love of nature (even if only in the local park), and encouraging and supporting children as they engage directly in activism with parents or peers.

In Italy this week the government voted to take on the work of those conversations in schools, making a climate change and sustainability curriculum mandatory in all grades.

 Image: forbes.com
Image: forbes.com

Greta beetle

Finally, on a lighter note — entomologists have named a new beetle species after Greta Thunberg. The researcher who identified and classified the Nelloptodes gretae from a sample at London’s Natural History Museum chose the name to honor the climate activist and her campaign to save planetary biodiversity — and human life — from climate catastrophe.

Thank you for your interest and commitment to this work! Visit our webpage to find out how you can join the movement to protect humanity and the natural world from climate breakdown. 

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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 and Managing Director of Climate Mobilization Project

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 Executive Director of Climate Mobilization Project

Margaret leads organizational strategy for The Climate Mobilization and Climate Mobilization Project. In this role she has helped catalyze a burgeoning worldwide Climate Emergency Movement. 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 climate change. She is author of Facing the Climate Emergency: How to Transform yourself with Climate Truth available from New Society Publishers in April, 2020.

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.