tcm endorses bernie

Our Journey with Bernie

Over five years ago, we founded The Climate Mobilization. We started TCM because we saw a dangerous vacuum in our political system, the environmental movement, and our society as a whole. We faced an accelerating climate emergency and ecological crisis that threatened to cause the collapse of civilization and clearly required a WWII-scale mobilization to save us, but there was no organized political force articulating these truths, much less harnessing them to shift society and governments into an emergency mode of response. In the face of a tacit agreement between fossil fuel companies, most media outlets, and society-at-large to pretend that nothing was wrong and that climate breakdown was decades away, we committed ourselves to breaking this lethal silence and building a movement rooted in climate truth.

As we enter into the most critical moment of decision our species has ever faced, a new Climate Emergency Movement is rising around the world. We are extremely proud of the role we have played in building it. Humanity’s collective survival instinct is kicking in. Civilization is beginning to break down under the stress of accelerating climate impacts and inequality, but the growing movements around the world give us hope that we still canprevent climate and ecological collapse, pass through the crisis, and usher in a new dawn for humanity.

We did not always see as much reason for hope. Climate politics in the Obama era was mostly a desolate wasteland of euphemism and gradualism – a world where the truths we worked to elevate were exotic and taboo. It was in this surreal context that we intervened in the 2016 presidential election to advance our core themes of climate truth, climate emergency, and climate mobilization.

Several days before the 2016 Iowa Caucuses, we partnered with Bold Iowato hold a Climate Emergency Caucus in Des Moines, where we invited surrogates for each of the presidential candidates to make the case for why their preferred candidate was the right one to lead a World War II-scale mobilization to restore a safe climate. Senator Bernie Sanders won with 69% of the vote, according to the Des Moines Register.

A few days later, we connected with Bernie’s campaign. It was the beginning of a four year conversation about the climate and ecological emergency and what really needs to be done to save humanity from it.

Over the following months, as the primary ramped up, Bernie proceeded to escalate his rhetoric on climate – and to take it in a direction that felt very familiar. At a CNN debate with Hillary Clinton in April, he said:

We have a crisis of historical consequence here, and incrementalism, and those little steps are not enough. Not right now, not on climate change … In 1941, under Franklin Delano Roosevelt, we moved within three years — within three years — to rebuild our economy to defeat Nazism and Japanese imperialism. That is exactly the kind of approach we need right now.

Back in 2016, this was a startling statement to hear on national television from any figure, much less a major presidential candidate. Bernie was getting out ahead of the vast majority of the climate movement and calling for a total mobilization to address climate breakdown at emergency speed! Ian Dunlop, a global sustainability leader, described it this way:

This is the first time I’ve heard anybody politically, honestly starting to talk about what the problem really is and the type of speed of reaction we have to make. Finally, we’re getting the truth.

Throughout the primary, we worked with allies to urge Bernie to continue to shatter the silence on the climate and ecological emergency. We joined forces with our now-advisory board chair, Russell Greene, who Sanders had appointed to the Democratic Party Platform committee. At the hearings of the platform committee, Russell, who is also the strategic adviser to the Progressive Democrats of America, passed a historic amendment into the party’s national platform declaring climate change a global emergency and calling for a “mobilization on a scale not seen since World War II” to save civilization from the climate crisis:

Climate change poses an urgent and severe threat to our national security, and Democrats believe it would be a grave mistake for the United States to wait for another nation to take the lead in combating the global climate emergency… We believe the United States must lead in forging a robust global solution to the climate crisis. We are committed to a national mobilization, and to leading a global effort to mobilize nations to address this threat on a scale not seen since World War II. In the first 100 days of the next administration, the President will convene a summit of the world’s best engineers, climate scientists, policy experts, activists, and indigenous communities to chart a course to solve the climate crisis. 

Commenting on Russell’s amendment and the Party’s 2016 platform in general, The Guardian’s George Monbiot wrote, “Where it is good it is very good, reflecting the influence of Bernie Sanders and the nominees he proposed to the drafting committee.” Monbiot was right. Bernie Sanders was instrumental in opening up the political space that has allowed the concept of a national mobilization to address climate change to become normalized. Many of the key Green New Deal organizations either emerged out of his 2016 campaign or were inspired by it, as well.

During the Great Climate Awakening of the late 2010s, Sanders continued to engage with the growing Climate Emergency Movement. Last year, as the global climate emergency declaration campaign was taking off, we worked with the offices of Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Senator Sanders to draft the Congressional Climate Emergency Declaration introduced in the House and Senate. The declaration expresses the sense of Congress that climate change is a national emergency and calls for a massive-scale mobilization to restore a safe climate. Thanks to the leadership of the three sponsoring offices and the tenacious campaigning of the ClimateEmergency.US coalition, the declaration now has 97 co-sponsors in the House and nine in the Senate, and has helped to shift the national narrative on climate. 

During the rollout and in an interviewwith the Iowa Press-Citizen, Sanders also explicitly connected the Senate congressional climate emergency declaration to our local climate emergency campaign, applauding cities and local organizers for their leadership in declaring climate emergencies, and preparing local governments and communities for mobilization. After we rolled out the resolution, Bernie repeatedly spoke about it from the debate stage and incorporated many key elements of this resolution into his Green New Deal plan, which explicitly calls for the declaration of a national climate emergency and a massive-scale mobilization to reverse the effects of climate change. 

Over the years, we have at times been critical of Bernie’s climate plans and legislation. Bernie and his staff have responded to this feedback with continued engagement and a willingness to strengthen their approach to the climate and ecological emergency. This is real leadership. It gives us hope that a Bernie Sanders administration, which we are committed to making a reality, will be the world’s first Climate Mobilization Presidency. 

–   Ezra Silk & Margaret Klein Salamon, co-founders, The Climate Mobilization

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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.