Amidst Coronavirus Shutdown, Big Win Emerges in Battle for Climate

March 31, 2020—After declaring a Climate Emergency in November, Ann Arbor, Michigan has drafted a $1 billion groundbreaking climate plan to get to carbon neutrality by 2030. Advocates see Ann Arbor’s A2 Zero Living Carbon Neutrality Plan as a transformative policy shift that will set a model for other cities around the nation and world in preparing for the Climate Emergency. 

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“Many have asked what cities should do after they declare a Climate Emergency. Ann Arbor is showing us the answer,” said Margaret Klein Salamon, executive director of The Climate Mobilization. “Even in this moment of national crisis around COVID-19, local organizers and leaders are focused on protecting our future. This is Leadership — something that is in very short supply at the national level. This plan demonstrates that local leaders can take responsibility for setting priorities that align with the critical needs of their communities. This is what the future looks like, if there’s going to be one,” added Salamon, author of the forthcoming book Facing The Climate Emergency: How to Transform Yourself with Climate Truth.

In May 2019, local activists from The Climate Mobilization Ann Arbor chapter brought a petition to their Mayor and City Council to declare a Climate Emergency and commit to a local emergency response on climate. After a months-long campaign, Ann Arbor passed a Climate Emergency Declaration in November 2019 committing the city to developing a draft plan to reach city-wide carbon neutrality by 2030. The city of Ann Arbor then launched the A2Zero initiative, through which the city worked with the public, experts, and over 50 organizational partners over the past five months to develop the draft plan.

The now-published A2Zero plan includes measures to transition to a 100% renewable electricity grid, transitioning off of fossil fuels, energy efficiency, and reducing resource consumption across the community, and would lead to an investment of over $1 billion over the next 10 years — a bold commitment from a city of just over 120,000 residents, and represents one of the strongest local plans presented by a city after passing a Climate Emergency Declaration.

“From expanding community-owned solar and zero-emissions public transportation, to reducing food waste and engaging local residents in the climate planning process, Ann Arbor is demonstrating that it is possible to building the foundations of truly regenerative future when community is supported by strong political leadership,” said Laura Berry, The Climate Mobilization’s Director of Research and Publications. “The A2Zero Carbon Neutrality Strategy is a clear example of how even a small city can take back its future through emergency-speed action working to cut greenhouse gas emissions and transition away from fossil fuels. It’s what governments all levels must do to prevent climate catastrophe,” she added.

Since last January, Climate Emergency declarations jumped from only 233 worldwide to currently 1484 declarations within 28 countries + EU, covering more than 10% of global population. In the United States these numbers have jumped from only 8 last January to 91 declarations in 24 states. 

Click here to see global Climate Emergency Declaration numbers.

The Climate Mobilization continues to push for support for legislation calling on Congress to declare a national Climate Emergency. HR. 52 – Introduced last June by Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) in the House and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in the Senate. The resolution has now gained over 100 cosponsors in the House of Representatives, and 8 in the Senate.

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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 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.