Ann+Arbor

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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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.