By Margaret Klein Salamon and Matt Renner
Today we are letting our community know that Ezra Silk has moved on from The Climate Mobilization (TCM) and is pursuing other opportunities to advance an emergency response to climate change.
TCM has played a key role in shifting the politics of climate change, and Ezra has been at the heart of that shift. As Co-Founder, Strategy & Policy Director, and Deputy Director and a member of our Leadership Team, Ezra has always summoned his rigor, brilliance, strategic instincts, and collaborative style to effectively advance our mission.
Inspired by Margaret’s call for a national climate mobilization effort, Ezra spent his early days at TCM developing the organization with Margaret and defining our policy paradigm: A whole-of-government mobilization to restore a safe climate. This work culminated in our policy platform as well as two major publications: The Case for Climate Mobilization and The Victory Plan. The Victory Plan, Ezra’s sweeping blueprint for a national climate emergency response, recruited many to join TCM and emboldened key climate movement leaders to start advocating for solutions at the scope, scale and speed necessary to solve climate change.
Ezra then turned fully to advocacy and organizing work, committed to building political support for a whole-of-government climate response that, unlike the incremental approaches predominant at the time, would protect all people and species from the ravages of climate catastrophe and build a fair and equitable economy.
First, Ezra played a central role in our team’s campaign to elevate our platform in the 2016 presidential election, which resulted in Senator Bernie Sanders and the Democratic Party Platform Committee adopting our call for a Climate Mobilization on a scale not seen since World War II.
Following the 2016 elections, Ezra recognized the need and opportunity to build climate emergency campaigns at the local level. To this end, Ezra advised the Office of Councilmember Paul Koretz and served on the L.A. Leap Coalition Leadership Team from 2017-2019, to help advance L.A. Leap’s campaign that passed multiple pieces of legislation declaring a climate emergency and establishing and funding the world’s first Climate Emergency Mobilization Office.
Thanks to TCM’s deliberate efforts to spread the climate emergency campaign across the country and to the United Kingdom, the example set by the L.A. project helped set in motion a chain of events that led over 31 countries and 1,800 sub-national governments collectively representing over 820 million people across the world to officially declare a climate emergency. The declarations in turn led to concrete climate emergency policies, including the City of Berkeley’s historic ordinance banning natural gas in new buildings, which resulted in a wave of similar building electrification mandates across the country. The resulting 10,796% increase in the use of the phrase “climate emergency” also led the Oxford Dictionary to declare Climate Emergency the Word of the Year 2019.
In 2019, Ezra also played a central role in drafting the Climate Emergency Resolution (H.Res.52 and S.Con.Res.22) introduced by Senator Sanders and Representatives Earl Blumenauer and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, as well as convening the national coalition that supported it. This campaign won support for the resolution from 113 members of Congress (including Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris and seven other presidential candidates). It also inspired The New Yorker’s endorsement of a national declaration of climate emergency and the World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency now signed by over 13,000 scientists.
Ezra’s contribution to TCM, and the climate movement at large, has been enormous. While we are pleased he will be joining our Advisory Board, we will very much miss working with him on a day-to-day basis. We are confident he will continue to have a significant and lasting impact in the years to come and we look forward to future collaborations.
Margaret Klein Salamon is the Founding Chair of The Climate Mobilization and Climate Mobilization Project, and Matt Renner is the Executive Director of The Climate Mobilization and Climate Mobilization Project.