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Thoughts on Ukraine and Climate Mobilization News

*Photo by Tina Hartung on Unsplash
Climate Mobilization News

The situation in the Ukraine continues to escalate and the climate implications cannot be understated. We have dedicated a whole section of this newsletter to talk about it in depth below. 

We are thrilled to be one of ten finalists for The American Climate Leadership Award! Join us for ecoAmerica’s 2022 American Climate Leadership Summit on March 28 and find out if we win the $50,000 grand prize! Register here

We are also excited to welcome our new Climate Mobilization Network members: Extinction Rebellion Houston, Houston TX; Fridays for Future, Los Angeles; Indigenous People of the Coastal Bend, Corpus Christi, Texas; NC WARN, Durham, NC; and Youth Emergency Auxiliary Service Sierra Leone, East Sierra Leone.

The Climate Mobilization Network is a learning community of organizers from across the US that is sharing skills and connections, and receiving coaching and mentoring. If you are part of a group that is interested in joining the network, get in touch with us here

Please join us for the March 30 Network meeting, featuring a presentation and Q&A with Anna Siegel – a youth activist and lead organizer from Maine Youth for Climate Justice (MYCJ). Anna will share how MYCJ is navigating financial opportunities and challenges for implementing climate emergency policy – including current federal funding opportunities and state-to-municipal funding channels. TCM policy expert Zack Burley will share an analysis of funding sources available for implementing climate policies that create regenerative local economies. You can sign up here

Stop the Money pipeline is giving those of us who bank with Chase, Citibank, Wells Fargo and Bank of America the opportunity to send a letter to bank leaders, demanding that they stop funding fossil fuels and deforestation. Since the Paris Agreement was signed, Wall Street banks have loaned nearly $1.2 trillion to the fossil fuel industry ― money that is used to build new coal mines and oil pipelines. But customers of these banks are beginning to catch on. Since September, nearly 10,000 customers of Chase, Citibank, Wells Fargo and Bank of America have joined the Customers for Climate Justice campaign and signed on to open letters to the CEOs of their banks. Customers have a special leverage to demand that their bank does better. Click here to send a letter! 

Climate Mobilization Project is thrilled to be joining Power Shift Network, a national community of organizations who work with young leaders to fight for climate justice. Power Shift is leading network weaving that centers BIPOC-led climate movements, and we are so excited to be collaborating with and expanding our partnership work with them moving forward.   

Team Spotlight

Meet Mariyah Jahangiri, our 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.

Ukraine Invasion

We want to share a few words about the escalating situation in the Ukraine: 

Let us state first and foremost that we are devastated by this war and mourn with the rest of the world as we are forced to watch a country destroyed by the greed of another country’s leaders. It is not a reach to say that the same power-hoarding that has led to this political crisis drives the climate crisis. And with that in mind we want to note that among the humanitarian, refugee, and geopolitical consequences the world is grappling with, the climate implications (both risks and opportunities) are gargantuan and cannot be overstated.

For example, Germany canceled the NordStream 2 fossil gas line with Russia immediately after the invasion started, and has since declared a commitment to 100% renewable energy by 2035 – but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Bill McKibbon wrote a “Heat Pumps for Peace” article, which has since made its way to White House discussions, detailing how the U.S. can support the people of Ukraine and further energy security goals by rapidly decarbonizing and eliminating reliance on petro-state dictators. Over 200 organizations, including TCM, have once again called with invigorated energy on Biden to declare a climate emergency and utilize the Defense Production Act to rapidly transition away from fossil fuels. Again we can clearly see that tackling the climate crisis means tackling all that it is interconnected with, including fascism. 

But the conflict has also brought old bigotries to the surface — there are no shortage of examples of selective treatment of refugees from a “European” conflict, as opposed to refugees from many other parts of the world. And even within that selective treatment, African refugees from the same country are being denied the right to evacuate. To put it plainly, a Just Transition is not possible while people of color are treated as less worthy of compassion than white people. Whether a refugee comes from Ukraine, from Afghanistan, or from a California fire zone — everyone will need to commit to each other’s humanity because the crisis threatens all of us.

There’s another character in this story that must be named: Oil and gas corporations. For decades, these fossil fuel companies have undermined America’s security and enabled petrostate dictators like Putin, but also facilitated atrocities of similar regimes like Saudi Arabia and the ongoing bombing campaigns in Yemen. Although American oil majors like Exxon have pulled out of the Gazprom project in Russia, they continue to use war to lobby for more fossil fuel reliance, more drilling, and currently are price gouging and profiting off the conflict. It is a good step to see some members of Congress call for a windfall profits tax on oil and gas — the fight against these agents of inhumanity has entered a new stage, and we can all do our part by joining the climate movement and making sure nobody ever needs their product ever again.

Learning opportunity

Checkout part three of “Hoodwinked in the Hot House,” a webinar co-hosted and organized by Hoodwinked Collaborative and The New School, focusing on making sure that federal and state funds meant to fight climate change are not taken by corporations offering false solutions. Along with debunking false solutions, this webinar will highlight inspiring stories of success led by environmental justice communities. 

This panel was preceded by Hoodwinked in the Hothouse I: Examining False Corporate Schemes being advanced through the Paris Agreement, and by Hoodwinked in the Hothouse Part II: Frontline Voices of Indigenous Resistance beyond Climate False Solutions. The recording of these events is available here and here.

Support this work 

Can you pitch in to invest in this critical work? Every donation helps speed up the transition we need towards climate justice at emergency speed. Thank you for being a part of this movement! 

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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.