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Climate Mobilization’s New Direction for 2023

2022 has been a momentous year for Climate Mobilization! With your support we have been hard at work:

Incubating victorious climate justice campaigns in California and Massachusetts that won fare-free transit, EV access for all and housing services;

Accelerating the work of Climate Mobilization Network member groups through coaching and learning opportunities; 

Building the leadership of dozens of organizers who are new to climate and social justice organizing;

And digging into a comprehensive strategic planning process to launch into a new direction.

Founded in 2014, TCM is rooted in catalyzing an emergency speed transformation to an equitable, negative emissions, climate-stable world. In our first era, we impacted the way people think and talk about climate change by creating and promoting the Climate Emergency Declaration – legislation driven by committed community members, and passed by local, state or national governments – committing to emergency-scale action to transition off fossil fuels. Our programs trained 850+ individuals in organizing and advocacy and supported 100+ emergency declaration campaign wins, including the first statewide declaration in Hawaii. 

In 2021, with an eye to the changing landscape of the climate movement, CMP strategically launched targeted local campaigns where our team’s experience, resources and focus on a just transition to clean energy could accelerate community organizing efforts. We focused on campaigns for ambitious, targeted policy reform in Acton, MA and Sonoma County, CA. Our campaign strategies were locally-rooted in coalition priorities, to advance a just transition to zero emissions – while also accelerating racial, economic, gender, housing and transportation justice. 

To ensure that local victories were analyzed, disseminated and replicated in communities across the country, we launched the Climate Mobilization Network in 2021. The Network has grown to a community of 43 member groups committed to ensuring a just transition. They have benefited from access to our dynamic library of resources; expert strategy coaching; and convening to learn from one another on topics including strategic direct action, coalition-building with frontline communities, financing ambitious climate justice projects, and defunding police as a core tenet of local climate justice. 

But as the climate movement has continued to evolve, so has CMP. While our local climate organizing campaigns have been extremely successful in building community power and shaping local climate policy, ultimately this year we had to take a step back from our work and reflect on the way local policy-oriented organizing is highly incremental and simply not enough when it comes to our accelerating climate catastrophe. 

Our movement needs an approach that bridges community organizing and mass movement approaches – and pulls together learnings from both of these approaches. 

When looking at the history of social movements in the US that were oriented to tackle environmental injustice, they have primarily been organized by Indigenous and Black communities. The history of environmental justice in the US is rooted in the resistance of Black, Indigenous, and POC (BIPOC) organizing against environmental inequities and degradation in communities of color, the history of the mainstream environmentalism movement greatly differs, and has not historically centered “justice” as a principle in their advocacy efforts.”

Climate Mobilization’s 2023 Pilot Programs: Political Education on Climate Survival, Healing Justice, Movement History and the Need for Escalated Direct Action

After processing our movement analysis, as well as the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and challenges of our current focus campaigns and Network – and realizing the need for more radical and inventive approaches to addressing the climate emergency – we decided to build for our pilot program to focus on building out a transformational, motivational and commitment-driven political education training program that builds understanding, alignment and action around the need for climate survival programs and escalated, coordinated, and creative direct action. 

This includes: 

  • Direct action strategy and tactics from Indigenous struggles, from the Global South & from history, encouraging participants to develop their emergent ideas
  • Why and how to start mutual aid based climate survival programs – pulling case studies for effective models of sustained community resilience 
  • Mass movement history  & state of current climate / need for climate survival 
  • Healing Justice organizing practices addressing burnout, trauma, climate grief at the root cause; integrating organizing and healing justice approaches into one, making climate organizing a more joyous, community-oriented, accessible, and sustainable practice for all peoples to get involved in – with a focus on building out leadership of resilience of frontline communities 

Why This: Political education is movement connective tissue and a key resource for organizers to become more resilient, effective and reflective. Climate organizing in the US is particularly disconnected from the important resources offered by movement history rooted in global context.

Why Now: This program addresses several emergent movement needs:

  • Burnout is at an all-time high, a signal to reflect, rebuild resilience, shift organizing practices across the movement to center healing, and re-root our organizations in movement history. 
  • Climate groups’ interest in direct action remains high, while increasing numbers of groups working on other issues will be trying to add climate programs. We will provide a container for this work. 
  • We’ve also heard concerns that the direct action toolbox and strategy need to be expanded and strengthened.

This program will forge common ground among a burgeoning climate survival movement that brings together climate and non-climate groups. Alignment and political education around direct action, healing justice and mass movement history is an unmet need across sectors; the training will also provide an appealing, approachable framework for groups new to climate work to launch climate survival programs. The focus is on moving people to launch direct action and climate survival programs, change their organizing practices (to incorporate a climate survival focus and become more healing justice centered), and access improved resilience in the work they are already doing.

What do we mean by political education? We think of political education as radical education that creates a political shift in consciousness, often grounded in accessible, working-class oriented, and popular education approaches.

What do we mean by climate survival? In the words of the former chief of staff of the Black Panther Party, survival programs are meant to “meet people’s immediate needs while simultaneously raising their consciousness”. Our climate survival training will encourage groups to create structures for mutual resilience focused on collective survival, healing justice, and disaster preparedness.

We are so thrilled to be building out our political education curriculum, movement partnerships, and structure for our new programs in the next couple of months – as well as catalyzing rapid-speed changes in partner groups’ theories of change to orient successfully around climate survival programs and creative, new direct action strategies that can be effectively coordinated and escalated.  

Next steps for CMP

We are so excited to share this major evolution of our strategy with others – especially because the accelerating climate collapse means we must be willing to pause, reflect, and let go of what is no longer working for our organizations and our movements. We need so many more groups and organizers growing quickly to meet the needs of an ever-increasing population of frontline climate, disaster-impacted communities. 

-Mariyah Jahangiri
Network and Movement Building Director and Co-Leader

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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.