Act: Inspiration

Embracing Climate Truth and Escalating to Win: Excerpt

April 10, 2017

This climate action startup has a plan for how ordinary people can spark the emergency climate transition we need. Here’s a pitch for why you should read it, and why it just might work.

Adapted from Blueprint from a Climate Emergency Movement: Embracing Climate Truth and Escalating to Win

Most Americans today acknowledge that climate change is real, but the scale and urgency of the threat are not widely known.[1] The premise of the Climate Mobilization is that if people did — if they recognized that they and their children are profoundly threatened by runaway global warming — they would want to do everything possible to save humanity from this fate.

The crisis is too advanced for gradual, incremental measures to be effective.[2] An all-out, all-hands on deck emergency effort is our last, best hope for stopping runaway global warming. Which is why we are campaigning for a World War II-scale climate mobilization to end emissions in less than ten years, transform our agricultural system and use every tool we have to draw down the excess carbon in the atmosphere. For an in-depth explanation of how this rapid transformation could take place, please see our Victory Plan.  The concept was inspired by what the United States did on the home front during World War II: the government made huge investments and passed strong regulations to ensure we rapidly transitioned the national economy for the war effort, and achieved full employment in the meantime.

This historical example shows the scale of rapid transformation possible when a country goes into emergency mode with strong public support and full societal participation. It’s both an inspiring example and cautionary tale: the WWII mobilization delivered mostly temporary gains in equality for African Americans and women, took place side by side with Japanese internment and got us out of the Great Depression only to  usher in a new era of unsustainable consumerism.

The climate mobilization we need represents, not just a temporary break from the status quo, but the bridge to a sustainable future with justice for all.  Our new Blueprint for a Climate Emergency Movement aims to briefly lay out the nature of the climate emergency, and then describe the way that ordinary people can bring about the emergency transition we need through a nonviolent social movement.

Donald Trump’s election shook millions of Americans, and many began organizing to respond to the threat of ascendant authoritarianism.  Public concern about climate change is at an eight-year high,[3] even as all mentions of it are stricken from the White House website and purged from the Environmental Protection Agency. Our current system has no hope of sustaining itself even in the medium term. This is frightening, but it also opens up tremendous possibilities for rapid, transformative change. To respond, we have to let go of outdated concepts of political realism, and start acting as though we really are in an emergency, while calling for the transition we need.

Political and climate shocks are only going to keep coming. If millions of ordinary people organize rapidly, we can seize the inevitable fracturing of the old order, and turn it into an opportunity to unite our nation around a shared, urgent mission: save civilization and the natural world while restoring democracy and reversing the spiral of job loss, income inequality, racist reaction and extreme capitalism that have ushered in the rebirth of fascism across the Western world.

We imagine a world where the US enters emergency mobilization with supermajority support and stops emitting by 2025, and helps lead the rest of the globe to zero emissions as quickly as possible, launches a massive draw-down program, and causes the US and the world to become carbon negative by shortly after 2030. In this world, civilization and the biosphere have a strong chance of survival, and we all play a role in shaping and improving our future rather than having it chosen for us by a handful of corporations and political extremists.

If we succeed, we will do more than race to negative emissions. We will rebuild our political system so it distinguishes between the needs of corporations and the needs of people. We will lay the groundwork for an economy that encourages innovation and entrepreneurship within sensible ecological limits and promotes the dignity of all workers. We will end the unjust exploitation of the vulnerable for profit. We will revitalize neglected communities through participatory planning and implementation processes. We will make sure everyone who wants a job has one. We will honor our armed forces by making sure wars are fought to defend people, instead of corporate greed.

People deserve the truth and will fight like hell for a realistic chance of restoring a safe climate. People who understand that they are very literally fighting for their children’s lives may well lose all fear, and become the kind of ‘irresistible’ nonviolent force that changes everything.





Anya Grenier

Anya Grenier is the head of The Climate Mobilization’s media operation. She is also the author of TCM’s Blueprint for an Emergency Climate Movement. She recently graduated from Yale college.

Tags: climate change responses, climate justice movement, Climate Mobilization, social movements