At the very moment we must ramp up to a full-scale, World War II style mobilization to combat climate change, the fossil fuel industry is poised to take over key posts in the new administration, handing over our future and our children's futures to those who seek only to maximize profits.
There are signs of hope. "Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies." - Wikipedia. Starting just three days after the election from November 11 to 13, 2016, hundreds of young climate warriors of all different backgrounds from different parts of the country came together at the Power Shift 2016 Conference in UC Berkeley.
They came together for training and discussions on environmental justice, different ways to attack climate change including carbon tax, divestment, reforming how we eat and how we farm, how to be allies and support people of color battling environmental injustice such as what is happening in Richmond, at Flint, Michigan, and at Standing Rock, training on non-violent, direct action and more. They brainstormed on how to continue to work together beyond the conference.
On November 15th, two days after the conference ended, many organizations across the country and the world including Indigenous Environmental Network, Honor the Earth, 350.org, Bold Alliance, Greenpeace, Sierra Club, Stand and Rainforest Action Network called for a coordinated day of action to support the Standing Rock Sioux. Over 100 people joined together in the middle of the day for a rousing protest in front of Citibank in downtown Santa Rosa. Then some of us went from this action to another protest in front of Citibank in downtown San Rafael where several hundred people rallied in support of Standing Rock, with many cars in the evening traffic honking in support.
On December 4th, even more of us converged for a vigil and silent march in solidarity with the 2,000 unarmed military veterans arriving at the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. This time, 500-600 people came together in front of Citibank in downtown Santa Rosa as they are are the bank coordinating the 17 banks financing of the Dakota Access Pipeline (#NoDAPL). It was an astounding outpouring of support, beyond the wildest expectations of those of us who organized it! It was thrilling, seeing it spilling over to the other side of the street and the opposite corner on very short notice.
100 residents bused from Sonoma County to join the huge climate march in Oakland 2015
Over the years I have wondered if a protest even with thousands of people is an effective way to deal with climate change, social justice, and more. Since the election I know the answer to this. It's a heartening antidote to deadly, debilitating depression induced by the new administration's agenda. For sure, we have a staggering amount of work to do, made infinitely harder by the plans the new administration has in store for us all. But psychologically it's good for those of us in despair at the devastating changes ahead of us. It feels incredibly good to stand up with a lot of people who care. Now more than ever, we need to come together for a WWII scale mobilization to deal with the climate crisis.
So join us. Take action. Get involved. Get the county to act as one on the many fronts that will now be under attack. Start by getting 5 or 10 of your friends and family involved.
Pick a task, take on a role, and RUN WITH IT!
Also, check posts on our Facebook page today 1/20/2017. Scroll down to Jan. 20 if you need to.