So just what is #PivotToClimate? Simply put, I think the time has come to ask that environmental and social justice organizations such as the Audubon Society, Sierra Club, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, World Wildlife Federation, Oxfam and Unicef - that is, the pantheon of progressive activist groups that made up the People's Climate March in September of 2014 - join together again and pledge to dedicate at least 50% of their time and treasure to climate change during the 2017 calendar year.
Do you remember the People's Climate March in September of 2014? A throng of marchers more than 250K strong took to the streets in NYC and cities across the globe, roaring for climate action. We were that many strong because we were inclusive not just of climate change activist groups, but of a panoply of progressive activist organizations and individuals.
Everyone joined forces and took to the streets together: indigenous peoples groups, LGBTQIA groups, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, soccer teams and parents pushing strollers, nuns and priests, The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (I think they were there), folks from Save the Wales, contingents from Greenpeace, and representatives from Oxfam, Avaaz, the World Wildlife Federation, the Teamsters, and 350.org.
There were labor groups, anti-corporate groups, peace and justice groups, environmental justice organizations and other communities, food and water justice groups, interfaith groups. There were folks dressed as polar bears. There were people on stilts. There were hippies and hipsters and Millennials and Boomers and Gen Xers and various assorted cranky olds and cheerful youngs (and vice versa).
It was amazing. And despite a shocking lack of coverage on the day, it made a difference. And I’m convinced we can do it again.
It bears repeating that Earth’s 2015 surface temperatures were the warmest since modern record keeping began in 1880, according to independent analyses by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
NASA Administrator Charles Borden says:
“Climate change is the challenge of our generation, and NASA’s vital work on this important issue affects every person on Earth… today’s announcement not only underscores how critical NASA’s Earth observation program is, it is a key data point that should make policy makers stand up and take notice - now is the time to act on climate.”
In 2014, Business Insider reported that:
"Last year, the global economy needed to slash world carbon emissions by 6 percent in order to stay on target, but we only managed a dismal global average of 1.2 percent. That means starting this year, we’ll need to cut 6.2 percent of our emissions every year for the rest of the century if we want to meet our 2 C goal."
Also in 2014, Michael E. Mann, writing in Scientific American, produced new calculations indicating that:
"if the world continues to burn fossil fuels at the current rate, global warming will rise to two degrees Celsius by 2036, crossing a threshold that will harm human civilization."
In short: we are rapidly running out of time.
It’s now or never. And the simplest way to make a huge, concerted PUSH is to leverage our collective strength and act together, in a coordinated way, to bring pressure to bear on the new Clinton administration and to collaborate on redoubled, concentrated efforts to educate, organize, mobilize, advertise and lobby for climate action.
I believe that if these groups would recoalesce around the idea of a #PivotToClimate for an entire year, we could make a SUBSTANTIAL political push. Combining our separate, individual rays of light would result in a super-charged floodlight trained squarely on the most pressing crisis of our - or any - time.
Groups such as Avaaz and 350.org, Keep America Beautiful and the League of Conservation Voters, the Marine Mammal Center, Mission: Wolf and the Wilderness Society are already mobilized, energized, organized and working on issues that will be deeply and materially affected – in the shorter, rather than longer, term – by climate change.
This of it this way. We seem to be a little stuck. It's like when your car gets stuck in the mud, and you can't push it out yourself. You and a buddy can't push it out together. But when a van full of folks pulls up and there are 10 of you pushing - voila! The car comes unstuck.
How will this work? Well, in upcoming posts, I will lay out my - admittedly still somewhat half baked - plans for what a year of concerted, multi-organization climate action would look like. If you have suggestions, please add them in the comments! This is our work in progress. I appreciate your ideas.
And, as always, please stay tuned!