USA | Russell Greene: Democratic Party platform recognises the climate emergency

demo-party-platfo-cover200In Orlando, USA, on 9 July 2016, the platform committee of the Democratic Party added language into their platform acknowledging the official position of the Democratic Party to be that we are in a global climate emergency.

Russell Greene wrote:

The platform acknowledges the scale of the threat to be so large that it will require a leadership response from our country on the scale of our national mobilization to confront the threat of fascism during World War II. The platform language I offered through an amendment entitled, ‘Global Climate Leadership’, explicitly acknowledges that anything short of that will bring catastrophic consequences to civilization:

“Democrats believe it would be a grave mistake for the United States to wait for another nation to lead the world in combating the global climate emergency. In fact, we must move first in launching a green industrial revolution, because that is the key to getting others to follow; and because it is in our own national interest to do so. Just as America’s greatest generation led the effort to defeat the Axis Powers during World War II, so must our generation now lead a World War II-type national mobilization to save civilization from catastrophic consequences.

We must think beyond Paris. In the first 100 days of the next administration, the President will convene a summit of the world’s best engineers, climate scientists, climate experts, policy experts, activists and indigenous communities to chart a course toward the healthy future we all want for our families and communities.”
Page 45 in The Democratic Party Platform

Adopting this language in our platform is courageous. It is bold. It could be said that with the declaration, the Democratic Party has actually stepped out in front of the climate movement in its articulation of the threat, which it seems worthy to note, is appropriately placed as the closing paragraph of the entire platform.

It is my hope that this offers an entry point – a new beginning perhaps, from which we chart our path forward. 

There are two components of this path forward. One is policy. We spend most of our time debating that. The other is the path of connection; of connecting to and reckoning with the truth of what it is we are facing. To find the courage to explicitly and viscerally connect to the depth of the crisis we find ourselves in as human beings in July of 2016. Until we do that – our policy will be inadequate. 

As Hitler marched, the world felt connected to the threat of the Axis Powers and thus unified in agreement in the urgency and scale of our response.  Our country was  connected in both horror and resolve after the bombing of Pearl Harbor; clear on what was at stake and determined to do everything in its power to fight for our way of life.

Yet everything we live and work for is under siege right now – but we don’t see it. It’s ephemeral. Vague. We relegate the climate emergency to a surprise attack, even though it’s not a surprise.  We are under attack right now, yet we look away, and return to other things – to our daily lives.  And the days pass, and the carbon rises, and the earth heats, and the future holocaust becomes more and more impossible to hold off.  

Our priority must be to stay focused, steadfast, relentless and honest in the pursuit of that clarity.  To use our tremendous capacity to think and to feel — to reckon with the whole truth — with courage. Like a parent fighting for the life of their child, we cannot turn away, we cannot flinch.

Russell Greene speaking to the Democratic Platform Committee members

Our representational government with power checked and balanced through its branches moves slowly.  It’s designed to.  One would have thought though, that in the 30 years since our Congress first began to confront the reality of a warming planet, when in 1986 Senator John Chafee (R-R.I.) and newly elected Senator Al Gore (D-TN) held hearings on the subject of “Ozone Depletion, the Greenhouse Effect, and Climate Change,” at least one branch of our government would have come to reckon with the existential threat of climate change. But it has not. 

And now — we are in an emergency situation. We can no longer pretend that our normal system and timelines of government are adequate to meet the moment. The window for gradualism has closed. We are out of time. Business as usual politics, irresponsible mainstream media coverage and a distracted citizenry will result in catastrophic consequences.  

I expect you just read that last passage and moved immediately beyond it.

It’s too much to hold.  And so we blink – and move on – back to gradualism. Clinging to the false hope that somehow what it is that we always have done will work this time. It’s our own type of denial. No – certainly not denial like the Republican climate deniers – but, nonetheless, a dangerous denial.

We must step inside.  We can and must rise to this moment.  Imagine your children’s lives.  Step inside that.  Become your child – not today – but in 30 or 40 years.  And, as your child – ask yourself — “Mom? Dad? What happened?  Why didn’t you do something?”

Can you step into that?  And, can you stay there? Because if you do – if we do, if we step into that truth, and stay there – we’ll know what to do.  

The Democratic platform now contains language that brings shape to the enormity of the climate crisis, and thanks to Sander’s Policy Director Warren Gunnels, climate leader Bill McKibben, filmmaker Josh Fox and many others begins to point towards policy that we must implement if we are to transition away from fossil fuels and begin to draw down carbon sharply on the path to 100% clean, renewable energy and zero net greenhouse gas emissions.

We got as high up on this particular part of our climb as we could – and we put down a marker. And for that, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to Senator Bernie Sanders and the millions of voices of the political revolution. It does not mean it is enough. The policy falls short. But that’s not what party platforms are for. That’s what movements are for.

Now – we must recognize where we are – and climb higher. Much higher. And fast.

We are in an emergency. There is no time for gradualism. We must mobilize.

Russell Greene

Russell Greene is a climate activist from California who helps lead many organizations including Climate Decision 2016, Progressive Democrats of America, Justice Action Mobilzation Network and People Demanding Action.

Russel Greene’s piece was published on 19 July 2016 by Common Dreams and is republished here with permission from the author.



Bernie Sanders’ influence

Climate action leader Bill McKibben was one of five persons that Bernie Sanders appointed to the 15-man committee that was gathered to prepare the Democratic Party’s program platform. They fought hard, and over an extended process they succeeded to add more and more to the text. In addition to this, during the past year, Hillary Clinton has adopted more and more of Bernie Sanders’ position on the climate emergency. A line was drawn, however, at his call for a total ban on fracking. Much because of Bernie Sanders, there has been so much talking about climate change in the Democratic primary, and commentators now believe that climate action – unlike in 2008 and 2012 – will become a central part of the election campaign.

David Braun
David Braun

“Sea level rise is real. Climate science is real. We are here to take action and lead. It is our commandment to be leaders of the future, to look out for the children of the future. Now is our moment.”
David Braun, California, speaking to the Democratic Platform Committee members

Watch the vote

Watch the vote and the emotional speeches in favour of it:

Climate Mobilization Added to Democratic Party Platform!
Russell Greene and David Braun describe the need for a WWII scale climate mobilization, and their amendment is successfully adopted.

Published on on 11 July 2016 by

Josh Fox announces historic climate victory for DNC Platform

“The ‪#‎DNCPlatform‬ now:

– Supports a price on carbon AND methane
– Supports high labor standards in the development of renewable energy
– Supports changing the Clean Power Plan to incentivize renewable energy over fracked gas.
– Requires that new energy infrastructure, like pipelines, must pass the climate test and landowners, communities of color and tribal nations must be consulted.

This is what the ‪#‎ClimateRevolution‬ looks like.”

“Democratic Platform Committee members voted in favor of an historic amendment categorizing climate change as a global emergency requiring a World War II-scale mobilization. It’s our job to keep fighting for policies that will keep fossil fuels in the ground and end the fracking nightmare. It will be up to each of us to keep demanding that those in power — regardless of political party — take the needed steps to seriously address our impending climate crisis.”
Wenonah Hauter, 13 July 2016

Congressional candidate: “Restore a safe climate”

Florida congressional candidate calls for net zero greenhouse gas emissions in the United States already by 2025

By The Climate Mobilization

In an era of catastrophic gradualism and lethal cowardice, Florida congressional candidate Tim Canova has taken a tremendously courageous stand for climate truth and justice in his call for a World War II-scale mobilization that eliminates net greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 and restores a safe climate.

If we are going to have a future, we will need hundreds of principled politicians like Tim Canova for Congress fighting for the national WWII-scale climate mobilization required to save civilization and the natural world.

Tim – a professor of law and pubic finance and longtime populist champion – is running against DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz in the primaries on August 30th for Florida’s 23rd congressional district.

Like Bernie Sanders, Tim has successfully tapped into voters’ massive dissatisfaction with the status quo, leading an insurgent campaign that has transfixed the country. Going beyond Senator Sanders, Tim has adopted a platform that goes all the way in rising to the historic challenge of the climate emergency. His official climate change platform reads:

“The reality of climate change will demand that we make huge investments in critical infrastructure in the coming years, from reinforcing sea walls and raising streets to protecting our electrical grid and modernizing sewage and water treatment facilities. This is why I have taken the Climate Mobilization Pledge in support of a program on the scale of the World War II mobilization of human, industrial, and financial resources to restore a safe climate. I want the United States to have net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2025.”

» Video on of Tim Canova’s call for a WWII-scale climate mobilization

Combat Climate Change, Build a Clean Energy Economy, and Secure Environmental Justice

Page 28-30 in The Democratic Party Platform, 21 July 2016:

“We are committed to getting 50 percent of our electricity from clean energy sources within a decade, with half a billion solar panels installed within four years and enough renewable energy to power every home in the country. We will cut energy waste in American homes, schools, hospitals, and offices through energy efficient improvements; modernize our electric grid; and make American manufacturing the cleanest and most efficient in the world.
These efforts will create millions of new jobs and save families and businesses money on their monthly energy bills. We will transform American transportation by reducing oil consumption through cleaner fuels, vehicle electrification increasing the fuel efficiency of cars, boilers, ships, and trucks. We will make new investments in public transportation and build bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure across our urban and suburban areas. Democrats believe the tax code must reflect our commitment to a clean energy future by eliminating special tax breaks and subsidies for fossil fuel companies as well as defending and extending tax incentives for energy efficiency and clean energy.

Democrats believe that carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases should be priced to reflect their negative externalities, and to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy and help meet our climate goals. Democrats believe that climate change is too important to wait for climate deniers and defeatists in Congress to start listening to science, and support using every tool available to reduce emissions now. Democrats are committed to defending, implementing, and extending smart pollution and efficiency standards, including the Clean Power Plan, fuel economy standards for automobiles and heavy-duty vehicles, building codes and appliance standards.

We are also committed to expanding clean energy research and development.

Democrats recognize the importance of climate leadership at the local level and know that achieving our national clean energy goals requires an active partnership with states, cities, and rural communities where so much of our country’s energy policy is made. We will ensure that those taking the lead on clean energy and energy efficiency have the tools and resources they need to succeed. The federal government should lead by example, which is why we support taking steps to power the government with 100 percent clean electricity.

Democrats are committed to closing the Halliburton loophole that stripped the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of its ability to regulate hydraulic fracturing, and ensuring tough safeguards are in place, including Safe Drinking Water Act provisions, to protect local water supplies. We believe hydraulic fracturing should not take place where states and local communities oppose it. We will reduce methane emissions from all oil and gas production and transportation by at least 40 to 45 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 through common-sense standards for both new and existing sources and by repairing and replacing thousands of miles of leaky pipes. This will both protect our climate and create thousands of good-paying jobs.

We will work to expand access to cost-saving renewable energy by low-income households, create good-paying jobs in communities that have struggled with energy poverty, and oppose efforts by utilities to limit consumer choice or slow clean energy deployment. We will streamline federal permitting to accelerate the construction of new transmission lines to get low-cost renewable energy to market, and incentivize wind, solar, and other renewable energy over the development of new natural gas power plants.

We support President Obama’s decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline. As we continue working to reduce carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gas emissions, we must ensure federal actions do not “significantly exacerbate” global warming. We support a comprehensive approach that ensures all federal decisions going forward contribute to solving, not significantly exacerbating, climate change.

Democrats believe that our commitment to meeting the climate challenge must also be reflected in the infrastructure investments we make. We need to make our existing infrastructure safer and cleaner and build the new infrastructure necessary to power our clean energy future. To create good-paying middle class jobs that cannot be outsourced, Democrats support high labor standards in clean energy infrastructure and the right to form or join a union, whether in renewable power or advanced vehicle manufacturing. During the clean energy transition, we will ensure landowners, communities of color, and tribal nations are at the table.”



Please ask everyone you know to sign the


#‎ClimateEmergency   ‎#‎ClimateSolution   ‎#‎petitionSTORM

USA | Margaret Klein Salamon: How to go into emergency mode

Margaret Klein Salamon is founder and director of The Climate Mobilization in the United States. In April 2016, she published a 35-page strategy paper, which is her proposal for a new strategy for the climate movement.

» Open or download ‘Leading the Public into Emergency Mode: A New Strategy for the Climate Movement’ (PDF document, 35 pages)

Margaret Klein Salamon earned her PhD in clinical psychology from Adelphi University and also holds a BA in social anthropology from Harvard. Though she loved being a therapist, Margaret felt called to apply her psychological and anthropological knowledge to solving climate change. She is the author of the blog The Climate Psychologist.

» Read more about the strategy paper

A quick summary of Salamon’s strategy paper

a. The more the climate movement can provide structures for people’s engagement — clear directions and support for people who are ready to tackle the climate emergency — the more people will go into emergency mode.

b. Widespread feelings of helplessness also represent the failure of leadership from official climate movement leaders and politicians to offer an honest assessment of the crisis, advocate for solutions that actually stand a chance of working, and invite individuals to take part in that solution.

c. To go into emergency mode on climate change, people need to believe that restoring a safe and stable climate is possible — that the political will can be achieved by the climate movement, and that the rapid transition
can be coordinated by competent leadership.

d. A quarter of respondents think that humanity has a 50% chance of near-term-extinction, and almost all respondents agreed that transformative change is necessary — yet we are continuing with business as usual and daily life as usual! This suggests a paralyzing degree of helplessness across society. It also suggests that if the climate movement can offer the public a credible social movement and economic mobilization framework and evidence of credible leadership to prevent the rapidly approaching climate catastrophe, then we can expect passionate and dedicated support.

e. Since climate change does not automatically bring people into emergency mode, the question becomes “How can we effectively trigger emergency mode in others?”

The answer is:

1. Going into emergency mode yourself.

2. Communicating that as clearly as possible.

3. Creating a plausible path towards solving the crisis, to which people can contribute.

What climate leaders are saying about ‘Leading the Public into Emergency Mode’

“With unique skills as a psychologist, social anthropologist and community organizer, Margaret Klein Salamon has ripped the cover of denial and inaction — no more incremental steps. We are in an emergency — the climate crisis has us headed towards catastrophe and we must now recognize that emergency mode is our only hope. But why haven’t we been? Read this and know the WWII mobilization that is growing exponentially and is required to pull us back from the brink. Thank you Margaret for this brilliantly conceived, urgent call to arms.”
Lise Van Sustern, co-founder of Interfaith Moral Action on Climate and advisor to Harvard School of Public Health, Center for Health and the Global Environment

“It’s no wonder so many people are depressed about the climate. Now that extreme weather events are rushing in on us with ever greater intensity and frequency, we realise at last that the issue is real. But, we also “know” that we have left things too late because society always takes forever to put solutions in place and everything that is done always involves unsatisfactory compromises and half-measures.
Before giving into despair however, there is a new paper by Margaret Klein Salamon that every climate activist should read: ‘Leading the Public into Emergency Mode’.
This paper shines a light on a mode of action that is available to every person and every society but that most people are not even aware of, and that is emergency mode. To succeed in a world that could often be dangerous and challenging humans had to evolve two modes of action, normal and emergency. Klein Salamon explores how we can trigger emergency mode and how we can deploy it to deliver the needed climate rescue, even at this late stage.
Philip Sutton, coauthor of Climate Code Red and founder and director of Research and Strategy for Transition Initiation

“In her new paper, Margaret Klein Salamon tells us we must go into climate emergency mode engaging our whole beings. Salamon parallels our situation with the 1980s when activists successfully mobilized AIDS response around the slogan, “Silence is death.” Today we must say that promoting gradual solutions to a climate crisis gone critical is a form of silence that will lead to global catastrophe. For the world to take the climate emergency seriously, we in the climate movement ourselves have to do that. We must loudly speak the truth of the critical climate emergency we are facing and the World War II-scale mobilization needed to address it.”
Patrick Mazza, Delta 5 activist, co-founder and former research director of Climate Solutions, author of Cascadia Planet.


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Margaret Klein Salamon discusses her paper on

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Ezra Silk
Ezra Silk, Deputy Director and Head of Organising at the American organisation The Climate Mobilization, explained in an interviewed in The Green Report on RT America what they mean when they talk about a World War Two-scale mobilisation:

Interview with Ezra Silk

► Ezra Silk was interviewed in The Green Report on RT America on 20 April 2016. (Start: 30:11. Ezra Silk enters at 32:00)

» Mobilizers Denounce Climate Agreement as “Historic” Failure at United Nations Signing Ceremony

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Margaret Klein Salamon interviewed by Julia Barnes
Published on on 24 November 2015.

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The Climate Mobilization:

Call for an official declaration of climate emergency

We are yet to see a ‘Churchill’-figure of our time who will champion the need to a ‘World War II-kind of mobilisation’ against the threats of global warming and climate change – with both the necessary rhetoric skills and a sufficient scientific understanding to actually make voters listen.

Barack Obama certainly did his bit towards the end of his presidency in the United States. However, as he is on his way out, American politics could quickly transform his step forward towards cleaner energy production into two fossil-fuel powered steps backwards.

Pledge to mobilise
One thing we all can do is call our leaders out. Ask them if they’d be in support of emergency speed climate action, such as to reduce your country’s net greenhouse gas emissions 100 percent by 2030 at the latest and to implement far-reaching measures to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Ask them to issue and support an official declaration of climate emergency.

The Climate Mobilization encourages you to call on your nation’s government to immediately commence a social and economic mobilisation to restore a climate that is safe, stable, and supportive of human civilisation. “This heroic campaign shall be carried out on a vast scale, transforming our economy at wartime speed,” The Climate Mobilization writes, because “climate change is causing immense human suffering and damage to the natural world. It threatens the collapse of civilization within this century. Confronting this crisis is the great moral imperative of our time.”

» You can sign the pledge on

» Here is a list of some of the ‘climate champions’ of our time

»

USA | Bernie Sanders: We must move on climate as we would if we were at war

» Right-click to download the audio file (MP3)

On 14 April 2016, US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders spoke out about the need for a Word War Two-scale climate mobilisation to resounding cheers during the New York debate with Hillary Clinton, broadcasted live to the American people on CNN. 

In the debate, Sanders compared global warming to warfare, and the vocal response among his fans and followers was remarkable. The United States should respond to melting icecaps like it would respond to a foreign invasion, Sanders said:

“If we approach this, Errol, as if we were literally at a war — you know, in 1941, under Franklin Delano Roosevelt, we moved within three years, within three more years to rebuild our economy to defeat Nazism and Japanese imperialism. That is exactly the kind of approach we need right now. Lead the world.”

“Here is a real difference. This is a difference between understanding that we have a crisis of historical consequence here, and incrementalism and those little steps are not enough. Not right now. Not on climate change.”

“Look, here’s where we are. Let me reiterate. We have a global crisis. Pope Francis reminded us that we are on a suicide course. Our legislation understands, Errol, that there will be economic dislocation. It is absolutely true. There will be some people who lose their job. And we build into our legislation an enormous amount of money to protect those workers. It is not their fault… It is not their fault that fossil fuels are destroying our climate.

But we have got to stand up and say right now, as we would if we were attacked by some military force, we have got to move urgency — urgently and boldly.”

ERROL: ….With less than 6 percent of all U.S. energy coming from solar, wind and geothermal, and 20 percent of U.S. power coming from nuclear, if you phase out all of that, how do you make up that difference?

SANDERS: Well, you don’t phase it all out tomorrow. And you certainly don’t phase nuclear out tomorrow. But this is what you do do. [APPLAUSE]. What you do do is say that we are going to have a massive program — and I had introduced — introduced legislation for 10 million solar rooftops. We can put probably millions of people to work retrofitting and weatherizing buildings all over this country. [CHEERING]. Saving — rebuilding our rail system. [APPLAUSE]. Our mass transit system. [APPLAUSE]. If we approach this, Errol, as if we were literally at a war — you know, in 1941, under Franklin Delano Roosevelt, we moved within three years, within three more years to rebuild our economy to defeat Nazism and Japanese imperialism. That is exactly the kind of approach we need right now. [APPLAUSE]. Lead the world”

BLITZER: Thank you, Senator.

» Full transcript

The word “climate” was mentioned 19 times during the debate. When CNN published what they found to have been “the most memorable lines” from the debate, Sanders’ climate change and renewables statements were not even mentioned. 


The Altantic Magazine took notice, though, and called it “The Democrats’ Most Substantive Climate Debate Yet”.


» Read more about Bernie Sanders’ stand on climate change:

» EcoWatch – 26 July 2016:
Bernie Sanders: ‘This Election Is About Climate Change’

» Pacific Standard – 27 April 2016:
Whether or Not He Wins, Bernie Sanders Has Already Changed the Climate Debate
“From his critique of the Paris Agreement last December to his ongoing, insurgent crusade against fracking, Sanders has brought serious climate activism into the mainstream”

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See also:

Climate war room in the White House

Hillary Clinton intends to equip the White House with a situation room just for climate change

If she’s elected president, Hillary Clinton intends to equip the White House with a situation room just for climate change, inspired by the Map Room where Franklin D. Roosevelt managed World War II, her campaign chairman, former White House Chief of Staff John Podesta, said Friday.

Podesta was one of nine veterans of seven previous administrations who spoke Friday at a Stanford University conference on “Setting the Climate Agenda for the Next U.S. President.” He cited a technologically sophisticated Climate Map Room as an example of planning for resilience—the capacity of the country to withstand and adapt to climate-change effects.

“Hillary’s been talking about creating a climate war room in the White House,” Podesta said, then correcting himself that he meant to say climate map room. “To be able to see where effects are taking place, to keep it real time, to use the technologies that are available, to try to imagine what is happening in the natural world and what the impact of that is going to be on the economy and the society.”

» Forbes – 9 May 2016:
Hillary Clinton Plans To Have A ‘Climate Map Room’ In The White House, Podesta Says

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Sanders: “I look at climate change almost in military terms”

Published on on 15 March 2016

On 14 March 2016, at a MSNBC Town Hall with Chuck Todd, Senator Bernie Sanders said:

“This is the way I look at it — I know people will disagree with me. In WWII for example, the United States had to fight a war on two fronts in a very short period of time. And within three years, actually we had essentially won the war. I look at climate change almost in military terms. I look at the fact that if we do not significantly reduce carbon emissions, there is going to be massive damage done to our country and this planet. But I have absolute confidence…”

Chuck Todd: “So you would marshal that kind of resources?”

Bernie Sanders: “I think you need to look at it as a warlike… we are being attacked and the attack is coming from climate change. And that is going to mean more extreme weather disturbances. Look at what’s going on in California in terms of drought. You’re gonna have…The CIA tells us we will have more international conflict as people fight over limited natural resources.”

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President Roosevelt’s mindset

“Bernie has correctly come out and identified this as the number-one security threat to the United States. And he invoked FDR [president Franklin D. Roosevelt], who overhauled the entire American economy to defeat fascism in Europe, and that is the correct mindset. We need that kind of FDR-like mobilization on renewable and on climate.

The story goes like this: FDR identified that we were going to have to fight. And he went to the auto industry and he said, “We’re going to need you to start building planes, and tanks, and guns, because we have to defeat this enemy in Europe. And the auto industry looked at him and said, “Alright, Mr. President. We’ll try. But it’s going to be hard to do that while we’re making all these cars for Americans.” And FDR said, “You don’t understand. We’re gonna ban the sale of private automobiles in this country.” And they were like, “Oh.” And at that moment, Americans realized, “OK. The only way we get through this is if we win this war.”

And that’s the same crisis now with climate change. We have to win the war against emissions. The only way we do that is by a radical and very fast overhaul. Is it possible? Of course it’s possible. The only thing we can do at this late stage, at this stage of emergency, is a complete overhaul.”
Josh Fox

» Read more:

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Crisis of historical consequence

“Sanders wants to think bigger when it comes to climate politics. “This is a difference between understanding that we have a crisis of historical consequence here,” he said. “Incrementalism and those little steps are not enough. Not right now. Not on climate change.”
Grist Magazine

» Yes Magazine – 27 April 2016:
The Pragmatic Impacts of Sanders’ Big Dreams
“Even with Tuesday’s campaign setbacks, Bernie Sanders’ pledge to make the country more equitable and sustainable is more realistic than some people are letting on.”

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Bernie: Mobilizing Against Climate Catastrophe Is Your Greatest Opportunity for Heroism Yet

Letter to American presidential candidate, senator Bernie Sanders

Senator Sanders,
The movement you have inspired for economic, social, and environmental transformation could not have arrived at a more significant moment in human history. Your emergence as the great American populist of the early 21st century comes at a time in which heroic political leadership, above all, is required to avert the collapse of civilization.

Abrupt global warming threatens to destabilize the climate system for tens of thousands of years, sending the Earth into a hot state inhospitable to humanity. If business as usual continues for much longer, a chain reaction of proliferating droughts, famines, and subsequent state failures will cause the unraveling of an organized human community. Furthermore, the global economy’s overshoot of the planet’s limits has initiated the 6th mass extinction of species, which threatens to wipe out much of life on Earth within this century. If allowed to unfold, it could take some 10 million years for life to fully recover.

The legendary biologist E.O. Wilson compares humanity’s collective impact to the 9-mile wide asteroid that 65 million years ago slammed into the Chicxulub coast of Yucatan at a speed of 45,000 miles per hour, exterminating the non-avian dinosaurs and causing the 5th mass extinction of species. While humanity has become a force of destruction on the scale of the Chixculub asteroid, Wilson argues that there is a small window of time left to prevent a full-blown “biological holocaust.”

The truth is that you now have it within your power to catalyze the process that will prevent the collapse of civilization and the holocaust on all life. Whether you become president or not, your incredible success fomenting a genuine political revolution across America has made it possible for you to lead the movement to save life on Earth. 

It’s now well understood that what’s needed to stop this unfolding apocalypse is an emergency transformation of the global economy — a WWII-scale mobilization to rapidly restore a stable climate and reverse ecological overshoot.

You recognized this truth in one of the finest moments of your campaign so far, your April debate with Hillary Clinton at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on the eve of the New York primary. You denounced the Paris climate agreement as a disastrously incremental approach to the climate emergency and called for a World War II-scale effort instead:

“In 1941, under Franklin Delano Roosevelt, we moved within three years, within three years to rebuild our economy to defeat Nazism and Japanese imperialism. That is exactly the kind of approach we need right now.”

Ian Dunlop, a global sustainability leader, hailed your call for WWII-scale climate mobilization as historic: “This is the first time I’ve heard anybody politically, honestly starting to talk about what the problem really is and the type of speed of reaction we have to make,” he said. “Finally, we’re getting the truth.”

Your courageous statements of climate truth have been greatly energizing to the nascent movement for emergency climate mobilization. However, the climate emergency has not been the primary focus of your presidential campaign or your career. Your unwavering dedication to economic and social justice has been.

We are writing to implore you to make the immediate commencement of a WWII-scale mobilization to restore a safe climate your overriding priority in the coming months and years. All of our ideals and goals – a fair economy and a functioning democracy that empowers ordinary Americans to participate in the governance of our nation – will be for naught if we fail to stop the climate catastrophe.

Prioritizing a climate mobilization provides the most immediate path to social, economic, and environmental justice. As with the WWII home front mobilization, the climate mobilization will create full employment and drastically reduce inequality, with the principle of fair and shared sacrifice embraced by all Americans. In 1944, top marginal tax rates were raised to 94% on incomes above $200,000 (about $2.7 million in 2016 dollars) and unemployment dropped to 1.2%. All Americans received “fair shares” equal rations of food and energy. Women, African-Americans, and workers made large gains as Americans came together to defeat the Axis powers. A few months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt even unsuccessfully pushed for a 100% tax rate on incomes above $25,000 (about $350,000 in today’s dollars) in the name of wartime equality! A full-scale climate mobilization would heed Pope Francis’s directive to “hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor!”

During the last great crisis of American life, FDR faced a similar imperative to shift priorities to combat the existential threat of fascism. At a 1943 press conference, a reporter asked the President to address a rumor that he no longer liked the term “New Deal.” He responded that a physician, Dr. New Deal, had remedied America’s “grave internal disorder” during the ‘30s. But the attack on Pearl Harbor had “broke his hip, broke his leg in two or three places, broke a wrist and an arm, and some ribs; and they didn’t think he would live, for a while.” Dr. Win-the-War had since stepped in, and Patient America was now on the road to recovery: “He has given up crutches. He isn’t wholly well yet, and he won’t be until he wins the war.”

Just as FDR shifted his approach to defeat fascism, it is an absolute moral imperative that we all pivot comprehensively to fight off the existential threat of civilizational collapse and biological holocaust. You have been “Dr. New Deal” your entire career. But now, at this late hour, humanity badly needs you to become “Dr. Win-the-War.”

You and your supporters face immense pressure to endorse Secretary Clinton and her “politically realistic” yet scientifically catastrophic climate plan in order to defeat Donald Trump and his “America First” (sound familiar?) energy plan. But, as Stephen Hawking recently said, runaway climate change poses “a more immediate danger” to America and the world than even Trump’s neo-isolationism.

Secretary Clinton, like the vast majority of the public, politicians, and the media, is still stuck in the mentality of “carbon gradualism.” While the need for an emergency, WWII-scale climate mobilization is a hidden consensus among climate leaders and thinkers, not even the mainstream climate movement is fully prepared to demand one. Instead, they appear paralyzed by the enormity of the task, unable to integrate scientific reality into their advocacies and organizational strategies.  

You are in a unique position to change that. Your millions of supporters are anxiously looking to you to hear what comes next in the political revolution. In the coming weeks and months, you will face a series of tremendous opportunities to rouse America from the trance of carbon gradualism and climate denial, and onto the war footing we so desperately need. You could, for example:

1)     Demand that a WWII-scale climate mobilization appear on the Democratic Party platform.

2)     Make the need for an emergency, WWII-scale climate mobilization the theme of your convention speech.

3)     Demand that Hillary Clinton advocate an emergency, WWII-scale mobilization to restore a safe climate in exchange for your endorsement, if you do not win the nomination.

4)     Lead a march on Washington calling on President Obama to declare a climate emergency and gear up for the climate mobilization. You could occupy the National Mall with hundreds of thousands of Americans until the president declares a climate emergency.

5)     All of the above

Whether or not you are nominated, we implore you to take up the banner of climate mobilization. You have fought your entire career to protect Americans from exploitation and destitution. Once again, Americans sorely need your protection and leadership. We need a heroic leader to build an enormous movement for an immediate climate mobilization and we need him or her to step up very soon. We can overcome the climate emergency, but we need Dr. Win-the-War to step up with great haste.


Jean Arnold, Development Director, Association for the Tree of Life

Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi, Chairperson, Buddhist Global Relief

Ryan Brill, Co-Founder, The Climate Mobilization

Myron Buchholz, Congressional Candidate, Wisconsin CD-03

Stan Cox, Author, “Any Way You Slice It: The Past, Present, and Future of Rationing” (2013)

Wesley Clark, Jr., Veteran; Host, The Young Turks

John Davis, Candidate for Iowa State Legislature; Iowa Climate Advocate, Bernie Sanders for President 2016

Laura Dawn, Founder, ART NOT WAR

Laurence L. Delina, Author, “Strategies for Rapid Climate Mitigation: Wartime Mobilisation as a Model for Action?” (2016); Citizen, The Philippines; Visiting Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School of Government

Ian Dunlop, Former Chair, Australian Coal Association; Member, The Club of Rome

John Ellis, Founder,

Ed Fallon, Director, Bold Iowa

Grace Feldmann, Founder, Lead Organizer, Santa Barbara County for Bernie 2016

Heidi Harmon, Director, 350 San Luis Obispo; Bernie Sanders delegate, 24th Congressional District of California

Nicole Harris, Deputy Director, The Climate Mobilization

Prof. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, Coordinating Lead Author, Oceans, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

Michael Hoexter, Research Scholar, Binzagr Institute for Sustainable Prosperity; Campaign Volunteer, Bernie Sanders 2016 

Lee-Sean Huang, Co-Founder & Creative Director, Foossa

Veronica Jacobi, Santa Rosa City Council Emeritus; Founder,

Bruce Jones, Climate Activist; Pledged Delegate for Bernie Sanders, 14th Congressional District of California

David Kaiser, Author, No End Save Victory: How FDR Led the Nation into War” (2014)

Andy Kunz, President & CEO, U.S. High Speed Rail Association

Rabbi Michael Lerner, Editor, Tikkun Magazine

Kelsey Lopez, Director of Operations, Transit Oriented Development Institute

Mary Lupien, Delegate, 25th Congressional District of New York; Steering Committee Member, Monroe County for Bernie Sanders 

Patrick Mazza, Sustainable Solutions Co-Facilitator, 350 Seattle; Member, Delta 5 Direct Action Team

Abigail McHugh-Grifa, Ph.D., Founder & Lead Organizer, Rochester Climate Action 

Brian D. McLaren, Board Chair, 

John McLeod, Founder,

Michael Mielke, Strategist, Association for the Tree of Life

Stephen Mulkey, Ph.D., President Emeritus, Unity College

Trevor Neilson, Founder, i(x) investments

Adam Sacks, Executive Director, Biodiversity for a Livable Climate

Margaret Klein Salamon, Ph.D., Founder & Executive Director, The Climate Mobilization

Ashik SiddiqueCo-Founder, The Climate Mobilization

Ezra Silk, Co-Founder and Director of Policy & Strategy, The Climate Mobilization

David SprattCo-Author“Climate Code Red: The Case for Emergency Action” (2008)

David Suzuki, Co-Founder, David Suzuki Foundation

Alina Valdes, M.D., Congressional Candidate, Florida CD-25; Proud Progressive & Bernie Sanders Endorser

Lise Van Susteren, Advisory Board, Center For Health And The Global EnvironmentHarvard School Of Public Health*

Marie Venner, Chair, National Academies’ Transportation Research Board Subcommittee on Climate Change, Energy, and Sustainability

Ken WardCo-Founder, Climate Disobedience Center

* Institutional affiliation listed for identification purposes only


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