By Margaret Klein May 6, 2014
“How can I most effectively fight climate change?”
This is the question that we must now ask ourselves. We are responsible for fighting climate change, not because of our paltry individual carbon emissions, but because we are alive during an unprecedented moment. The greatest catastrophe in history is unfolding on our watch. We can either be bystanders and passive victims, letting climate change happen to us and watching as it horrifically reveals itself, or we can be active agents in fighting for what we hold dear. We can use our skills, talents, relationships, and resources to fight climate change with everything that we possess.
So why don’t more of us ask this question? Perhaps it is the sense of futility that pervades our society. We feel helpless. Climate change is a complex, divisive problem of titanic, biblical scope. It is difficult enough to even understand the complex web of looming catastrophes that we call climate change, let alone imagine how one can effectively respond. In the absence of meaningful available responses, we turn away from climate change. We avoid reading about it, talking about it, or even thinking about it. As we turn away, our silence on the issue encourages others to follow our example.
The Climate Mobilization, a political platform, organizing strategy, and group of committed individuals, can reverse this vicious cycle. The Pledge to Mobilize, a one page virtual document,is its primary organizing tool. Those who sign it pledge to support a national program that puts tens of millions of Americans to work preventing the collapse of civilization and stabilizing the climate on the scale demanded by the science.
Signers of the Pledge to Mobilize call on the federal government to immediately commence a WWII-scale mobilization that 1) reduces U.S, emissions by at least 25% each year for 5 years; 2) creates a Climate Mobilization Corps, tens of millions strong, to rapidly expand our nation’s post-carbon energy and agricultural infrastructure; and 3) uses diplomatic and economic measures to pressure other countries to inaugurate similar climate mobilizations. Signers pledge to only donate time or money to candidates who have signed the Pledge, and to vote for candidates who have signed. Most importantly, signers pledge to mobilize their skills, resources and networks to spread the stark truth of climate change and the hope of the Pledge to others.
The Pledge to Mobilize is designed to spread in a unique way. It can only be taken in person, and it must be given by someone who has already signed it. This requirement creates new ways of interacting around climate change. Signers ask those they most respect and care for to sign the Pledge. Individuals are invited to spread the Pledge in their own way. They can sit down with their family at dinner, stand up in church, or host an event on campus or a “Meetup” in the community. This process disrupts the culture of silence and willful ignorance that allows us as individuals and as a society to minimize and ignore the growing climate crisis.
The spread of the Pledge is registered and tracked through the Climate Mobilization website, giving signers the ability to monitor how many people they have recruited, both directly and indirectly. Online discussion forums for signers will facilitate discussions of recruitment strategy and political campaigns. Once we begin to mobilize, we will find myriad ways to effectively channel our energy and talents.
The Pledge to Mobilize is a wake up call to individuals and the culture as a whole. It is a platform on which conversations can be initiated and the cultural consensus of denial and passivity can be transformed into a culture that expects active, effective engagement from every individual in response to the climate emergency. The Pledge empowers us as citizens — not consumers — and dispenses with futility and apocalyptic despair. It is a vehicle that allows us to rise to the challenge of our time, together.