When people are in danger, countries go to war. They marshall resources, conscript soldiers, mobilize industries, and instruct the citizenry on how to assist from the homefront. Given the gravity and immediacy of the climate threat, this is our only option. Luckily, the climate mobilization that we need will not be based on violence, but rather around averting catastrophe.
When the United States faced the Axis powers in WWII, we confronted an enemy that threatened our destruction. By uniting as a country and pursuing the singular purpose of victory, we triumphed against long odds. Once again, we face an existential threat. And once again, we need to rise to the challenge.
We must launch a full-scale, government led, societal mobilization—the type of mobilization that we undertook as a society during World War II.
Ezra Silk, cofounder of The Climate Mobilization, has written a Victory Plan about what this mobilization would look like, and what kinds of policies would be utilized.
The Climate Mobilization did not invent the idea of WWII scale climate mobilization.
Social analysts Jorgen Randers and Paul Gilding created a “One Degree War Plan” that demonstrates how a war on climate change can be fought and won.
Joe Romm– former acting assistant secretary of Energy under Clinton, and top climate blogger –argues that a WWII level and style approach is the only solution that make sense. In his 2009 book “Hell and High Water” Romm argues that the United States, and the world, must re-organize and re-industrialize, the way we did during WWII.
Other champions of a wartime response, or a WWII-style response include: President of the Earth Policy Institute, Lester Browne, blogger David Roberts is a cautious advocate as well. I was happily surprised, when listening to an episode of This American Life about climate change, when Ira Glass came close to endorsing a response on “a more urgent, wartime footing.”
A WWII level and style mobilization is not a radical advocacy; it is a rational and appropriate response to the massive scale of the threat. We have the technology, we have the capacity, we even have a viable plan; all we need is the political will.
The Climate Mobilization can get us there. The Climate Mobilization is a group of people who are mobilizing themselves to build the social and political movement necessary to fight climate change. We are reclaiming democracy for the people. To force the hand of government to perform its most basic, sacred, neglected function: protecting its people.
This may seem impossible. In recent years, cynicism and a pessimism have dominated our political outlook. The system has seemed too big and too rigged to create deep change. Many people have become disengaged politically, socially, emotionally, and morally. Many feel that all they can do is look out for themselves and their family. They feel that collective action has no promise for them, and that they have no obligation to help their fellow humans.
We have forgotten the power of collective action. The power of changing peoples’ minds. The power of taking stands for our principles, of organizing, of building coalitions. We have forgotten how powerful we are, and how powerful the truth can be. We have to remember that the truthful, insistent voice of the people caused– within the last 50 years– the end of the Vietnam War, and the (almost) equal legal status for women and people of all races and sexual orientations.
The time will never be riper for change. The people are fed up. Satisfaction with Congress is at 14%. Climate change is showing itself in every corner of the globe, in an ever more insistent and disturbing way. Everyone can notice the changes, can see the ravages of climate change with their own eyes. Many of us privately worry about climate change, privately feel grief and despair about the approaching collapse of civilization, but do not take political action because it seems pointless.
For The Climate Mobilization to triumph, we must overcome individual denial and minimization. We must recognize the terrifying reality of climate change, and to spread that knowledge, by living in climate truth. We must realize that taking action on climate change is our moral and strategic obligation. We each must find ways to build the movement; each of us has different skills, abilities, and resources. I hope you join us.