By Kim Michele
Ahead of the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) being hosted in San Francisco starting September 12th, the City took center stage by kicking off the official ‘RISE for Climate’ march on Saturday the 8th. Serving as the flagship city, San Francisco was swept up in a global climate movement of over 30,000 supporters gathered together to give a voice to those most affected by the devastating impacts of our changing climate.
From Vancouver and Toronto to Johannesburg, New York, Tokyo, Sydney and Stockholm, hundreds of cities in over 90 countries stood united in their message to world leaders, elected officials, corporate executives and anyone else attending this week’s Summit…
Big polluters are known for buying and selling the rights of the very communities most affected by their actions. These communities live on the front-lines of polluted areas, living and breathing the dirty air on a daily basis, suffering gravely as a result. There are communities around the world currently suffering through some of the worst wildfires in history, many of whom have already watched their lives turn to ash.
There is No Planet B
The devastating impacts of climate change are now being felt by millions of people in communities around the world. Not only are the issues environmental, they have now become a matter of the health and wellness of local communities. The safety and security of these communities are threatened by growing pollution problems, severe droughts, a surge in catastrophic wildfires, as well as the increase in the ferocity of major storms. As recently as July and August 2018, monsoons tore their way through Southern Asia causing major flooding while washing away any remnants of what once was. The calamitous results; hundreds of people died and thousands were displaced, losing everything as entire villages got swept away.
This is not normal. Not the ferocity of the storms, nor the brutality of the droughts, fires or mudslides. The relentlessness of these occurrences are fueled by warming temperatures and with nowhere to turn, communities around the world are forced to act on their own behalf. Thus community-driven solutions were introduced. Designed to benefit those who need it the most they are led by the very communities who are living through the worst effects of our dependence on fossil fuels. Communities made up of climate change refugees, environmental casualties, indigenous tribes and people fighting for a cleaner future, those who dream of an impartial transition to 100% (and preferably community-owned) renewable energy. And so, on this International Day of Action the world stood up for the environment and delivered its message, demanding action and real climate leadership.
A Landmark Commitment
In an important move forward, on Monday, September 10th, 2018 Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill committing the Golden State of California to become 100% renewable energy driven and carbon free by 2045! Although California is only the second US State behind Hawaii to make a commitment to a carbon-free future, it notably ranks as the world’s 5th largest economy. This alone will have a huge impact on the world’s sustainable economy when the entire state of California is powered solely by renewable energy.
The ‘RISE for Climate, Jobs & Justice’ march was another show of the rising awareness of environmental issues and the growing support for the grass-roots organizations that mobilize these movements. Over 300 organizations came together in support of the San Francisco ‘RISE for Climate’ march ranging from environmental groups, climate justice advocates, indigenous groups, youth and faith groups, community labor organizers as well as an array of wildlife and marine advocates.
350 Bay Area, a local affiliate of the global grassroots movement 350.org, co-hosted the event with Rise for Climate California. Fighting for a common goal, they mobilized environmental and climate organizations, local communities, and indigenous groups; 30,000 strong, all working towards solving the climate crisis, all marching through the streets of San Francisco.
Among some of the prominent environmental and wildlife organizations that participated in the march were The Climate Reality Project, WWF (World Wildlife Fund), 350 BayArea, NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), and the APEN (Asian Pacific Environmental Network).
Mobilized by local Climate Reality chapters, a group of over 100 Climate Reality Leaders came from all over California and beyond to show their support and demand swift climate action. The group marched in unison at the end of the line showing their support for the hundreds of organizations that marched before them.