The huge response to our February 19th Global Citizens Club (GCC) meeting was extremely gratifying, with over 200 people from the community turning out to learn more about effectively fighting climate change from a diverse panel of experts and activists.
Highlights of the meeting hosted at the El Encanto included a moving statement from local Chumash elders, beautiful flute invocation by Emiliano Campobello, a video statement from Climate Change icon Bill McKibben, and a panel discussion with climate change activists and local experts discussing the grassroots mobilization effort. The GCC also helped to inaugurate a new ally: the Santa Barbara chapter of The Climate Mobilization (TCM).
As Co-Founder and Executive Director of TCM, Margaret Klein Salamon has helped catalyze a burgeoning worldwide climate emergency movement. TCM’s mission is to leverage organizing technologies via a network of organizers, researchers, volunteers, and policymakers in a WWII-scale campaign to protect humanity and the natural world from climate catastrophe. The end result of this campaign will be the creation of a massive economic and societal Climate Mobilization movement to restore a safe climate for future generations.
Following Emiliano Campobello’s flute and statement, and some remarks from our own Kristy Jansen, Rinaldo Brutoco moderated the panel discussion between Santa Barbara County Third District Supervisor Joan Hartmann; Margaret Klein Salamon; and UCSB Sunrise Movement student leader Rose Strauss. The panelists spoke knowledgeably and passionately about the climate emergency confronting humanity, and the audience gave standing ovations after each panelist statement.
Supervisor Hartmann detailed the issues facing Santa Barbara County from climate change, and her perspectives on the value of grassroots mobilization to move key local issues such as carbon emissions reduction, development of local renewable energy resources and opposition to oil and gas proposals that threaten the watershed.
Margaret Klein Salamon helped drive home the critical urgency in treating the climate change emergency as an existential threat similar to how the Greatest Generation approached World War II. A trained clinical psychologist, Margaret described the mindset that individuals must adopt to advance short and long-term efforts, and how a community of mobilizers can provide strength and commitment to reach its ambitious goals.
All in attendance were especially enthralled with the informative, fact-filled presentation by Rose Strauss, a UCSB Environmental Studies student and activist with the local hub of Sunrise Movement. Sunrise is organizing and encouraging all young people to get active in the fight against climate change, and those interested in joining can reach Rose by email at [email protected]
A tangible sense of urgency regarding the climate crisis could be felt among both the speakers and audience members, whose engagement during the Q&A portion of the event clearly indicated that our community is eager to learn more because understanding this issue and its ramifications for our community – and the planet – is the first major step to becoming involved. It’s also critical to get children, teens and young adults actively involved because after all, it is their future that hangs in the balance!
Our Global Citizens Club, formed in late 2017, continues to mobilize key segments of the community to develop a bi-partisan dialogue on critical issues of local concern. After all, you can’t help the planet unless you first become educated about the problem and work to take care of your own community.