With each passing day, the threat from climate change grows. For California, each year brings bigger, more deadly fires, and the specter of 129 million dead trees looms as a potentially catastrophic release of carbon and lethal particulates into the atmosphere. Recently, the LA Times reported an estimated 1.1 million structures remain vulnerable to destruction from future wildfires. The cost of remediating these wildfires and other major climate events is becoming unsustainable. Here in Santa Barbara County, we must devise our own unique solution. The time for talk is over.
To move forward, let’s look back to our country’s greatest achievements for guidance. While the current political moment feels more divisive than ever, there are several tremendous accomplishments in American history from which to draw inspiration: The Moonshot effort of the 1960s, and before that, stemming the tide of fascism in World War II. Both required a mass mobilization of people and resources, focused towards a singular objective. We need this kind of focused, mass collaborative effort to have a shot at containing the worst results of a changing climate, but more intensely than ever before. All of our combined past successes must be surpassed in order to sustain a livable planet for future generations.
The good news is that we are starting to come together to act, and there is a tremendous opportunity to secure humanity’s survival. After Pearl Harbor, Americans awoke from their collective isolationist trance, pulling together for the most rapid economic and societal transformation the world had ever seen. Just as before, we must unite to eliminate emissions from all possible sources at emergency speed while also removing excess carbon from the atmosphere within years, NOT decades.
To accomplish this objective, the Academy has aligned with The Climate Mobilization (TCM), an organization formed in March 2014 to leverage organizing technologies and work on the ground with concerned communities, organizations, and governments to initiate a WWII-scale economic and societal Climate Mobilization effort that will quickly reduce all GHG emissions and restore a safe climate within the shortest timeframe possible.
After unprecedented wildfires devastated Southern California in December 2017, TCM worked with the office of L.A. Councilmember Paul Koretz to research and develop a proposal for the legislative machinery that could begin coordinating a mobilization of Los Angeles. In January 2018, the motions were introduced with broad support from the council and in early May the council voted unanimously to explore the establishment of the country’s first climate emergency mobilization department.
Santa Barbara TCM members want to do the same here to enhance the area’s legacy as the birthplace of the environmental movement. The first step is to acknowledge the true danger of our situation and strongly commit to reduce GHG emissions as quickly as possible. By declaring that we are in a climate emergency and committing to addressing it in time to avoid the worst outcomes, local governments can become leaders of the climate emergency movement and inspire others to do the same.
Next month, Santa Barbara’s the newly formed TCM Chapter will be at a number of events scheduled to honor those lost in the Montecito Debris Flow and to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of the 1969 oil spill. Please stop by the TCM- Santa Barbara table, discover how TCM plans to jumpstart our local climate mobilization, and sign up to receive the TCM- Santa Barbara newsletter and action notifications.
Every year of “business as usual” guarantees more climate catastrophe: more wars, more displacement, more flooding, and more famine. We can’t hide from the truth any longer: Global warming threatens to destroy our cities, our state, our civilization and most life on earth. Let’s do something about it!!