350.org held ‘Climate State of the Union’ to launch campaign for local resolutions banning new fossil fuel projects and driving just transition to 100% renewable energy
Event Program: http://bit.ly/fossilfreeprogram
Washington, DC — Today, thousands of people across the country tuned into a ‘Climate State of the Union’ event called Fossil Free Fast: The Climate Resistance, hosted by 350.org at a sold out event at Lisner Auditorium in Washington, DC. Held the day after Trump’s State of the Union, 350.org and supporters launched a new campaign – Fossil Free U.S. – and presented a strategy for passing local resolutions in cities and states nationwide that ban new fossil fuel projects and drive forward the fast and just transition to 100% renewable energy.
The event featured Senator Bernie Sanders, Bill McKibben, Cherri Foytlin, Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., Antonique Smith, Naomi Klein, Jacqueline Patterson, Mayor Bill de Blasio, and many more. The program was broadcast live to more than 300 watch parties around the country.
After a historic year of hurricanes devastating Houston, Florida, and Puerto Rico, floods across the South, and California and the Pacific Northwest’s wildfires, progressive leaders outlined a clear path forward for the climate movement and rebuked Trump’s fossil fuel agenda. In his first year in office, Trump pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement, greenlit dangerous pipelines like Dakota Access and Keystone XL, and moved to open protected lands and waters to fossil fuel extraction. At last night’s State of the Union, Trump doubled down on his support of fossil fuel companies like Exxon and highlighted disastrous plans that would scale back environmental protections to fast-track pipelines and other infrastructure.
Yet across the U.S., people are already building bold climate solutions. The Fossil Free campaign will build momentum and connect these initiatives through hundreds of local campaigns across the country. Stopping Trump’s climate-wrecking plans won’t come from the beltway, but from communities everywhere fighting for justice from the ground up.
More information on the Fossil Free campaign here: gofossilfree.org/usa/
Adriana Voss-Andreae MD PhD, 350PDX Executive Director, said: “We have a historic opportunity to correct the path of injustice and destruction taken over past generations and turn the tide for us and many generations to come. Led by local and most impacted communities, we can and must rapidly phase out the extractive fossil fuel economy by disallowing all new fossil fuel infrastructure and saying ‘YES’ to the type of just and renewable energy future we want. Ordinary people everywhere are stepping up to be the extraordinary heroes of our movement.”
Senator Bernie Sanders said: “President Trump’s position on climate change is pathetic and an embarrassment. The debate is over. Climate change is real. It is caused by human activity, and if we do not act aggressively to move away from fossil fuels, the impacts will get much worse. In 2017, we saw fires, floods and massive hurricanes — this is the kind of extreme weather that will become much more common with increasing climate change impacts. Now more than ever, millions of people must get engaged in the political process to demand that we finally put people before polluters.”
Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org said: “2017 was tough–we resisted, but we lost a lot of ground. 2018 we take that ground back, and we’ll do it with this Fossil Free campaign that helps unite progressive environmentalists to move us off oil and coal and gas and on to a world that works. We move into high gear on January 31–across organizations, across the arts and sciences, and across the country (with some help from our friends across the planet). ”
Cherri Foytlin, L’eau Est La Vie Camp (Water is Life Camp) or Louisiana Rise, said: “In Louisiana, we’re on the frontlines of climate change impacts and the fossil fuel industry’s expansion. From offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico to the Bayou Bridge pipeline, these destructive and unnatural projects are polluting our communities and destroying livelihoods, while wrecking our climate and exacerbating historic wetland loss, at the same time. While our resistance, led by Indigenous peoples and impacted communities, continues the fight for justice against Big Oil, we must also keep pushing for solutions that work for the people and the planet. Working toward a fossil free world means providing opportunity to our communities through renewable energy jobs that far outshine the false promises of the dirty fuels sector. Their misguided and greedy vision is one that we and the climate simply can no longer afford.”
Dallas Goldtooth, Keep it in the Ground organizer with Indigenous Environmental Network, said: “As Indigenous people, if there is anything we can learn from struggles of our ancestors is that resistance is nothing without the resiliency to build in the face of our oppression. So we must look forward to building this movement of movements, we must activate our power as water protectors, land defenders, and community makers to build a fossil free world, a more just society for all of our generations on Mother Earth.”
Jacqueline Patterson, Director of Environmental and Climate Justice Program, NAACP, said: “As we build a new energy economy, we must ensure it is rooted in principles and processes of equity and justice. Without deliberative intentionality, we run the risk of mirroring the injustices of the fossil fuel economy even as we aim to save the environment. To care for our ecosystem, it means we must be as concerned about human rights as we are about conservation. This means that our emerging new economy must take money out of politics and establish true democracy and it must ensure universal access to the commons including quality jobs/livelihoods, affordable and accessible energy, and clean air, clean water, healthy and nutritious food, affordable housing and land, accessible mobility/transit, and more.”
Jameka Hodnett, Sierra Club Ready for 100, said: “Because we are facing a time crunch it would be less time consuming to transition the nation without centering the most marginalized of us. But then, we would be perpetuating the same inequities that landed us in this situation. Therefore, we must be swift but we must also be vigilant. We must be constantly checking and re-framing our work and messaging by re-centering our work around frontline communities and their vision for what a just and equitable transition looks like. We must hold ourselves accountable and make sure that our work is anti-oppressive and pro frontline community restoration and revitalization.”
Jessica Lorena Rangel, the founder of Eyes of a Dreamer in Houston, said: “Hurricane Harvey left tens of thousands out of their homes and billions worth of damages. It became very evident that black and brown communities, including half a million undocumented people who live in Houston and its surrounding areas, were not taken into consideration in disaster preparation. Our communities were the last ones to get any aide. Our children were exposed to contaminated flood waters filled with chemicals resulting in major illness. Due to fear of deportation, undocumented communities felt isolated and unable to ask for support . To address these extreme natural disasters and their social consequences, we must get to the root of the climate problem: fossil fuels. We must shut down all fossil fuel projects and build a 100% renewable energy future for all. Our communities, including the undocumented, deserve a fossil free future where we are treated well and live without fear.”
Julian NoiseCat, 350.org, said: “Climate change is a grave threat to humankind. This nation’s first people—the original stewards of this land—are standing up and speaking out on behalf of a planet in peril. When we come together as one, we ensure justice for all.”
Rev Lennox Yearwood Jr., President & CEO, Hip Hop Caucus, said: “We have the power to defend our rights, protect our air, water and communities, and enforce the protections when the government fails to do so. There is little doubt we face the most adversarial administration and Congress we have ever seen against the environment. But young people and people of color are standing up for a clean energy revolution using culture, unity and love to secure the fossil free world that we urgently need and deserve. Communities of color and young people are putting forth the leadership that is needed to make this movement as big, broad and powerful as it needs to be to win. The fossil fuel industry business plan is a death sentence to future generations, so we must resist! We are mobilizing in the upcoming elections, and working on change at local and state levels . We all have a role to play and the time is now to turn our resistance into a vision for our future that is fossil free at last.”
Tara Rodriguez, Efecto Sombrilla, said: “Puerto Rico’s critical situation after Hurricane Maria is a prime example of how climate change and disaster capitalism devastates communities. Puerto Rico is still without electricity, our island is importing 98% of its food, and our water is contaminated. My island has experienced continued inequalities due to colonization and extractive tactics. Climate disasters will continue to compound the situation if we do not stand up and demand a fossil free economy. Already there is a mass exodus of people from our island and surrounding islands that are being affected by climate change and rising sea levels. A fossil free future is crucial for a sustainable Puerto Rico.”
Varshini Prakash, Sunrise Movement, said: “As a young person, I’m scared about what a climate changed world will look like, and I’ve seen what disasters can do to the places and people I love most. We’re fighting back against fossil fuel executives and their allies in Washington who’ve sold out our generation for profit because our very lives depend on it.”
Thanu Yakupitiyage, U.S. Communications Manager, email@example.com, +1 (413) 687-5160
Dani Heffernan, U.S. Communications Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 (305) 992-1544