Fossil Free movement kicks of 2018 with powerful call for local action
Washington, DC — On Wednesday, 350.org launched the Fossil Free U.S. campaign in a sold out theater with over 300 watch parties across the country, reaching over one million people online. At the event, co-emcees Bill McKibben of 350.org and Reverend Lennox Yearwood of the Hip Hop Caucus outlined the climate movement’s plan to take action locally and expand the movement in 2018 through 2020.
“The Fossil Free movement is taking things to the next level in 2018,” said May Boeve, 350.org Executive Director. “Building off the global fossil fuel divestment movement, which successfully led over 800 institutions to divest over $6 trillion in assets from fossil fuel companies, we’re kicking into high-gear. On Wednesday we saw hundreds of thousands of people fired up and ready to take action for the bold change we so desperately need.”
At the high-profile event featuring Senator Bernie Sanders, Varshini Prakash of the Sunrise Movement, Jacqueline Patterson of the NAACP, Adriana Voss-Andreae of 350PDX, Cherri Foytlin of Louisiana Rise, Jameka Hodnett of Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 and more, speakers shared stories of local climate action already underway, and the steps necessary to take the movement to the next level. Next week, organizers are holding a series of calls on next steps for activists and newly engaged communities across the U.S.
“We know we won’t see anything but dangerous regression from Trump and his fossil fuel elite friends, so we’re taking power into our own hands — starting at the local level,” Boeve added.
In 2018, organizers expect hundreds of new Fossil Free campaigns across America to introduce sweeping resolutions at the local level that ban new fossil fuels projects and drive forward a fast and just transition to 100% renewable energy for all. By introducing these resolutions, communities across the country will be supporting the ongoing fights against dangerous new fossil fuel projects, including pipelines like Keystone XL, Line 3 in Minnesota, the Atlantic Coast pipeline, and many other projects. The Promise to Protect, an effort to stop Keystone XL, has gained commitments from over 15,000 people to travel to the pipeline route if and when the time comes.
This local organizing is already underway. One of the featured speakers at Wednesday’s event., Dr. Adriana Voss-Andreae, Executive Director of 350PDX, has helped her community build broad and diverse coalitions in the Pacific Northwest. As a model for the Fossil Free Resolutions work, 350PDX passed the nation’s first-ever Fossil Free ordinance effectively banning all new fossil fuel projects in the region, as well as secured a resolution for 100% renewable energy. Now, with the leadership of frontline communities, they’re working to pass a Just Transition resolution. This work in Portland, Oregon shows passing resolutions like these across the country can be an effective tool for keeping fossil fuels in the ground and transitioning our energy system toward 100% renewables for all.
Dr. Voss-Andreae 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.”
As resolutions pass, they will be held up as real commitments to climate action, while presenting a clear roadmap for binding legislation and transitioning to fossil free energy in cities and towns. This is happening in coordination with the international Fossil Free movement, which will launch globally in March.
In the weeks and months to come, Fossil Free U.S. will assert massive pressure on city and state elected officials to take on its demands and commit to tangible action that paves the way for a fossil free world. That pressure will build as we head towards September’s international climate summit to be held by Governor Jerry Brown in San Francisco,
Thanu Yakupitiyage, U.S. Communications Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 (413) 687-5160