Mobilizing for climate change action by Mobilization Team
Lets mobilize for a clean green future, decide where we are going, visualize the ideal future and move toward it.
We need a WWII level of mobilization worldwide to lick this problem, not a piecemeal approach. Culture change requires changes in framing. The first step is to sign the pledge to mobilize which establishes our frame. Then every sector needs to get to work on this problem, just as we all worked together in World Wars 1 and 2.
Step 1 - The Pledge to mobilize is a one-page document that any American and American Institution can sign. It is a public acknowledgment that the climate crisis threatens civilization, an endorsement of a World War II–scale mobilization that brings the United States to carbon neutrality by 2025, creates full employment, and makes global net zero emissions our top foreign policy priority. For a full explanation of these urgent targets, see The Case for Mobilization, as well as Recount by David Spratt.
Step 2 – Leadership - Previous successful international mobilizations have not been somber or purely scientific affairs. They have often been led by brilliant, upbeat and positive “happy warriors” whose optimistic demeanor may have masked their weighty concern. The people will not follow a sourpuss. They want leaders who are able to convey a sense of humor along with an unwavering sense of urgency. So appropriate civic and political leadership is key. This is a cause, not a chore.
Step 3 – Mobilization – Think of our World Wars and you first think of popular culture, of songs and stories like those surrounding the doughboys of World War I and the big band era music so closely associated with World War II. A new set of songs and stories will need to be written and a new mobilization framing must be taught, broadcast, discussed, revised, accepted and adopted by the majority of the members of society. This includes converting all of our educational institutions to focus largely on the problem from primary school through university.
What actions do you propose?
We need a cultural change, and that only happens through changes in framing which must then be accepted and adopted by the majority of the members of a society. This new framing is inherent in the Pledge to Mobilize.
Let's look at the most successful transformations of the past few millennia. These include the rise of Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and the other major religions, the adoption of universal suffrage and universal free education, the rise of capitalism, the growth of the middle class, the reach of the entertainment sector including television, and most recently the spread of the internet and cell phone use. The rise of Nazism and Communism in the period after the First World War was at heart a shift in consciousness and a transformation of how people felt about themselves and their relation to one another and the state. The defeat of these two mind-sets was also a shift of consciousness and in each case required a mobilization of the entire society.
Changing buildings and transportation systems is not sufficient. We need to change prime movers internal to people - attitudes and motivations and World view, and level of personal commitment, then changes are inevitable in energy, transportation, industry, buildings, education, health care, religion, entertainment, retail, farming, water infrastructure, information transfer, banking and finance, politics, waste management, etc.
Here is how change took place over the past 2,000 years in the Christian parts of the World. Islam and other religions have almost identical stories to tell. Nothing will change until and unless our story about the future changes. People need to comprehend and value the new reality and strive toward it's completion.
I am not religious, so I am not asking you to do anything religious, but I want us to pay attention to how transformation, like the one we all need to make, really takes place. I looked at religion as a model and suggest we all do that now as well, as an exercise to get ready to make a truly comprehensive plan after we all sign the pledge to mobilize.
How the apostles did it
• Music telling a story in the local language and stressing common values;
• A compelling hero story (The life of Christ);
• An idealized distant future (The glorious afterlife);
• An idealized near term future (a community of like-minded believers, dignity and hope for all, mutual social support, respect, structure);
• A pledge (creed);
• It was provable according to them because they had the infallible Bible;
• They were persecuted from outside;
• Anyone could become a hero like the Biblical predecessors;
• People were able to easily self-define as part of the “in-group”;
• No barriers to entry for anyone;
• Different “brands” all fit under one umbrella;
• Traveling Apostles to carry the message;
• Emphasized the wisdom of self, building up individual power as opposed to state power;
• A model community as a template for others to follow;
• Witnessing in front of the congregation and getting reaffirmed for that;
• A strong moral or value code at the core.
How the Climate Change Movement might do it
• Music - Sing for the Climate and other environmental music (Teach it in schools sponsor contests to write music about the clean and green future and how to get there, give awards for entertainers who help us tell that story. Get celebrities on board from the start. Need a special Grammy Award for environmental music.);
• Compelling hero stories (Felix Finkbeiner, Wangari Maathai, Rachel Carson. Help make them part of popular culture. Get the TV networks behind this idea. We need biopics on each of them. Popular culture needs to lead the way, as it did in WW I and WW II. Need a special Oscar category for movies, like Gandhi or Selma, that change the culture);
• An idealized distant future (The clean/green future we can all envision - We need books and movies and TV shows that illustrate how it can be in this idealized future. We need a set of prestigious awards for movies that inspire us to do everything right and to reach our highest potential, not just disaster movies about how bad it could get if we do everything wrong.);
• An idealized near term future so we see how we can get there (a community of like-minded co-workers, dignity and hope for all, mutual social support, respect, cooperative living systems, localized food production and return to small farms and localized agriculture);
• A pledge to mobilize and to be a good climate citizen that everyone learns just like we all learned the pledge to the flag (This is a short and punchy pledge that kids can learn in school);
• Rituals like marches and protests and maybe a secret "salute" or handshake to show you are on the side of nature;
• Pay appropriate homage to science and call out the anti-science debunkers and deniers. Our belief system is provable because we have Science, which is much more infallible than religion;
• It is presented as core curriculum in schools at every level, with new lesson plans that integrate the clean and green future into every subject at every grade;
• We may become persecuted from outside (if we are lucky) and that allows us to have our martyrs who further add to the mystique;
• Anyone could become a hero like Felix, Wangari and Rachel (Families who convert to solar, re-insulate their homes, get off the grid, drive electric vehicles and eat local and/or vegan diets should be publicly celebrated in every community);
• People are able to easily self-define as part of our “in-group” (everyone is welcome if your foot is on the green path. It is not the distance you have traveled toward a zero carbon lifestyle that is important, but the fact that you have intention to be "green.");
• No barriers to entry for anyone. (Even the most profligate energy hog can reform and become an energy saver. Welcome the converts into the fold);
• Different “brands” all fit under one umbrella (Eliminate the silos between environmental groups and university departments. We are all headed for the same clean and green future);
• Traveling Presenters who are trained to carry the message (Al Gore's 6,500 trainees re-purposed to give positive and uplifting messages? TV personalities and entire networks dedicated to getting the messages out. Empowering the green team at every school to present this information to their students and parents.);
• Emphasize the wisdom of self, building up individual power as opposed to state power (This program should not be seen by our conservative members as an abridgement of their rights, since it is an opportunity to give each person the power to provide their own energy and food and to provide their own transportation with an electric vehicle powered by the sunshine that falls on their own roof.);
• A model program that every household can follow as a template for family and individual action (See checklist);
• A model community somewhere in the World that is way ahead of the rest of us with zero carbon footprint and extensive reforestation and protection of rivers, lakes and coastal fisheries. This gives us a "living laboratory" to emulate. (Denmark? Finland? Oregon?);
• Kids make presentations in front of parents & families make presentations for other families community by community around the World - spurring a true peoples' movement (Every school should have a science fair focused on Green Action);
• A strong moral or value code at the core. (We love the Earth and are all working for a clean and green future so that seven generations from now our descendants will appreciate what we have done and praise us for it.)
Here is the actual Pledge to Mobilize - which is US centered:
Climate change is causing immense human suffering and damage to the natural world. It threatens the collapse of civilization within this century. Confronting this crisis is the great moral imperative of our time.
I CALL ON THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT TO:
1. Immediately commence a social and economic mobilization to restore a climate that is safe, stable, and supportive of human civilization. This heroic campaign shall be carried out on the scale of the American World War II home front mobilization, and will require hard work and shared sacrifice from all Americans.
2. Reduce our country’s net greenhouse gas emissions 100 percent by 2025 and implement far-reaching measures to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
3. Enlist tens of millions of Americans in efforts to rapidly expand our carbon-neutral energy and agricultural systems, conduct groundbreaking research, and implement large-scale adaptation measures. As in WWII, full employment will be achieved.
4. Conduct this mobilization in accordance with the Constitution and ensure that the essential needs of the civilian economy are met during this time of transition.
5. Establish the following imperatives as our nation’s top foreign policy priorities: A 100 percent reduction of global net greenhouse gas emissions at wartime speed, and the deployment of comprehensive measures that remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere until a safe climate is restored. I will enlist Americans from all walks of life in this campaign. If sitting politicians fail to mobilize, we will elect leaders with the courage and foresight to enact these demands.
1. Vote for candidates — on every electoral level — who have signed the Pledge to Mobilize over those who have not.
2. Devote time, money, or both to elected officials and candidates who have signed the Pledge.
3. Mobilize my skills, resources, and networks to spread the truth of climate change and the hope of this movement to others. When I spread the Pledge to Mobilize, I will do so with respect, truth, focus and courage. Thus I pledge to mobilize, in defense of civilization and the natural world.
- See more at: http://www.theclimatemobilization.org/sign_the_pledge
Once we have mobilized, lets tell stories about people already making change happen, focusing on opportunities, solutions, and true green growth in four main narratives: a) green growth opportunities, b) better quality of life in a low-carbon society c) the ethical stewardship story, and d) stories on re-wilding and the resilience of nature. If people start believing we can create a better society with lower emissions, they will take action.
The more we drive electric cars, e-bikes, eat no-till foods, and put solar panels on our roofs, the more we spur others to action. Therefore, by applying "nudging"—making it simpler to take action for the climate—we can build consistent attitudes supporting climate policy.
Years of research have shown that trying to motivate people on this issue by scaring them fails. Up-to-date framing research proves that people respond better to a “prevent damage” message than to an “avoid risk” one. As pragmatic, action-oriented optimists, the real focus of our framing on this issue should be action to prevent more damage and what is working now? We need to pose the climate change problem as a challenge we can all meet.
Language to use is: being prosperous, saving money, being clean, safe, and healthy, being free, and doing it ourselves. Big political change always starts with the grassroots. That bottom-up path calls on our most prized traits –doing things in our own communities, being part of a grassroots groundswell, being innovative, pragmatic, showing can-do, rolling-up-our sleeves, helping to reinvent a new, healthier economy from the ground up.
“We can do it, it will be good for us, it will prevent new damage, it will save/make money/jobs, save our health, our economy, our communities. We can improve our economy by meeting the climate change challenge!
Who will take these actions?
Every citizen and every institution in every country needs to choose to sign the pledge or not. Either you are part of the mobilization, or you are not. If you are part of the mobilization you get the benefits of lower energy costs, less waste, and assurance of a clean and green future, and you get the feelings that come from working on a cause greater than yourself, for the benefit of everyone.
If you are not willing to sign the pledge or to take action to mobilize you are free to spend more money on energy, but expect to have the same degree of respect as an ardent pacifist in World War II. That is your choice, just as people could choose to support or to not support participation in our major wars. There is no civil or criminal penalty for being uncooperative.
Where will these actions be taken?
The US pledge needs to be modified as necessary and re-stated in ways that are appropriate for other countries all over the World. Of course more developed countries must act first and based on their success the less developed World can be brought along. So eventually there could be a pledge for every country, part of a universal pledge.
Also, a reminder pledge to recite at public events with hand over the heart would be exciting.
Such an Earth Pledge written by Janina Lamb has already been in limited use. This is one that could be recited by everyone and encapsulates the ideals of the Pledge to Mobilize. It goes as follows:
"I pledge allegiance to the Earth and all the Life which it supports, one Planet, in our care, irreplaceable, with sustenance and respect for all."
Another, a bit longer, by Aline D. Wolf is more specific:
"I pledge allegiance to the earth, and to all life that it nourishes; All growing things, all species of animals, and all races of people. I promise to protect all life on our planet, to live in harmony in nature, and to share our resources justly, so that all people can live in dignity, good health and in peace."
These are just examples of daily pledges that might become part of the rituals of daily life for everyone on the Planet, just as a pledge to the flag is a ritual for the daily life of American school children and adults who attend public meetings.
The key to this universal pledge is to have the US become a model. The key to the US becoming a model is for individual states to join the process one by one. This will be facilitated by our Climate Change is Elementary program that will deliver at least one school program in each state in 2016, giving each state a prototype from which to build. One facet of that program will be for the families who assemble at Family Night to recite the Pledge to Mobilize just as they now learn and get to sing the song, Sing for the Climate.
How will these actions have a high impact in addressing climate change?
Our target for the US is to get to zero emissions as soon as possible. We optimistically say we want to get there by 2025. Business as usual is unthinkable.
The problem with targets is that you always miss. When we entered World War II we did not say, "By June 6 1945 we will finish the War in Europe and by dropping two atomic bombs, by September 2, 1945 the Japanese will surrender." This is tantamount to a war and we want to win as soon as possible.
If we say we will drop our carbon footprint by 10% per year, using 2015 as a base, for 10 years, we can achieve the goal. But that is not how change takes place. Change is "lumpy" so we may experience an accelerating reduction that starts slowly and then makes great strides as time goes by.
Certainly the goal of getting to zero emissions as a planet will also require a great deal of carbon sequestration through reforestation and by revival of ocean dead zones. These are elements of our overall mobilization plan we need to stress.
What are other key benefits?
These actions will be a unifying force not just for Americans, but for every person in the World. This movement can have repercussions far beyond reduced energy use, because just as in World Wars, people need to get together to meet these goals. Our description above lists some of these ramifications in music, the arts, literature, movies, TV, religion, food production, housing, education and the ethos of our entire civilization.
What are the proposal’s costs?
Total amount requested: $500,000
$280,000 for 7 full time staff salaries at $40,000 each, adjusted slightly for region,
$50,000 for two part time staff salaries
$35,000 for operational expenses
$15,000 for video production
$5,000 for advertising testing
$115,000 for publication of illustrated family Pledge to Mobilize workbook for elementary and middle school grades with one page for each item on the Green Action Checklist, and tour of 50 schools in 50 state start-up of Climate Change is Elementary school program throughout 2016 to promote the Pledge to Mobilize in schools nationwide in the US.
There are no negative side-effects of the proposed actions.
Over 12,500 people have already signed the pledge. The next step is to make the pledge into part and parcel of everyday life for educators, religious leaders, business and civic leaders and eventually for politicians. This can all happen in the next 3 years.
Then the succeeding step is to visualize and begin to actualize a post carbon society in the developed World. We need to get beyond the reach of denial, or the power and influence of the fossil fuel industry and its allies, beyond political paralysis and short-term thinking, beyond the dominant economic paradigm of unconstrained and unsustainable consumption, beyond extreme financial inequities, and beyond the limits of present governance. This can all happen within 5 years.
This will all occur step by step once we have made the pledge into a vital part of the educational and cultural fabric of society. No specific dates can be set. What we are looking at here is a direction and momentum.
From 2014 winners-
All other proposals relate to this one because we are setting the stage for the changes that need to take place in all sectors of society.
Rapid Decarbonization Schemes and Mobilization Plans
The One Degree War Plan Gilding and Randers
Global Climate Stabilization Studies, Clean Air Task Force
Post Carbon Pathways: Towards a Just and Resilient Post Carbon Future, Wiseman, Edwards and Luckins
The Solutions Project, Jacobson
U.S. Climate Plan, Weber, Lichtash and Dorsey
Governing Rapid Climate Mitigation, Delina and Diesendorff