How to take action in Austin, TX
September 2019 – Selwyn Polit
We know from the IPCC Report from the United Nations in September 2018, that we have 11 years to stop the irreparable damage to our climate systems. We have to figure out how to make sweeping changes by reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, remove vast amounts of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and come up with better ways to let Mother Nature back into the world. Many of us feel stuck on how to move forward to help resolve this crisis. It is a large problem, but we can solve it! Here are some of the inspiring ways you can participate.
- Check out Extinction Rebellion Austin which follows in the footsteps of the international Extinction Rebellion movement to take non-violent direct action. This group has been protesting in London and all over the United Kingdom bringing traffic to a halt and getting over 1000 people arrested just to draw attention to the crisis. Their actions caused a Climate Emergency to be declared in the UK parliament. This group believes that rebellion is the way to get action and demands that the government tell the truth about the climate emergency, enact legally-binding policies to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 and that it should use a Citizens’ Assembly to oversee the changes. Finally the group demands a just transition that prioritizes black and indigenous people, poor communities and establishes legal rights for ecosystems. XR features meetings, trainings and protests along with regenerative culture events like meditations and kayaking in nature. https://www.facebook.com/pg/XRAustin/posts/
- 350 Austin is a local, grassroots organization committed to the goals and strategies of 350.org. 350 Austin may be uniquely positioned to influence the direction of climate change action. This is because Austin is the capital of Texas, a state with a long history with the fossil fuel industry, including production, processing, and distribution of fossil fuels. They recognize, however, that the current political climate in our state and the nation makes this work particularly challenging. Much of the work is around closing the Fayetteville coal plant and getting large investors to divest from the fossil fuel industry. Members showed up in force at the July 15 Electric Utility Commission in support of the Proposed Climate Resolution (which was passed!) This calls for the city of Austin to draft and adopt its own resolution declaring a climate emergency. 350.org is responsible for causing over $7 trillion of divestments. http://350-austin.org/
- The local chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby focuses on getting central Texas’ legislators to sponsor, adopt and support national legislation on climate change. While their website only references the 10th congressional district, there is also a monthly meeting for the 25th congressional district which includes Windsor Park. The TX-25 West/Central CCL meeting is held every second Saturday of the month at 11:30 at 4214 Ave. D in Hyde Park. Expect to join their project Grand Canyon where you can make monthly phone calls to our politicians to get them to support our efforts on solving the Climate Crisis. https://citizensclimatelobby.org/chapters/TX_Austin_Central/
- You can join the Windsor Park Climate Crisis Committee (formerly the Climate Change committee.) We are responsible for implementing the Windsor Park Climate resolution which was passed unanimously at the May 2019 meeting. We meet with local elected officials to lobby for climate change legislation. We also meet with Austin neighborhood associations to encourage their development of their own resolutions and climate crisis committees. For more details see https://www.windsorpark.info/climate-change-committee/
- For the younger folks, check out Climate Strike TX. This group follows on the inspiration of 16-year young swedish activist Greta Thunberg who began striking for the climate on Fridays back in August of 2018 in front of the Swedish Parliament. Greta has inspired millions to follow her lead and has spoken to numerous important people. She was even nominated for the Nobel Peace prize and featured on the cover of Time magazine. More on Greta at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greta_Thunberg#School_strike_for_climate and find Climate Strike TX on facebook at https://www.latest.facebook.com/climatestriketx
- For a list of more Austin climate change organizations,be sure to review the resources of the Austin Econetwork at https://austineconetwork.com/climate-action/
Please give yourself time to feel whatever feelings you have while facing this challenge. Most of us go through periods of grief and sorrow when we realize the enormity and the loss caused by the climate crisis.
I hope you feel excited and inspired to help solve the biggest crisis humankind has faced. You are part of a force of millions who are working alongside you.