By Annelise Gilbert ’17
On Thursday, Oct. 13 during Common Hour, the Trinity Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies (TIIS) hosted a talk titled “Climate Change and Advocacy – From Local Impact to Big Picture.” The conversation featured guest speakers Ezra Silk and Devi Lockwood.
Ezra Silk is the Co-Founder and Strategy Director at The Climate Mobilization, a non-profit organization whose mission is to “protect civilization and the natural world.” The organization wants the U.S. federal government to commence WWII-scale climate mobilization effort as soon as possible, in addition to impressing upon the public the urgency of the climate crisis. Ezra also happens to be the son of Mark Silk, Director of Trinity’s Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life.
Ezra Silk began his portion of the conversation by explaining what led to The Climate Mobilization. In 2014, he read The Great Disruption by Paul Gilding and was inspired by Gilding’s call for a mass climate mobilization by 2018 that would include the closure of all coal plants and a rationing of electricity. So instead of relying on individuals to take action, Silk created The Climate Mobilization, which demands politicians and citizens alike to pledge to put WWII-scale mobilization into action to combat climate change.
The elements of WWII-scale climate mobilization include a fossil fuel phase-out, a renewable energy production miracle, the securing of food and water supplies, a national conservation project, and the mobilization of the world. Silk and those at The Climate Mobilization believe that drastic action is needed because their studies show that climate change is an emergency, and that civilization will perish if action is not taken immediately.
The Climate Mobilization has made progress in political realms. This year they were able to advocate for an addition to the 2016 Democratic Party Platform’s Global Climate Leadership section, which reads, “We believe the United States must lead in forging a robust global solution to the climate crisis. We are committed to a national mobilization, and to leading a global effort to mobilize nations to address this threat on a scale not seen since World War II.” Prominent supporters of The Climate Mobilization include the environmentalist, author, and journalist Bill McKibben, Michael Mann, a climatologist and geophysicist, and climate policy analyst Philip Sutton. Students can visit their website at www.theclimatemobilization.org to learn how to become involved.
The second speaker, Devi Lockwood, is a 2014 Harvard University graduate who was awarded Harvard’s Gardner & Shaw Postgraduate Traveling Fellowship for a year of purposeful wandering. With the fellowship, Lockwood traveled the world on a mission to collect 1,001 stories from people she meets about water and climate change. To date she has traveled to various locations in the U.S.A., Fiji, Tuvalu, New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia, and collected over 500 stories. Lockwood spoke about the stories she heard in each country. She recounted learning about how the waste from dairy cows in New Zealand has degraded their water sources, how Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is dying, and how the widespread drought in Thailand has caused many to abandon their farms and move to cities.
By Annelise Gilbert ’17