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A cimate change activist in a hammock occupying Oxford Circus in the busy shopping district of central London on April 18, 2019 wakes on the fourth day of an environmental protest by the Extinction Rebellion group earlier this year in the United Kingdom. (Photo: Isabel Infantes/AFP/Getty Images)

A cimate change activist in a hammock occupying Oxford Circus in the busy shopping district of central London on April 18, 2019 wakes on the fourth day of an environmental protest by the Extinction Rebellion group earlier this year in the United Kingdom. (Photo: Isabel Infantes/AFP/Getty Images)

Global Climate Movement: Darkest Before the Dawn

Climate action from above—like proposals for a Green New Deal—is both driven by and will only be achieved by determined and relentless pressure from below

Roy Morrison

Wildfires burning  in the Amazon and Siberia, unrelenting heat waves, 100-year floods happening yearly are signs of our times—the worst of times.

A global climate change movement is emerging as we face the real threats to life and  to global civilization posed by accelerating climate change. This is a matter of survival, not a blinkered environmentalism to benefit the rich.

The sudden appearance of millions of people in the streets of Hong Kong in defense of democracy is a glimpse of the billions that will fill the streets in the coming years to demand and achieve effective and swift climate change action and climate justice for all.

"Locally, city-wide, state-wide, nationally, internationally we must join the fight as if our lives depends upon it, because they do. Now's the time to join the movement for stopping global climate change and for climate justice."

The emergence, for example, of a Green New Deal advanced by AOC is followed by aggressive climate plans by Jay Inslee and Bernie Sanders, and by forthcoming candidate climate debates. This is reality. But accomplishing real action must be pushed relentlessly by a determined non-violent grassroots movement that will not countenance business and carbon pollution as usual.

This is a movement that will that will encompass groups ranging from Extinction Rebellion, 350.org, Greenpeace, China Youth Climate Action Network, Climate Group India and on and on. This will include many thousands of local groups encompassing the range of global cultural diversity like Swayam Shikshan Prayog in India that takes an ecological approach working with women entrepreneurs. It will be a movement led by working people and their unions, by students, by farmers, and foresters, by fishers, by senior citizens, and business people.

In retrospect,  we will say it was darkest before the dawn of a climate movement with unprecedented numbers and Gandhian persistence in demanding and accomplishing  healing change.

Cause and Effect

Climate change is the consequence of global pollution, the common practices of industrial civilization powered by fossil fuels combusted with 40 billion tons of carbon dioxide pouring into the atmosphere unabated each year.

A global problem must be solved by global action by all. This is focused not only on global policies, but on what happens where we live, where we work. It is action that must demand and implement prompt action on all levels:

  • On slashing carbon and other green house gas emissions, on removing existing excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere toward sustainable preindustrial levels of 300 parts per million. This is measured individually  for your Town by  carbon dioxide emissions limited to about 3 tons per person per year  and similar levels of carbon sequestration per year in soil and biomass
  • On building the renewable energy infrastructure to power our civilization;
  • On allowing sustainable ecological practices in agriculture, forestry, industry, industry

Climate Action from Above and Below

Climate action from above—like proposals for a Green New Deal—is both driven by and will only be achieved by determined and relentless pressure from below. A global climate movement's global demands will only be as effective as the strength of power from below manifested through non-cooperation and non-violent action in the streets and voter action at the polls.

Under business as usual, Mitch McConnell can refuse to bring a climate change bill to  a vote that he knows will pass, but it will make a considerable difference if hundreds of thousands are non-violently shutting down the nation's Capital for weeks.

We are in a fight for our lives and for the generations to come. Locally, city-wide, state-wide, nationally, internationally we must join the fight as if our lives depends upon it, because they do. Now's the time to join the movement for stopping global climate change and for climate justice. Raise your voice. Offer your skills. Now.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Roy Morrison

Roy Morrison builds solar farms in New Hampshire. His next book, forthcoming, is Ecological Economic Growth.

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