Austin Takes to the Streets for Climate Justice

Global Climate March Austin

Guest Post – from Al Braden

Austin activists – well over a thousand – linked arms and took the climate fight to the Capitol of Carbon on Sunday, November 29th.

Dave Cortez of Sierra Club introduced the speakers:  Susana Almanza from PODER, Brandi Clark Burton, Senior Policy  Advisor to Mayor Adler, CarShandra “Shay” Hollins and Pam Perkins with Green is the New Black at Huston-Tillotson University, Kaiba White of Public Citizen, Richard Franklin III of Youth Unlimited, along with music by Son de Rey, Daniel Llanes and Bobby Bridger. Congressman Lloyd Doggett – the realistic one from Texas – sent a statement of support. Franklin wound it up with a challenge to get out and know Del Valle and East Austin, know the pollution and the challenges – be out there – and march for justice.

With that charge, the march circled downtown Austin, stopped at the Governor’s mansion to call out the Governor for climate denial and injustice and returned for a finale on the Capitol steps in support of strong action on climate at the Paris summit.

 

The event’s diversity cut across all lines and showed the real results of organizing across Austin by environmental groups like Public Citizen and Sierra Club and social justice organizations like PODER to hear each other over the past several years, work on issues important to all and make common cause. East meets west, black and brown meets white, young and old, rich and poor all in arms for a better world for themselves and their children. Climate and justice together in scale from neighborhoods to a global movement.

WHAT DO WE WANT?  

CLIMATE JUSTICE!

WHEN DO WE WANT IT?  

NOW!

These groups across Austin are fighting for lower utility bills, cleaner air, safe water, environmental justice and an end to the carbon pollution that is causing the climate crisis. As the streets were filled with marchers, Austin’s Mayor Adler led a delegation to Paris to work on municipal solutions for climate change. His group included Council Member Leslie Pool, Travis County Commissioner Brigid Shea and Electric Utility Chairman Michael Osborne.

March organizers were excited with the rally and stressed how it contributed to the world wide effort including over 785,000 activists at 2,300 events in 175 countries – all united for action on climate change and a fast transition to 100% clean energy. The group leaders included Kerstin Johansson, Joshua Wallis and Erik Dolliver who brought digital skills and connections to AVAAZ and 350.org along with local organizers like Susan Lippman of Wildflower UU and Sierra Club, Jere Locke of Texas Drought Project, Dani Slabaugh of Austin Climate Action Network, Dale and Pat Bulla of many organizations, Cindy Johnson, Zel Hurewitz at UT freshman, Angela Brubaker, Thad Crouch who filmed it, Pete Rivera and Jim Casey who led discussions on environmental racism and also Kaiba White, Dave Cortez and many more. Thanks also to Wildflower Unitarian Universalist Congregation for the use of space for all three months that it took to organize this empowering event.

It was big news on Austin’s nightly news. Here is a recap of the news stories compiled by Dale and Pat Bulla who worked with march organizers to bring the TV coverage:

http://kxan.com/2015/11/29/climate-change-marches-touch-down-in-austin/

http://www.kvue.com/story/news/local/2015/11/29/hundreds-march-against-climate-change/76547806/

http://www.twcnews.com/tx/austin/news/2015/11/30/climate-change-march-held-at-capital.html

http://kxan.com/2015/11/30/austin-leaders-hope-to-give-and-receive-advice-at-paris-climate-talks/

For those who couldn’t make it – or activists who want to take another look – here’s a YouTube slide show of the event:

This organizing won’t stop. This march was a great time to come together as a community, but it is just the beginning of what needs to be done for climate justice.

 

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