The Transformative Power of Climate Truth
This paper explores the transformative power — and strategic necessity — of climate truth. It explains why only a truth-focused strategy holds the potential for societal transformation on the massive scale that is necessary to protect humanity and the natural world.
Originally published in April, 2015, it has been updated multiple times to address developments in politics, the climate movement, and at The Climate Mobilization, the organization I have served as Founding Executive Director since 2014. It was most recently updated in January, 2019.
This paper draws from my experience as a Clinical Psychologist, my studies of social movements and anthropology, and my experience leading The Climate Mobilization.
We decided to found a new organization because we identified a crucial element missing from the U.S. climate movement: an organization that was promoting a comprehensive solution to the climate crisis at the scale and speed required — a solution that could fundamentally reshape the economy at wartime speed — a Climate Mobilization. Our mission is to initiate a World War II-scale mobilization that protects humanity and the natural world from climate catastrophe. This means eliminating greenhouse gas emissions in less than 10 years and drawing down a massive amount of CO2 from the atmosphere. Read more about our solution here.
Our strategy to Move the Movement centered around “inception” and “pollination,” meaning that if we could be out front, “de-risking” our aggressive approach and proving its viability, then other larger groups would begin taking it on. For the first three and a half years, our language, vision, and timelines were relatively marginal in the broader climate movement, though our stance inspired fierce devotion among our volunteers and supporters.
And it worked! At the end of 2018, the dam burst and the Climate Emergency Movement emerged, finally, as a confident and powerful force! This movement tells the truth about the scale of the crisis, and demands a “Green New Deal” or WWII-scale climate mobilization, a 10-year transition to zero emissions plus drawdown led by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Justice Democrats in Congress, the Sunrise Movement, Zero Hour, School Strikers and Extinction Rebellion, in the streets and, more than 40 cities in 4 countries declaring a “Climate Emergency.”
The theory of the transformative, galvanizing power of climate truth is now being demonstrated in real time.