Climate advocacy group looking to expand Tri-Cities presence

Jonathan Roberts • Dec 30, 2019 at 8:00 PM

A Bristol-based chapter of The Climate Mobilization, a group that aims to “accelerate the global transition into ‘emergency mode’ to address the climate emergency,” is looking to expand into the rest of the Tri-Cities.

The Bristol chapter, founded by Joy Stewart and Margaret Woolery in November, already has 18 members, but Stewart says they “would like to represent the Tri-Cities more broadly” and hopes to educate citizens on the risks of climate change.

“One of the things that I find reassuring in a way is that if we face the hard scientific facts about what is happening to our planet, we can transform our fear and grief into action,” Stewart said. “The Climate Mobilization believes that we have the capacity to solve this problem if we recognize its seriousness and all work together.”

The Climate Mobilization was founded in 2014 by Brooklyn, New York, psychologist Margaret Klein Salamon to “initiate a WWII-scale mobilization to reverse global warming and the mass extinction of species in order to protect humanity and the natural world from climate catastrophe.”

“The fact that we have warmed the world to this extent, and show little sign of stopping, is evidence of widespread institutional failure,” Klein Salamon says on the group’s website. “We cannot expect anyone else to save us. We must do it ourselves.”

For Stewart, who retired to Bristol, Tennessee, with her husband in 2006, climate advocacy is perfectly aligned with the values of someone who worked with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on conservation issues.

“I believe that global warming constitutes the most serious issue facing our planet, and solving it is going to require all of us to work together,” Stewart said. “I feel a responsibility as a citizen to take action and try to make a difference.”

While the group hasn’t yet set up a formal meeting, Stewart said she’s hoping to recruit more people before meeting “sometime in January.” Currently, most of the group’s members are from the Sullivan County Democratic Party, and Stewart is hoping to speak to political groups on both sides of the aisle to pick up support.

“We humans are the only species on earth that will decide whether this planet survives and that is a huge responsibility,” Stewart said.

Globally, the group aims to see the world cut emissions to zero in 10 years or less, have world governments declare a climate emergency and institute the use of “World War II-type policy instruments to transform the economy on an emergency basis,” among other things.

Locally, however, Stewart is hoping to drum up enough support to lobby local city and county governments to take stronger action to address climate change.

“I think we have two main complementary functions: To help educate citizens about the risks of climate change based on the most current scientific evidence, and to lobby our local city and county governments to declare a climate emergency so they can take systematic, comprehensive actions to address the problem,” Stewart said.

If you’re interested in joining the group or learning more, contact Joy Stewart at [email protected] or call (423) 573-2376.

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