VOTE – SPEAK – ACT!
Every day we see more examples of wildlife being hurt and killed by climate change. In Australia, more than a billion native species have burned to death, including kangaroos and koalas. Fires in the rain forests of Malaysia and Brazil contribute to global warming and kill endangered orangutans and giant armadillos. Plants and animals are taking the horrific brunt of human excess and greed.
Sometimes I feel alone in my understanding of how terrible this crisis really is and how urgently we must act. People often seem apathetic and behave as though someone else will solve the problem.
But I am not alone. We are not alone.
In response to the crisis, Endangered Species Coalition has been participating in Fire Drill Fridays in Washington DC. Fire Drill Fridays were created by Jane Fonda, in order to support the efforts of Greta Thunberg and other young climate activists, to demand real climate action and a Green New Deal. The events included educational webinars, inspirational speakers and civil action and disobedience.
Hundreds of brave souls were arrested. Jane Fonda was arrested four times and spent one night in jail. I was arrested twice.
Getting arrested is scary. Fire Drill Fridays provided training on civil disobedience and the process of getting arrested. They warned us that we would be in painful handcuffs for hours, it would be very cold, and the bathroom situation was not ideal.
When laws are created to protect corporations that hurt and kill people and animals, and our government defends those laws and corporations and not its citizens and voters, it’s time to challenge the law and engage in civil, non-violent disobedience.
We have spent decades in court, published scientific reports, created petitions and action alerts and politely asked elected officials to do the right thing. Many of us have engaged in Get Out the Vote activities and vote in every election. It has not been enough. Decision-makers are not listening. For some, it’s time for civil disobedience.
Fire Drill Fridays started on Friday, October 11 and ended (in Washington DC) on Friday, January 10. They are now moving to Los Angeles, California – and beyond.
Greenpeace, an ESC member group, was the lead conservation organization helping Jane Fonda and will be coordinating Fire Drill Fridays throughout the country moving forward.
Fire Drill Fridays’ specific topics included climate change and: the Green New Deal; oceans; women; war & military; environmental justice; water; food-justice-agriculture; justice and immigrant rights; jobs & communities; health; forests; and holding fossil fuel companies accountable.
We most definitely are not alone! Thousands of people joined the rallies, even on rainy and cold days. It was very inspiring. And the rallies had amazing speakers, experts, and celebrities who raised their voices and were arrested to call attention to the climate crisis!
Over the course of three months, the speakers on Thursday night webinars and Friday Capitol Hill rallies included: Abigail Leedy (Sunrise Movement), Jasilyn Charger (Indigenous Environmental Protector), Matt Nelson (Presente.org), Whitney Crowder, Jennifer Jacquet, (NYU), Denise Patel (GAIA), John Hocevar (Greenpeace), Rachel Carmona (Women’s March), Asali Devan Ecclisiates, Jodie Evans (CODEPINK), Krystal Two Bulls (Veterans Against the War), Ben and Jerry, Phyllis Bennis, Ciarra Taylor, Robert Kennedy Jr., Khadlja Khokar, Abigail Disney, Mark Magana (Green Latinos), Yvette Arellano, Von Hernandez (Break Free from Plastics), Nick Brana (Extinction Rebellion), Garett Reppenhagen (Veterans for Peace), Mary Grant (Food and Water Watch), Kallan Benson, Gail Taylor, Ricardo Salvador (UCS), Lindsey Allen (Rainforest Action), Jim Goodman (Farm Activist), Sarah Schumann (Commercial Fisherman), Joel Alejandro Salazar (Resilience Force), Rev Dousa, Rabbi Devorah Lynn, Rabbi Shneyer, Joshua Alvarez (Sunrise Movement), Claudi Quinonez (United we Dream), Rev Anderson, Imam Saffett Cadov, Liz Butler (FOE), Diamonte Brown (Teachers Union), Winona Laduke (Economist, author), Gloria Steinem, Roshi Joan Halifax, Laura Seydel, Dolores Huerta (labor activist), Al-Jen Poo, Rev. Barber, Rolando Navarro (CIEL), Veronica Coptis (Center for Coalfield Justice), Kat Taylor (Beneficial State Bank), Annie Leonard, Eriel Tchekwie Deranger (Indigenous Climate Action) and Bill McKibben.
Celebrities included Sam Waterston, Ted Danson, Catherine Keener, Rosanna Arquette, June Diane Raphael, Brooklyn Decker, Diane Lane, Piper Perabo, Manny Jacinto, Amber Valletta, Paul Scheer, Ian Armitage, Maura Tierney, Kyra Sedgewick, Taylor Schilling, Sally Field, Casey Wilson, Lily Tomlin, Josh Fox, Ian Armitage, Naomi Klein, Martin Sheen, Joaquin Phoenix and Amber Valletta.
We must not relent. We must keep demanding real climate action now. Please create or join a Fire Drill Friday in your community! To get involved and plan a Fire Drill Friday in your community text 877877 or go to firedrillfridays.com.