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The U.S. Climate Movement, and People of the Global Majority

The following are some of the initiatives I have taken as a climate activist:

SUPPORT GROUPS

I have been setting up support groups for climate activists who are people of the global majority (PGM). A young adult Asian-heritage woman who attended my first wide world support group for climate activists now leads that group. We decided to focus it specifically on PGM climate leaders. She is taking an RC fundamentals class, and she and I meet for a Co-Counseling session before each support group meeting.

We set up another support group for PGM climate leaders who are available during the day. She leads that group, too. A PGM climate leader to whom I have been teaching RC is hosting it.

THE MARCH FOR CLIMATE ACTION

At the end of February I flew to Los Angeles (California, USA) to help train the fifty members of the Great March for Climate Action. These dedicated climate activists, who have been joined by many others along the way, are walking across the United States, from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., to call for action on the climate.

The march is ninety-six percent white—all too typical of the U.S. climate movement. I included two eliminating-white-racism classes in my training sessions, taught the use of RC topic-group discussions and Wygelian leaders’ groups,1 and set up a panel on eliminating white racism. The panel consisted of two PGM climate leaders from Los Angeles and two PGM marchers. They briefed the other marchers by answering a version of our standard RC questions for constituency panels: What is great about working in the climate movement? What is hard about it? What can white climate activists do to be better allies?

I set up an eliminating-white-racism support group that has continued to meet several times on the march. Other more general support groups are meeting, too. I also set up three environmental-justice briefings. I hope to educate these fifty dedicated climate activists, and myself, on environmental justice and the importance of supporting PGM in the movement. I expect they will pass on what they learn to the largely white climate groups that typically come out to meet them as they arrive in new communities across the country.

TOPIC GROUPS

A year ago I held two small, mostly white topic groups for climate activists in Washington, D.C. One took on2 an eight-week study of our Washington, D.C., sustainability plan and decided to bring more local climate groups together in an ongoing structure. As a first step toward building a multiracial structure, we got three local, mostly white environmental groups to work with a mostly African-heritage organization.

As Harvey3 always told us, when I get over my embarrassment and other patterns and try using RC tools outside of RC, they usually work.

Jim Driscoll
Washington, D.C., USA

Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion list
for leaders in the care of the environment


1 A Wygelian leaders’ group is a group of leaders and potential leaders of a particular constituency in which each person takes a turn doing the following: (1) reporting on what he or she has been doing in the last period, with regard to the constituency, (2) saying what he or she thinks is the current situation facing the constituency, from his or her viewpoint, (3) sharing what he or she proposes to do as a leader in the next period, and (4) discharging on what is getting in the way of his or her leadership. The group does not make any group plans but rather serves to encourage individual initiative. It meets only when the members feel a need for meeting.
2 “Took on” means undertook.
3 Harvey Jackins


Last modified: 2020-07-17 20:50:52+00