Mobilizing Hope

Authors Margaret Klein Salamon and David Wallace-Wells spoke about the stark reality of today’s climate emergency, as well as mobilizing action to solve it.

November 11, 2019

3:08 pm

“It is worse, much worse, than you think. The slowness of climate change is a fairy tale, perhaps as pernicious as the one that says it isn’t happening at all…” These opening sentences of David Wallace-Wells’ best-selling book, “The  Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming,” spell out the climate emergency for all life on earth. The non-fiction book takes readers on a searing journey through how much has already been lost, and how much worse it will get, in our lifetimes.

Published in early 2019, “Uninhabitable Earth” is a necessary, disturbing read that builds on and expands his July 2017 article in New York Magazine with the same title. The last thing you’d expect to hear about in this book is hope — but that’s where Wallace-Wells lands. No matter how dire things already are, and how much worse they can get, humans can solve problems just as effectively as we create them. Wallace-Wells writes, “When we do truly see the world we’ve made…we will also find a way to make it livable.”

Finding that way means first facing the facts that humanity’s window to gradually manage the climate emergency has closed; dealing with the feelings of fear and despair that come up, and then taking positive steps to make things better. Having hope isn’t enough — we need to mobilize action at all levels of society, government, and business.  

The Uninhabitable Earth (2019) and Facing the Climate Emergency (April 2020)

Margaret Klein Salamon’s upcoming April 2020 book “Facing the Climate Emergency: How to Transform Yourself with Climate Truth” offers a path to mobilizing hope with action.

The book captures the ongoing work of the grassroots environmental Climate Mobilization movement, which Salamon founded in 2015 after the People’s Climate March. Climate Mobilization is calling for a WWII-scale climate mobilization that eliminates emissions in 10 years.

On November 7, members of the Earth’s Call Fund attended a private event with Wallace-Wells and Salamon in New York City, where both authors spoke. Earth’s Call Fund provided financial support at the event as a “Climate Champion.” Representing Earth’s Call Fund were Board members Michele Hunt, Jay Halfon, and Roberta Baskin.

Earth's Call Fund Board member Roberta Baskin and Margaret Klein Salamon, founder of Climate Mobilization

"At first, David and Margaret took us on a journey, detailing the terrifying scale of the climate emergency, with accelerating disasters and suffering we all face, but especially young people," said Baskin. "Margaret emphasized that gradualism, reducing emissions over time, will not prevent the collapse of civilization. Then she turned to the awakening taking place; the growing activism by groups like Sunrise, Extinction Rebellion, and the youth movement inspired by Greta Thunberg."

Salamon shared how the Climate Mobilization movement has shifted in recent years. When they started five years ago, the group’s call for a massive response was seen as too radical, even from within the rest of the climate-change community. About a year ago, she said, “Everything changed, with the emergence of the Green New Deal, School Strikers, and last week’s ‘Warning to Humanity’ report co-signed by 11,000 scientists. Over 1,1000 cities have issued Climate Emergency Declarations, including 50 American cities such as New York City, Miami Beach, Austin, and Ann Arbor.”

“We created an organization based on facing and telling the painful truth and advocating for a solution that could actually work. Rather than asking ‘What’s possible now?’ we are dedicated to making the necessary possible.” – Margaret Salamon Klein, Founder of Climate Mobilization, New York City, November 7, 2019.

By the end of the evening Baskin’s sense of optimism kicked in. She said: “I feel more hopeful, galvanized by the opportunity before us. If we treat the climate crisis like the emergency it is, and work collectively and urgently, we can save ourselves and all living things. It's the heroic mission of our times and I want to be part of it.”

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