ENVIRONMENTAL HUMANITIES MEETS LOCAL ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISM
ASLE is pleased to announce that #ClimateUprising has been awarded a 2019 Community Grant of $5000, to fund the editing and completion of a film about activism that came out of the 2018 Camp Fire. Projects foreground the intersection between the role of representation and rhetoric and local efforts to address issues of environmental degradation and injustice, as well as engage with at least one of the following objectives: community-based research, civic participation, social/environmental justice, and educational or cultural innovation. In conference years such as 2019, ASLE also prioritizes the region where the conference is held; this year it took place at the University of California, Davis, about 100 miles from Paradise, California. Mike Ziser, UC Davis faculty member and our conference site host, is the ASLE sponsor for the grant.
#ClimateUprising connects the environmental humanities with local environmental activism through story-telling, community organizing, and partnerships. The organization espouses the belief that in helping people to experience how deeply interconnected all of our stories are, it will make us more apt to take action to fight the climate crisis.
The climate crisis is an umbrella issue, interweaving every aspect of life, from economic justice to health care. #ClimateUprising provides a bridge for a variety of environmental groups, and in Chico/Paradise has helped to connect organizations including Chico 350, Climate Mobilization, Sunrise Chico, Fridays for Future Student Strike, and Extinction Rebellion. They have also been working with Congressional candidate Audrey Denney, who we helped to send to Washington D.C., along with several Camp Fire Survivors, to share their local story with national leaders such as Bernie Sanders and Nancy Pelosi, as well as with the Sunrise Movement and Bill McKibben.
They have partnered with the Sunrise Movement on their National Tour of the Green New Deal and helped them to connect with environmental leadership on the ground in Chico, which has since formed a local Sunrise Chico Chapter. Collectively, the groups brought the Green New Deal tour to Chico, and also partnered with local orgs in Chico to help pass a Declaration of Climate Emergency. They plan to continue working with local environmental organizations and leaders to organize, with the goal of making climate change a critical issue when voting in 2020.
Telling the personal stories of those direct affected by climate fueled disasters like the Camp Fire can have an impact. According to a recent study by Yale conducted after the California wildfires, public awareness and belief in climate change increased 9 points—the largest increase recorded in this survey’s history. Hence they have embarked on the film project that ASLE is helping to fund.
The short film follows a group of Camp Fire survivors and Audrey Denney, an educator, farmer, and first-time Congressional candidate who ran (and lost) against 4 term climate denier, Republican Doug LaMalfa in 2018. Just two days after losing the election, the climate-fueled wildfire destroyed the town of Paradise, displacing 52,000 people and killing 86. In the midst of traumatic loss, Audrey teams up with a group of Camp Fire survivors on a crowdfunded trip to Washington D.C. to speak out about the climate crisis as they try to find hope. As climate scientists warn that time is running out, will Paradise and a global climate uprising be enough of a wake-up call before the 2020 election?
2019 Conference Special Session
ASLE also held a special session on California Wildfires at the 2019 Biennial Conference in Davis, CA. One of the speakers was #ClimateUprising member Dr. Susan Dobra, a Lecturer at Cal State Chico and 18 year resident of Paradise who lost her home during the wildfire, and barely escaped the flames with her partner, John Michael-Sun. Other panelists included Andrew Latimer, a fire ecologist from UC Davis; Brandon Collins from the Center for Fire Research and Outreach at UC Berkeley, discussing forest recovery strategies; and Mike Roddy, a local steel-frame, low-combustibles builder on sustainable rebuilding.
Press stories about the work of #ClimateUprising
- Camp Fire Survivors Go to D.C. for Climate Change – Chico News & Review 2/14/2019
- #ClimateUprising Raises Concerns for Climate-Induced Disasters – The Orion, 2/19/2019
- #ClimateUprising Group Portrait – Action News Now, 2/17/2019
- Hundreds Gather in Paradise for #ClimateUprising Portrait – ChicoSol.org 2/17/2019
- #ClimateUprising Helps Camp Fire Survivors Tell Their Stories – ChicoSol.org, 2/14/2019
- Green New Deal Activists Make First 2020 Endorsement – Huffington Post 4/27/2019
- Sunrise Movement Ramps Up Plans for 2020 – Rolling Stone 5/1/2019