The #ClimateUprising is a call for bi-partisan climate action, based on the consensus of climate science. We’re telling real stories of people already impacted by climate change, starting with wildfire survivors from Paradise, California. Part movie, part movement, the #ClimateUprising stands in solidarity with a growing global movement rising up to demand climate action.
Climate change is making California wildfires worse. Since 2000, the wildfire season has grown 9 days longer every year, with 15 of the 20 worst wildfires in California history happening in the last 18 years. The last 5 years have been the hottest years in human recorded history.
Historically in Paradise, it would rain well before Halloween. But now rain doesn't arrive, and the wildfire season continues into fall, when the gusty winds whip through the mountains. So on November 8th, when a spark ignited still bone-dry vegetation, the gusty fall winds caused the Camp Fire to burn at speeds of 80 football-fields-per-minute. That's 1.2 football fields per second. You can't fight fires that burn that fast - and you can't outrun them.
The fire killed 86 people, wiping out an entire town (18,000 of 20,000 structures burned). Over 52,000 people were displaced, with recovery costs estimated at $16.5 billion, making this the single most expensive disaster in the world in 2018.
10 days after the fire, Trump visited the ruins of Paradise (which he twice called “Pleasure”), recommended the town simply “rake their forest” to prevent future wildfires, and continued to deny the reality of climate change. The debate about climate change is over amongst the scientific community. In fact, climate scientists warn we have less than 12 years to address climate change before catastrophic consequences become irreversible.
The day after Trump’s visit to Paradise, we began organizing a trip to send some wildfire survivors to the National Town Hall on the Climate Crisis that was hosted by Senator Bernie Sanders in Washington D.C. on December 3rd.
We sent four wildfire survivors with powerful stories to share. They were joined by 3 community organizers, including Audrey Denney, who had recently run for Congress to unseat the incumbent, Doug LaMalfa. Audrey, an educator and farmer who believes in climate science lost to LaMalfa, a climate denier. The wildfire hit two days later.
On December 3rd, our group traveled to D.C. and spent 2 days meeting with Senators, Congress-members, and environmental leaders, including Bernie Sanders, Nancy Pelosi, Bill McKibben and the Sunrise Movement (#GreenNewDeal). Our group shared their stories and concerns, connecting the dots between their experience and the climate crisis. Bernie Sanders made a video of their meeting and mentioned their story a few days later on the Colbert show.
Our Town Hall on Wildfires and The Climate Crisis
One of the goals of the group’s trip to D.C. was to bring the conversation back to their community, and to create a platform for more of the 52,000 people displaced by this wildfire to add their voices to this call for climate action. With that in mind, we are organizing a series of Town Halls on Wildfires and The Climate Crisis, to take place Paradise, Chico for Butte County in the Spring of 2019 (currently being planned).
We believe Paradise can be to climate change what Parkland has been to gun reform. With a belief in the power of stories to help communicate the emotional impact and urgency of the climate crisis, we began #ClimateUprising.
The #ClimateUprising hashtag will help give those impacted by climate-fueled disasters a tool to add their stories to a growing call for climate action.
Audrey Denney, who joined our founding trip to D.C., has since announced plans to run for Congress again in 2020. She will be running again against climate-denier Doug LaMalfa, who defeated Audrey two days before the climate-fueled wildfire devastated the district.
Will there be a climate awakening that helps make climate change the number 1 bipartisan issue when people vote in 2020? We are following this story to the 2020 election to see what happens. We are making a feature-length documentary, while helping build a movement along the way to help make climate change a critical issue when people vote in 2020.
Long term, we are working to develop ClimateUprising.org into a non-profit story-driven platform to share more stories of people around the world already impacted by climate change. We want to document the climate crisis at the same scale as a genocide. Intergovernmental Reports warn we have just 10 - 12 years to address climate change before catastrophic consequences become irreversible. Scientists project that 130 Million people will be displaced in 30 years due to climate-fueled disasters. What we do or don’t do in the next decade will impact the lives of hundreds of millions of people.
Our Call for Climate Action
We are calling for immediate bipartisan climate action based on the consensus of peer-reviewed climate science. We want solutions that meet the scale of the crisis based on the science. We want a livable future.
How to Help
This is a grassroots movement. Please join us, follow us on social media, sign up for the email, spread the word, and support in any way you can (donate, buy a shirt, make signs). Stay in touch as we will be building more ways to help as we increase our capacity.
The climate is rising and so are we.
CREATIVE Director & COMMUNITY ORGANIZER
Nirvan Mullick is an L.A. based filmmaker, speaker, and community organizer who works at the intersection of story and impact. Nirvan’s films include Caine’s Arcade, a viral short film that trended worldwide in 2012 and inspired and led to the formation of Imagination.org - a non-profit that has since fostered creativity in over 1 million children worldwide. In 2015, Nirvan wrote and directed the #EarthToParis and #EarthToMarrakech campaign videos for the UN Foundation and GOOD, generating over 1.4 billion impressions leading up to the COP21 Paris Climate Agreement. Nirvan is a co-founder and creative director of #ClimateUprising.
PARADISE & Chico CHAPTER LEADERS
Dr. Susan Dobra - 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. Susan joined the original delegation of Wildfire Survivors for Climate Action that we helped send to Washington D.C., and teaches rhetoric at CSU Chico. Susan has relocated to Chico since the wildfire and remains deeply engaged with Paradise community organizing through the Paradise Community Guild.
Luigi Balsamo - Luigi lost 5 rental properties in Paradise in the Camp Fire, as well as his friend and tenant, Andrew Downer, a double amputee Vietnam Vet who was one of the 86 people killed during the Camp Fire. Luigi was one of the community organizers of the WalMart Parking Lot Shelter which grew to shelter thousands in the immediate aftermath of the wildfire. Luigi continues to help and support those impacted by the wildfire.
Dr. Mark Stemen - Professor of Geography and Planning at CSU, Chico, where he teaches environmental courses in sustainability and civic engagement. Known to his students as ‘Dr. Mark,’ he is well recognized on the campus for his work with students and the community on sustainability issues. Under his direction, students completed a campus sustainability assessment, as well as greenhouse gas inventories for CSU, Chico, Butte Community College, and the City of Chico.
FOUNDING DC Trip WITH Wildfire Survivors for Climate Action:
The #ClimateUprising project began by organizing a crowd-funded trip to send 4 Wildfire Survivors for Climate Action along with 3 community organizers from California to Washington D.C.. Joining this trip were:
3 nurses from Feather River Hospital: Cassie LeRossignol, Chelsea West, and Jeffrey Roach, who on the day of the fire helped evacuate 67 patients in under an hour before attempting to evacuate themselves. They ended up getting trapped in a police cruiser surrounded by flames. After calling their loved ones to say goodbye, they attempted to hike up a burning hillside. With nowhere to go, a bulldozer appeared through the smoke and rescued them. Their rescue was captured on police body-cam footage and featured on CNN. Chelsea broke her foot during the process, and was still wearing her boot while limping from meeting to meeting in D.C. to speak to leaders and share their concerns about the climate crisis.
Susan Dobra, a professor from Chico State whose home was one of the 14,000 destroyed by the Camp Fire.
Also joining the trip to support the Wildfire Survivors were 3 Chico community organizers who were all working on long-term recovery efforts: Audrey Denney, Brian Solecky, and Matt Plotkin.
The trip was crowd-funded by the internet, and inspired us to start the #ClimateUprising. We are still just getting started. Please join us and help spread the word.