Catching up with the Baltimore Peoples Climate Movement!

It’s been a busy summer with the Baltimore Peoples Climate Movement! This coalition of environmental and social justice groups has hosted a series of art builds, skills trainings, and town halls focused on building a just clean energy and economic future.

All of these events are working to connect the dots between climate change and other critical issues in the city, while building a powerful climate justice movement to push for a fossil-fuel-free future that works for all of us. On September 8th, we’ll celebrate and continue building together at the Festival for Change: Climate, Jobs and Justice!

This festival will feature activities, games for kids and adults, live music, DJs — and of course, opportunities to take local action for climate justice! September 8th is an international day of action, and the Festival for Change is Baltimore’s contribution to the movement for Climate, Jobs & Justice.

“Resilience Street” will be featured at the Festival for Change: Climate, Jobs & Justice on September 8th. It takes many hands to build a village, and this one was a collaborative effort between Valeska Populoh, Dirk Jospeh, Azaria, Michael Lamason, Jennifer Strunge, Reynard Parks, Naadiya Hutchinson, Dan Van Allen and Jack Trimper!

 

Featuring local artists including DJ Isabelle Genie, Joy Postell, Dew More Baltimore, DJ Flow, President Davo, The Baltimore Twilighters, and Be Civil Battles and local climate leaders, including Dr. Rev. Heber Brown with the Black Church Food Security Network and Destiny Watford with United Workers, the festival will be a celebratory and fun-filled day of action! You’ll have a chance to tour a tiny home, engage in a solar demo, practice easy at-home gardening and composting, prepare for extreme weather — and more! The festival will also feature games and art activities, including Resilience Street — a cardboard neighborhood that you can help build — a test-your-knowledge recycling game, and climate justice cornhole!

You don’t want to miss the Festival for Change: Climate, Jobs & Justice. Join us on September 8th and bring your family, friends, and neighbors!

 

Here’s a recap of what we’ve been up to the past month. To read about our events from earlier in the summer, click here!

At the end of July, we hosted a teach-in called “Change Our City Charter” where attendees learned about the city’s charter and how you can use ballot initiatives to change the way city government works. Legal experts and community organizers from the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative, Communities United, and United Workers shared their experience with current ballot initiatives and answered questions ranging from drafting the ballot question language to strategies for collecting enough petitions to get your question on the ballot (you need 10,000!)

Nabeehah Azeez with Communities United shares information about her experience with ballot initiatives.

 

We also hosted our first town hall in July, which focused on transit, housing, and health and how all of these issues connect to climate change. The town hall began with a panel discussion featuring transit, housing, and health advocates who responded to questions about how the issue they work on connects with and is exacerbated by climate change, what solutions they’re working toward, obstacles they face, and how they make their work relevant to the public at large. Panelists highlighted the inequities that Baltimoreans face daily in housing, transit, and infrastructure and how these inequities are amplified by climate change. Didn’t make the town hall? Watch the recording here

Panelist Samuel Jordan of the Baltimore Transit Equity Coalition speaks while co-panelist Sylvia Lam with the Environmental Integrity Project (far left), moderator Marc Steiner (center left), co-panelist Sidney Bond with Housing Our Neighbors and United Workers (center right), and Yinka Bode-George with the Maryland Environmental Health Network (far right) listen.

 

After the panel discussion and Q&A, attendees broke out into small groups to discuss what they had just heard. Breakout groups responded to prompts about how these issues connect to / show up in their lives, what they learned about the connections between these issues, and what climate justice would look like in Baltimore. At the end of the event, attendees filled out pledge cards committing to different actions they can take locally for climate justice.

A breakout group discussing what they learned during the Transit, Housing, and Health Town Hall.

 

We kicked off August with two more art builds! Members of the Baltimore Peoples Climate Movement and community members gathered at Black Cherry Puppet Theater to create materials for the Festival for Change on September 8th. We made signs for different stations at the festival, a banner for the stage, climate justice cornhole, and a cardboard miniature village called “Resilience Street” that will be featured at the festival.

At work making signs and banners for the Festival for Change on September 8th!

 

Painter and artisan Dirk Joseph works on “Resilience Street”

 

Last night, we hosted our second town hall. This one focused on building the New Energy & Economic Future and featured labor, climate, and grassroots leaders. Jim Strong from United Steelworkers, Reynard Parks from Navitas Solar, Kallan Benson from Zero Hour, and Nabeehah Azeez from Communities United dug into what it will take to build green industries in Maryland that protect our climate and health, provide clean, affordable power, and create family-sustaining jobs.

Mustafa Ali, Senior VP of Climate, Environmental Justice & Community Revitalization for the Hip Hop Caucus, taped a special video welcome for the town hall. Then the panel wrestled with questions such as how to create more family-sustaining, union jobs within the clean energy sector, especially given that 90% of fossil fuel jobs are unionized and offer good pay with benefits. Throughout the evening, attendees in person and viewers from across the country (and the world!) who tuned into the livestream weighed in to answer poll questions and ask their own questions of the panelists. These questions enriched the conversation, particularly a question from someone who lives in the Maldives who challenged the panel to highlight wealth inequality as a significant barrier to climate justice.

The audience watches a video welcome from Mustafa Ali before the panel begins at the New Energy & Economic Future Town Hall.

 

As you can see, it’s been a busy summer with the Baltimore Peoples Climate Movement! I hope you’ve been able to join us for some of these events, and that you’ll come out to the Festival for Change: Climate, Jobs & Justice on September 8th!