By Walter Keady, 350 DC volunteer organizer

In the DC area, we face countless threats to our air, water, land, and climate.

We have Trump and his oil-soaked mockery of the Environmental Protection Agency in our backyard, big polluters threatening our communities’ drinking water with numerous pipeline projects, and rising seas putting our region at risk of devastation and massive displacement during a time of rampant and increasing gentrification that’s already hitting vulnerable and minority communities hardest.

But through local organizing and distributed action, every one of us has the tools we need to fight back. 350 DC strives to partake in both, and we have made some huge strides towards local climate justice over the past few years. I’m new to the group, and in just the few months I’ve worked with 350 DC, I’ve seen our scrappy, volunteer-led organization accomplish crucial climate goals.

350 DC members rally against the fracked gas Potomac Pipeline

350 DC members rally against the fracked gas Potomac Pipeline

As 350 DC member Rachel Goldstein writes in Feministing, we’re part of a coalition of other incredible local groups, including the Rising Hearts Coalition and Potomac Riverkeeper Network, fighting the fracked-gas Potomac Pipeline – a project proposed by TransCanada, the company behind Keystone XL. 350 DC lobbied the DC Council to sign a letter urging Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, who has decision-making power over the project, to reject the pipeline. A large majority of the Council signed, in addition to unanimously endorsing a local resolution opposing the pipeline. But we didn’t stop there. We organized carpools to public hearings in Hancock, MD, and Berkeley Springs, WV, to make formal testimony against this climate-wrecking, water-threatening fracked-gas disaster.

On top of that, 350 DC is also targeting national banks that continue to fund fossil fuel infrastructure. As part of the Indigenous-led DC Reinvest Coalition, we’re working to pressure the DC Government to divest its holdings and banking operations from Wells Fargo, which is among the biggest funders of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, a major investor in for-profit prisons, and an institution with a long history of racist lending.

These causes are merely the two I’ve gotten to know best in my short time with the group. 350 DC is also pushing for a local carbon rebate that would make polluters pay and reinvest revenue in our communities, and supporting Sunrise DC, a youth-led grassroots movement fighting to make climate justice a central political issue.

At our core, we are an organization driven by powerful messages and bold aims. But what’s most inspired me about 350 DC is the passion of its members. We’re volunteers driven by compelling ideas. In a frightening political moment, being part of this community helps me recommit myself to working for a better world on a daily basis . I’m confident that through the Fossil Free movement, millions more across the country will also be able to find that drive and inspiration to stand up for our communities and climate.

That’s why I’m asking on behalf of 350 DC that you join us for “Fossil Free Fast: The Climate Resistance” on January 31st at George Washington University.

Fossil Free Fast

This event will feature some of the most galvanizing leaders in the climate movement: Bill McKibben, Senator Bernie Sanders, Cherri Foytlin, Tara Rodríguez Besosa of the Puerto Rico Resilience Fund, Varshini Prakash of Sunrise, Jacqueline Patterson of the NAACP, and more.

If you haven’t already, take a moment to watch and share this short video to get excited.

Then, snag yourself a ticket before they’re gone. (And if you can’t make the event, make sure to RSVP to a watch party – there are nearly 200 across the country – or if there isn’t a party in your neighborhood, you can easily host one yourself.)

The more we come together – town by town, city by city, state by state – the closer we get to warding off climate disaster and building a more just world for future generations. Let’s get to work.

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