Climate Action NOW! Mission Statement

Andy Caffrey at the home and computer of his friend and fellow Earth First! & peace activist Hal Carlstad. The first meeting of Climate Action NOW! was held in this room a year earlier. This is where Andy wrote the Climate Action NOW! Mission Statement

Published in 1996

This organization was created to provide comprehensive resources to help people quickly find scientifically sound, understandable information that is useful. It is for people who want to actually prevent the greatest catastrophe ever faced by humanity, the alteration of Earth’s climate beyond the ability of its biological systems to maintain livable conditions for humans and all of the other fantastic creatures alive in its protective bubble.

With almost six billion of us hurtling along through the various stages of industrial transformation–a transformation penetrating every aspect of humanity’s diverse cultures and ways of life–and being one hundred years into this process, we have now overloaded many of the fundamental life support systems required to maintain the delicately diverse, localized patterns of seasons, rainfall, soil, and atmospheric conditions which allow forests and wetlands, farmlands and fisheries to produce the substances which feed us. These systems are what protect us from the elements, allow us to reproduce, to maintain peace and justice, a sense of personal security, and our own sanity.

There is an unprecedented need for a rapid unification and mobilization of clear-thinking, loving people, people who can still care about being alive. A focused and unperturbable effort from people who haven’t deadened themselves and consciously, or unconsciously, resigned themselves to the disintegration and collapse of society and the wonderful natural systems which allowed this miracle of a lonely, evolving planet of life to continue for the last 4.6 billion years!

The Climate Action NOW! website is the place to start this process. Its role is to help connect us together to help each of us overcome our organizing obstacles by connecting us to people who have already done what we would like to do. You and we will scour the globe to find the people, the projects, and the information we need to know to educate those around us about the Greenhouse Effect, about what is happening right now to our climate, and everything we can find to help us make the quickest transformation possible away from an economic and social system built on a foundation of death–a system which must destroy more of the planet each year in order to meet the basic needs of its people.

There is no single survival solution for every culture, in every location on the planet. No one knows exactly what the blueprint is, but thousands of creative geniuses have been analyzing aspects of the problem and designing exciting, life-affirming, community and sanity-enhancing solutions to these aspects. It is now time to weave these exciting gems into a whole tapestry, and restore the integrity of the fabric of nature and the quilts of human societies within it.

Responding to the Crisis: Five Fundamentals

Here at CAN!, we see five fundamental areas which must be developed and coordinated simultaneously in order to pull off the Great Transformation of Industrial Society, the transformation to a post-fossil fuels, post-nuclear, post-toxics civilization of joy and restored evolution! A Green Renaissance of human thinking and relating! These five areas are represented as the five fundamental sections of the Climate Crisis Journal. They are:

Climate Change Science and Policy

Understanding the science of the “Greenhouse Effect” or more accurately phrased, of human-induced climate change, and the rates and magnitude of the changes human societies are making in Earth’s life-generating natural systems. A fundamental subsection examines the biology and physics of what is happening to our own bodies. This is where you’ll find regional reports of climate anomalies. You can start your involvement with CAN! now by letting us know what is going on in your bioregion.

A War Effort to Convert Society

Most of us can’t even imagine the possibility of a peaceful, sane, and just future. If we can’t even conceive of it, how can we harness our wills and our convictions in dedication to creating it? How can we consistently engage in the struggle to realize it? For some, it’s easier to conceive of what God looks like! But this is actually the area where most of the work has already been done for over thirty years now. Remember AT (Alternative Technology)? Organic farming? Communal living and the back-to-the-land movement? Community schooling? Transpersonal and humanistic psychology? Solar communities? The Deadheads? Ecotopia?

Well now you can add to small as beautiful the following: bioregionalism, urban ecology and green cities, Green parties, barter networks, radically reduced workweeks, the computer revolution, the Wildlands Project and ‘Big Wilderness’ concepts for designing wilderness preservation coridors, hemp, kenaf, and other plant substiutes for paper and fiber production, the post-materialism, animal rights, Deep Ecology, and post-tobacco consciousness revolutions, and an amazing explosion in plant based technologies which can replace most current uses of plastics. And there is soooo much more!

Gettin’ Organized

But with so many Power Monsters and lunatics in control of corporations and our governments, so many maniacs running around with world views stuck in the Roman Empire, how do we implement all of these great Green ideas? You can lead a horse to water but… Well, there are ways. Somehow the military/corporate/government/media establishment succeeded in snookering tens of trillions of dollars from our taxpayer pockets, in killing millions of third world people, in destroying thousands of Third World and indigenous cultures–all in our name–while most of us sat on our hands and looked the other way. They could do this because they confused enough people into believing in this chimera called “the communist threat.” And they could do this even though there has never been a communist military invasion of the United States. The changing climate, while seemingly abstract to those just beginning to learn about it, is as tangible and visceral as pizza and sex. Everyone is noticing the strange weather, and more and more of us are personally experiencing great weather catastrophes such as floods, firestorms, droughts and destroyed harvests, blizzards, and the storm destruction of our coastal communities.

Human beings have been organizing since the first hunt. We’ve been doing it for a million years, and we’re very, very good at it. We’re the best! We’re Homo organizer. It’s how we learned to destroy so much of everything in the first place. We have already built cities from scratch, designed vastly complicated societies and computer systems, sent people into space with such frequency and apparent ease that these things now seem mundane to us, too trivial to pay much attention to. There’s no reason to doubt our capacity to successfully respond to the climate crisis and even to flourish in the process! We’ve battled racism, ended slavery, toppled kings and mighty military tyrants. Vietnamese peasants stopped the United States military. Our frontier forebearers conquered Grizzly Bears and smallpox, desert heat (with air conditioning and irrigation) and genocide. And they did these things mostly with a very limited global perspective, with no ecological wisdom, and with an arrogant, top-of-the-heap mentality. Certainly, we can now bring our global, ecological, and anthropological insights, and our sensitivity to, and respect for, other species and indigenous cultures into the cultural organizational process. We must demand this!

It is time for the new paradigm to reign! We have no other choice! Bill Clinton has proven to be the best we can get from the status quo, Roman-Empire mentality of the industrial-democratic-consumerism paradigm. Gettin’ Organized is the section where all of us can share our personal experiences and the expertise of how we’ve organized successfully in the past, and find out what people are doing in a new way, right now all around the globe. Here you’ll learn about groups and organizers, local and international strategies, projects, budgets andd lobbying, and how to surmount your own local organizing obstacles.

The Earth Police Report

Climate Crimes and Criminals

The first subsection reports on climate crimes and criminals, and, when it comes to current, unfolding crimes such as legislation under consideration, treaties, and corporate decisions being discussed, we’ll let you know what is needed from you to subvert the commission of these crimes. There will also be Earth Police indictments of corporations, government bodies, and nefarious individuals.

Action Alerts

The second subsection is for action alerts, with a special subsection devoted to the heroic groups fighting to save the world’s forests. It’s the Forest Action Network (FAN) and will be updated frequently so you’ll be able to keep track of what’s happening in the Redwoods, in Idaho, and in Malaysia. CAN! is specifically committed to supporting the efforts of the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) and the Native Forest Network (NFN), our two older sisters. And we’ll set up links to forest protection groups around the world.

Healers and Heroes

The third subsection continues the move from the abstract to the particular and examines the efforts of the individual everyday heroes of our time. This is where you’ll find interviews with the superstars, and with the quiet church group organizers, with school teachers, kids, entertainers, the ecowarrior infiltrators of the corporate hierarchy, and our lovable anarchist Luddites. Come one, come all and see the stories, learn from the examples of those who went from suburbia to the frontlines despite their age, sex, religious beliefs, or handicaps. This is where you can come to see how the social change artist is born, where you can learn how others have become master warriors, master designers, or master healers.

The Battle for your Attention

With so many educated, hip, spiritual, ecologically-conscious people around nowadays, how come nothing much has been accomplished to stop the runaway train of fossil fuel emissions in the United States or just about any other industrialized nation? Why do we spend trillions of dollars to this very day on armaments and focus so much attention on the OJ trial, while the biosphere undergoes a biological meltdown so rapid we can almost taste it in our daily lives? What’s wrong with us? What’s wrong with our minds? We speak of such high and holy ideals of the spirit, yet our actions destroy everything around us! Can we heal this schizophrenia, this fragmentation into warring factions of the self? This section is where we explore consciousness, mental disciplines, the creation of habits and personal lifestyle choices, and the psychic invasion of the media and the concrete. This is where we talk about personal relationships to each other, the barriers and resistance to our coming together in the circle envisioned by Black Elk, and how we reestablish our relationship with the rest of nature.

Originally posted in 1996 and still up at original Climate Action NOW! web site

Hal Carlstad at work.


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