March 6, 2017
By Ellen Wilson
“The burning of fossil fuels,” says Wanda Guthrie, “has led to the emergence of corporations that have become so wealthy and powerful that the control, extraction, and selling of fuel has overcome all peaceful and just policy decisions. In fact, our new administration is doing its best to abolish all compassionate legislation and dismantle the agencies that protect citizens.”
Guthrie is an organizer of 350Pittsburgh.org’s Unite100. The goal of this campaign, launched in response to the new administration in Washington, is to explore and emphasize the connections between climate justice and social justice.
“We’re reaching out to climate, environment and justice groups,” explains Kate Fissell, another Unite100 organizer, “because we recognize the deep connections between social and environmental injustices. We hope that acknowledging those connections can lead to solutions.”
Respect for the environment extends to respect for all of the world’s inhabitants, according to the campaign description. In addition, the devastating effects of climate change tend to be borne first, and more profoundly, by underserved populations.
Unite100 provides a vehicle for groups to come together over these issues and find common ground. Groups participating are asked to be ready to welcome newcomers to the events they have planned as part of Unite100, and to share information about their events with the campaign.
“Rabbi Arthurs Waskow, a peace and social justice prophet, reminds us of the determination it takes to resist and create in unity,” Guthrie says. “The words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in his profound sermon, ‘Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence,’ laid it out very clearly. He named our affliction as the ‘deadly triplets’ of racism, militarism, and materialism. Rabbi Waskow asks us to recognize the truth in naming these triplets. These are life-patterns, sharing a great deal of DNA just like biological triplets. If we are to redeem and heal we must meet.”
“The carbon corporate structures and their political supporters are unwilling to change course,” Guthrie adds, “even as they establish rules that will lead to climate chaos.”
Unite100 is a recipient of one of the Sprout Funds’ 100 Days of US awards (#100days). Launched in response to the 2016 election, 100 Days of US is a special initiative to empower people to act locally during the first 100 days of the new presidential administration to advance positive, solution-oriented responses to issues of national importance.
Unite100 will be using the 100 Days of US meet-up calendar to post events (www.meetup.com/100DaysofUS). Upcoming events include: “We The People-2.0”, a film screening by Marcellus Protest, Friday, March 3; “Creating a Culture of Peace” a four hour workshop on constructive nonviolence and nonviolent resistance with Elliott Adams, Saturday, March 4; and People’s Climate March in DC – https://peoplesclimate.org/ – with related events in Pittsburgh on Saturday, April 29 (see more on the April 29 events elsewhere in this newspaper).
Unite100 asks that groups interested in participating contact them through firstname.lastname@example.org.
350 Pittsburgh is the local chapter of 350.org, a global movement founded by environmentalist Bill McKibben, and is a project of the Thomas Merton Center.
Ellen Wilson is one of the organizers of Unite100.