By Elia Sherman and Thomas Meyer
Since the launch of Off Fossil Fuels in May of this year, hundreds of volunteers have stepped up to join the campaign. Food & Water Action asked our supporters across the country to organize in their communities and demand action from elected officials to commit to 100 percent renewable energy. The response has been incredible: many people from all different backgrounds are getting involved in climate activism and local organizing for the first time. Volunteers are organizing events, meeting with elected officials, and recruiting others to take action on critical campaigns.
Here are stories from a few great volunteers who have been hosting events, calling and texting other Food & Water Action supporters, and getting OFF campaigns started in their communities.
Sandra: Houston, TX
Sandra Peeters has been involved in local politics and activism from a young age. Living in Houston, Texas, she always considered herself an environmentalist, but was inspired by Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign to make organizing a priority again. “I actually felt like I had the power to change something.” Sandra brought together a group of climate activists in Houston, and was looking for a campaign for the group to take on. She said they wanted to focus on renewable energy at the local level: “I found Food & Water Watch...then I saw the Off Fossil Fuels campaign and thought ‘this is perfect!’”
After hosting a campaign launch event in May, Sandra and her group in Houston have met several times to plan their work. Their goal is to get Houston City Council members to sign the Off Fossil Fuels elected official pledge, and eventually pass an ordinance to make the city go 100% renewable. On why she is committed to the Off Fossil Fuels campaign, Sandra said: “We have no choice, this is something that we have to do. We can work on all kinds of issues but if you do not protect your air, your water or your environment then what is the point of anything else?”
Eileen: New York City, NY
Eileen said she and others in the group didn’t have much experience with organizing or meeting with elected officials, but decided to reach out to local elected officials to ask them to sign the Off Fossil Fuels pledge.
At this early stage, Eileen said “We don’t necessarily have to challenge politicians but want to let them know that this is important and it’s what their constituents want.” The group is looking to expand their efforts in the NYC area: in addition to the Off Fossil Fuels pledge, they are working on a letter from faith leaders to Senator Chuck Schumer calling for bold climate solutions.
Susan: Bethel, CT
Many Food & Water Action volunteers are making a huge impact from home using our simple online tools. Susan joined the texting team, and saw it as a perfect way for her to get involved with the climate movement on a regular basis. Texting is really one-on-one, she says. “I feel like I can really make a difference because I am reaching out to individuals to take action, and then they can talk about it with their friends and family members. It feels more personal than standing at a rally.”
Susan sends texts during her lunch hours as often as she can. She explains that it’s a nice break from her work day and it makes her feel like she can make more of a difference in her everyday work. A highlight so far was when she recruited people to go to an anti-fracking rally in Chicago, and the rally was a huge success, with many people saying they came because of the text they got. Even from her home in Connecticut, Susan was able to make an impact and share in the success. Currently, the texting team is asking people in key states to call their senators to oppose the Dirty Energy Bill.
Thanks to amazing volunteers like Sandra, Eileen, and Susan, we’re seeing local campaigns sprout up around the country, and the movement for a clean energy revolution growing stronger every day.