Sunrise Sonoma County for Good Jobs and a Livable Future Climate Action Friday Dec. 6th

  • Dec 02, 2019
  • Sonoma County Gazette

For Sunrise Sonoma County (SunriseSoCo), climate justice isn’t only about adjusting to fires and floods; the whole future is dicey. Sunrise s a youth-led group, ages 13-35 with adult supporters. When the full weight of climate change hits after 2030 if we don’t reduce to zero CO2 emissions, Sunrisers will still be young and there is no plan in place to ward off irreversible catastrophe. Urgent action is needed and “we need absolutely everybody,” says the national Sunrise Movement.

Sunrise supports works to enact the Green New Deal (GND), a Congressional Resolution calling for climate, racial and economic justice and the Sunrise SoCo hub plans ongoing climate actions bi-weekly atArlene Francis Center, Santa Rosa (VISIT SunriseSoCo on Twitter, FB, Instagram.)

At a recent SunriseSoCo meeting, we were asked to “describe a moment you thought you might lose a person … to the climate crisis.” Sunriser, Avani Borton, came up blank for a moment, then blurted “My Mother! She was living in her car when the Kincade fire came and had to drive from fire danger so she drove to LA to live!” More stories of loss, danger, and worry rippled through the room.

Christine Byrne, a science teacher, and organizer of Sunrise joined “out of a place of despair. I’m from Sonoma County originally and moved back and fought tooth and nail and to have environmental science in my school, but at the end of the day, it wasn’t enough. Sunrise is a movement that is finding solutions and that is commensurable with what is needed. So many people live with this deep sense of dread and Sunrise is the one place where I’ve found community and amazing other people. For example, after the Kincade Fire evacuated 200,000 people and really opened up that PTSD, we went to PG&E Headquarters (S.F) and had an action where we asked for the breakup of PG&E and told our stories and demanded the Green New Deal (GND). A cathartic experience, after the fire was so traumatizing. Sunrise is bringing people together who show up to pressure politicians and corporations to actually listen to solutions and to people who are experiencing climate catastrophe right now.”

Sunrise will stage a major climate action Fri., Dec. 6th in Santa Rosa as part of the Global Youth Climate Strike, enacting a powerful noon- time Die-In for Life in Old Courthouse Square and at area schools, followed at 5 pm by a somber candle-lit procession and an uplifting vigil and call to action beginning at Julliard Park and moving to Old Courthouse Square. “We’ve got our work cut out, but I have full faith that we’re going to pull off a potent Youth Climate Strike!” Byrne wrote to the group.

Many, including authors Naomi Klein and Noam Chomsky believe Sunrise may be our greatest hope in the face of climate catastrophe, creating strong climate actions when government programs seem too little too late and certainly not actions “to speed and scale” as Santa Rosa’s The Climate Center deems necessary.

Sunrise SoCo was introduced at a Town Hall gathering at Santa Rosa Fairgrounds when actor and communications team member, Sierra Downey, led hundreds in song and chanting as she does at each meeting and action. Nov. 1st Sunrise staged a protest outside PG&E Headquarters, San Francisco, joined by Youth vs. Apocalypse, Democratic Socialists of America and other climate activist groups, chanting “What do we want? We want a separation! Who from? PG&E.”

There are hard and sad days, to be sure. This isn’t easy work. But we strive to bring a spirit of positivity and hope to everything we do. Changing the world is a fulfilling and joyful process, and we let that show.


The #GreenNewDeal is an opportunity to reimagine how all parts of America can advance climate, racial & economic justice. – Sunrise

Naomi Klein, On Fire! (Naomi Klein appears with Sunrise)

Greta Thunberg w. George Monbiot

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