This weekend, hundreds of volunteers and activists gathered in living rooms, community centers and coffee shops across the country to help launch Off Fossil Fuels, a bold new program from Food & Water Action (the political action arm of Food & Water Watch). More than 100 launch events took place in dozens of states, where people gathered to watch program leaders kick things off from Washington, DC, and chart out the initial steps for local climate action campaigns.
Off Fossil Fuels is an all-out campaign to stop fossil fuel projects everywhere they exist or are proposed, and transition to 100% renewable energy, beginning now. This is an ambitious but critical goal if we are to avoid the worst effects of climate change. The campaign will be driven by thousands of volunteers working at the local level to win real victories on climate and hold elected officials accountable at every level of government.
At the event in DC, activists shared stories from grassroots campaigns across the country, from victories against fracking in California and Maryland to pipeline fights in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. After the webcast, participants at the distributed launch parties discussed plans to organize, build political power, and take on fossil fuels in their communities.
Food & Water Watch has worked for years on campaigns to fight fracking and dangerous fossil fuel projects, working with local partners and using tried-and-true organizing strategies. But with Trump in the White House and the prospect of global climate chaos growing greater by the day, we need to expand our work and accelerate our mission.
Following last Saturday’s launch, activists will immediately start pressuring their elected officials - mayors, city councilors, state legislators, members of Congress - to sign the OFF pledge. By signing the pledge, elected officials will commit to opposing new fossil fuel projects and supporting policies that help us transition to 100% renewable energy. Those that sign the pledge are the kind of progressive champions we need working in every state, in every community. Those that refuse will face constant pressure and opposition from all of us.
Activists will of course continue the critical and inspiring work that is already happening all over the country: stopping new drilling and fracking; fighting pipelines, power plants and other infrastructure; and pushing for clean, renewable energy at the local level. Food & Water Action is setting up trainings and resources to support these campaigns, whether it’s a new initiative or a campaign years in the making. Our Off Fossil Fuels map will be the hub for all this activity: Events on the map will be continuously shared with Food & Water Action members and partners to get more people involved in new and ongoing campaigns.
While local campaigns and sustained grassroots organizing are critical to the success of our movement, there’s also a place for people want to make an impact but don’t have tons of time to spare. Teams of special OFF volunteers have already sent thousands of text messages, made thousands of phone calls, and responded to countless emails to get people engaged and working in their communities. These volunteers will continue to support local campaigns by driving turnout to events, generating constituent phone calls to local leaders, and recruiting new volunteers.
Food & Water Action is launching Off Fossil Fuels as a new twist on an old classic: a powerful, distributed network of volunteers using the latest technology to support grassroots campaigns focused on building political power making big change at the local level. Sign up here to join the movement!