Grassroots climate awareness organization takes shape in Tri-Cities

Joy Stewart wanted to spread activism and awareness in her area, and after spending the past few months going through the necessary paperwork and specifics, she said she is finally ready to begin spreading the word about her cause throughout the Tri-Cities.

Stewart is forming a local branch of the international Climate Mobilization group, right out of her Sullivan County home.

“I started working on it in early November,” Stewart said. She said the Climate Mobilization, despite being an international umbrella, is strictly a grassroots group, formed of local branches who all decide to volunteer their time to serve the community with their outreach.

“The issue is so critical, we need to address it as a nation,” she said. “Maybe we have further to go than in the urban areas, where people are more aware.”

The organization takes a different approach to activism than other groups. While they do not outright prohibit demonstrations, marches and other in-the-public actions, the group instead focuses on influencing policy from the ground up, working to change local governments first rather than the federal government.

“The federal government is not going to make any changes until it starts at the local level,” Stewart said. “It is a ripple effect.”

Part of this bottom-up strategy, she said, is their ability to work with already existing organizations, such as schools, churches and others to raise awareness and encourage local changes.

“There are a lot of people with concerns, but they do not know how to act on those concerns,” she said. “I think people are starting to be more aware.”

While the holidays have made initial planning for the organization difficult so far, Stewart said she wants to start holding monthly meetings sometime this month. These meetings can help direct new members to where they can best apply their skills and passions to spread their message.

“It is the outreach that is the guts of it,” she said.

Part of their goal, she said, is to reach out to many different ends of the political aisle. She presented to the Sullivan County Democrats a few weeks ago, and she is working to coordinate with local Republican groups, as well.

“This is not a party issue,” Stewart said. “It is an Earth issue.”

Those interested in more information can do so by contacting Stewart at 423-573-2376 or by email at joylarry@btes.tv.

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