The Most Significant Divide

In these days of increasing divisions of all kinds, the most significant divide today is between those who love Mother Earth and each other, and those whose values have been twisted to the point that they see everything and everyone as resources to exploit for their own material wealth.

As predicted, we are seeing record setting temperatures, intense wildfires, torrential downpours, drought and floods. Millions of climate refugees, and food and water insecurity abound.

Young people clearly see the degraded environment they have been borne into, and know things are going to get worse rapidly. They know their elders have failed them, and see no signs that our increasingly chaotic environment is getting anywhere near the attention needed to possibly avert catastrophic environmental collapse. Millions of youth around the world are striking to try to get adults’ attention.

A crisis this monumental needs the tools and resources of governments. A Green New Deal (GND) recognizes this, indeed is modeled after the New Deal that worked to pull the country out of the Great Depression, and help recover from the environmental catastrophe that was called the Dust Bowl.

An increasing number of policies consistent with the GND are being introduced in government at various levels. Suddenly climate change is being discussed in our federal government. It is widely acknowledged that is because of the several acts of nonviolent direct action, including arrests, by youth from the Sunrise Movement.

The Sunrise Movement is building both people power and political power. Many of these young people worked very hard for the successful election of a number of people who support their ideas, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Vast numbers of youth who are joining the Sunrise Movement will continue to work for candidates in the 2020 elections who support their principles. Candidates who refuse to take fossil fuel industry campaign contributions, and who support the ideas of a GND. Those ideas include the belief that incremental efforts to address climate change are NOT acceptable.

The Republican party as a whole has supported the oil corporations and resisted addressing climate change. While the Democratic party has had individuals who have worked for incremental changes to address climate change, almost no legislation has been passed. Many of the 2020 Democratic candidates say they support a Green New Deal, but most haven’t released specific policy statements.

I think candidates like Joe Biden, who support incremental changes, are going to be surprised by opposition by youth.

The most recent bad news related to the Democrats’ campaign efforts was the refusal by the Democratic National Committee to hold a debate focused on climate change.

At the moment, there is no climate change debate scheduled, whether sanctioned by the DNC or not. But Sunrise Movement, the primary Green New Deal advocacy arm that is planning to protest outside the second debate in Detroit, told Mother Jones it is considering staging its own. “The American people deserve a climate debate,” Varshini Prakash said in a statement to Mother Jones. “If the DNC isn’t willing to put it on, we’ll consider organizing one ourselves.”

“Jay Inslee Says He May Defy the DNC on a Climate Change Debate; He claimed the DNC is effectively “blacklisting candidates who want to have one.” by Rebecca Leber, Mother Jones, June 6, 2019.

If you are concerned about environmental chaos, one thing you can do is support the Sunrise Movement.

One of the things the Sunrise Movement has already been working on is #ChangeTheDebate:


Last November, we challenged Democratic leadership with a simple question: What is your plan? That question shook the world.

Since then, presidential candidates have been racing to back the Green New Deal, the first plan to treat climate change like the emergency it is.

But others have doubled down on the same corporate-driven policies that have failed for decades. This approach is a death sentence for our generation.

On July 30-31, 20 candidates will walk onstage in Detroit. They’ll ask for our votes. We’ll ask them to give a damn about our lives.

Join us in Detroit to turn the tide of history together. For our future. For justice. For humanity. Let’s #ChangeTheDebate.


What are our demands?

We demand that all candidates reject fossil fuel money, support a “climate debate”, and make the Green New Deal a Day 1 priority.

I’m not sure if I can get to Detroit. Should I still sign up?

Yes! Anyone who wants to #ChangeTheDebate should register on this page. Volunteers across the country will be organizing busses, carpools and trains to get as many people as possible to Detroit. We’ll share more information about transportation and financial support soon and also have opportunities for people to join in from wherever they live. So, no matter who you are or where you live, you should register to attend #ChangeTheDebate.

What’s the plan of action?

Details are being worked out and will be shared as the date approaches. As of now, part of the plan is to gather by the thousands and set up a “People’s Stage” near the official Presidential Debate Location and challenge the candidates to come speak on our terms. Over 24 hours, we’ll tell our own stories on the People’s Stage as well. We’ll hold vigil for the people and places we have already lost, and the ones that will be lost. We’ll express our fear for the future, and the anger of our generation to have been abandoned by the adults in the room. Together, we’ll continue what we started last November, which is to bring a moral reckoning on the climate crisis to the heart of the American political conversation, and to shake this corrupt political establishment to its core.

When and where will it be?

Detroit, Michigan. July 30-31. The debate will take place over two nights, with 10 candidates on stage each night.

What can I do between now and July?

When you sign up to attend #ChangeTheDebate, you’ll have an option to volunteer as a “Local Recruitment Captain.” Recruitment Captains will be part of a massive, national team to bring as many people as possible to Detroit. Anyone who wants to help with Change The Debate should register as a Local Recruitment Captain – it doesn’t matter if you’ve never done anything like this before!

What is the Sunrise National Summit?

We’re hosting the first Sunrise National Summit before the #ChangeTheDebate mobilization. The Summit will be a day and half long on July 29-30th. When you sign up, you’ll receive an link by email to apply to join us at the Summit!
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