From the year 2165 we hear the extraordinary story of Marisol Jimenez, a lesbian chicana, who took on the biggest challenge facing her generation, and did so with creativity, passion, and joy.
I am Timothy Meadows, it is Saturday, January 5th 2165 and time for That Day in Climate History. By the early 21st century scientists agreed that climate change had already begun and human pollution fueled it, but most leaders dragged their feet and refused to act. As a result, many grassroots organizations formed to put pressure on governments.
Inspired by the creative, relentless, and highly effective work of HIV/AIDS activists 35 years previously, Marisol Jimenez began to apply some of the same methods to the Climate Crisis. Originally from Juarez, Mexico, she lived in El Paso, Texas and worked as a high school science teacher. In November 2015 she founded “Act Up for Climate.” She began by lobbying, then educating local leaders in the queer, transgender, bisexual, lesbian, and gay Civil Rights Movements, revealing how the climate crisis was already affecting the most vulnerable in their community and beyond.
Then working in solidarity with migrant workers, ranchers, faith leaders, healthcare providers, and queer people in the military and law enforcement, Marisol Jimenez and Act Up for Climate began staging dramatic and playful public actions to draw attention to the Climate Crisis. They used giant puppets, elaborate costumes, and highly choreographed marches. They also put pressure on lawmakers—creatively disrupting congressional sessions and setting up pop-up town hall meetings, always with a clear message and the specific demand for leaders to prepare for the needs of the public on a changing planet. Act Up for Climate along with many other groups also demanded a radical reduction of air pollution including the successful campaign that polluters pay a fee whenever they extracted fossil fuels. This of course eventually led to a dramatic increase of energy costs thus kickstarting the Great Transition from dirty to clean energy. Like the Citizens Climate Lobby, Act Up for Climate stressed that the money collected from polluters needed to go to households to help with the rising energy costs.
For 50 years, first demanding climate action and then assisting with the Great Transition efforts and disaster relief, Marisol Jimenez, fueled with urgency, anger, and hope infused the work of Act Up for Climate with humor and celebration. In 2068 Marisol Jimenez, nearly 80 years old, died peacefully in her home with her wife, Cynthia Espada by her side. In the last statement on her public page she wrote: “Yes, friends, there is always work ahead, but I see the world is better off today than when we started so long ago, and oh, didn’t we have so much fun together acting up?” On This Day in 2165, we remember that day in Climate History.
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- That Day in Climate History