Resource Bank

Digital Organizing

When Wildfire Hits: Climate justice, mutual aid, and organizing in crisis

| Recording/Webinar | All Ages

Rogue Climate is a grassroots climate justice organization that builds youth leadership and mobilizes for clean energy, sustainable jobs, and a healthy environment across Southern Oregon. In September 2020, their community was overrun with climate-exacerbated wildfires that burned more than 2,600 homes, disproportionately impacting low-income, elderly, and Latinx community members, many who do not have citizenship so are not eligible for federal disaster support. This is the story of creating mutual aid networks in the midst of the Almeda and Obenchain fires, and sharing the skills and tools that were helpful when facing climate disasters at home.

They were able to respond to wildfires by using horizontal, distributed, and diverse networks of community members to set up multiple mutual aid relief sites within 24 hours of the fire. We can meet our needs. Climate change will impact marginalized communities first and worst as we've seen in Hurricane Katrina, and every major disaster before and after, and is true again in the case of Oregon's 2020 wildfires. In 2020 and beyond, climate justice organizing must include disaster response, and the skills we use to mobilize for climate justice also come in handy when responding to climate disaster.

Rogue Climate's office also burned in the fires.