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Climate Justice and Movement Building: An Interview with Brian Tokar

Climate Justice and Movement Building: An Interview with Brian Tokar

Photograph Source: Fibonacci Blue – CC BY 2.0

Adam Aron: What was your personal journey to focus on the ecological and climate crisis?

Brian Tokar: I was lucky enough to go to a high school in New York City that kids from all around the city can take a test to get into. It was very multicultural and it was a very political place. Then I went to university in Boston in the early 70s and became active in a variety of movements. Anti-war and anti-militarism were the main focuses and also anti-nuclear issues. US activism against nuclear power, really started here in New England and spread across the country.

The US government’s response to the Arab oil embargo was to say they were going to build hundreds of nuclear power plants and they were mostly in rural areas. And here in New England we saw an incredible alliance of people who had gone back to the land in the 1970s, with traditional rural dwellers and supporters from the cities. And it turned into a huge movement with some of the biggest civil disobedience actions in US history. It embraced the kind of decentralized organizing that, as a young person who was starting to read in social ecology, I increasingly saw as a big part of the solution – both in terms of confronting the issues at hand, but also in terms of the kind of social transformation that’s absolutely necessary. And at that time I started following energy issues very closely.

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