Image - speaker, plus detail and full cover of her book
Past Event

Saving Ourselves: From Climate Shocks to Climate Action

Scientists have known for decades that climate change is an existential crisis. For just as long, critics say there has been a complete failure of our institutions to rise to the challenge. Governments have struggled to meet even modest goals. Fossil fuel interests maintain a stranglehold on political and economic power. Even though we have seen growing concern from everyday people, civil society has succeeded only in pressuring decisionmakers to adopt watered-down policies. All the while, the climate crisis worsens. Is there any hope of achieving the necessary systemic change?

Dana R. Fisher argues that there is a realistic path forward for climate action―but only through mass mobilization that responds to the growing severity and frequency of disastrous events. Spurred by the lack of progress, climate activism has become increasingly confrontational. Fisher examines the radical flank of the climate movement: its emergence and growth, its use of direct action, and how it might evolve as the climate crisis worsens. She considers when and how activism is most successful, identifying the importance of creating community, capitalizing on shocking moments, and cultivating resilience. Join us as Fisher offers timely insights on how activist social movements can take power back from deeply entrenched interests and create transformative climate action.

About the Speaker

Dana Fisher is director of the Center for Environment, Community, and Equity and a professor in the School of International Service at American University. Her previous books include Activism Inc.: How the Outsourcing of Grassroots Campaigns Is Strangling Progressive Politics in America and American Resistance: From the Women’s March to the Blue Wave. Her work has been profiled in the Washington Post, New York Magazine, and Wired. She has appeared on ABC Nightline, Morning Joe, PBS Newshour, CNN, and on various programs on NPR, the CBC, and the BBC. She has published works in The American Prospect, The Washington Post, TIME Magazine, The Nation, Business Insider, and at the Brookings Institution.

Watch a short video of Fisher discussing her research into activist groups:

MLF Organizer
Andrew Dudley

A People & Nature Member-led Forum program. Forums and chapters at the Club are organized and run by volunteer programmers who are members of Commonwealth Club World Affairs, and they cover a diverse range of topics. Learn more about our Forums.

Photos courtesy the speakers.

April 11, 2024

The Commonwealth Club of California
110 The Embarcadero
Toni Rembe Rock Auditorium
San Francisco, CA 94105
United States

Image - Dana Fisher

Dana Fisher

Director, Center for Environment, Community, and Equity; Professor, School of International Service; American University; Author, Saving Ourselves

Image - Andrew Dudley

Andrew Dudley

Co-host and Producer, "Earth Live"; President and CEO, Earth; Chair, People & Nature Member-led Forum, Commonwealth Club World Affairs—Moderator