By Brett Benson & Laura Zilverberg
MN350 editors

Those of us in the climate movement are no stranger to dealing with confusion and fear, mixed with periods of immediate crisis. As the coronavirus has shut down life in Minnesota this week, and much of our work has moved online, the crisis is hitting us in a variety of ways: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

It’s ironic that the period during which we’re asked to be in contact the least is the time we need each other the most, but it’s one of today’s many contradictions . Our teams are spending time tending to one another online, and we invite you to join us — take some time to care for yourself and those around you. 

We also recognize that no one can predict what other changes are in store. Even as the crisis unfolds, as every day finds us further away from “normal,” MN350 is recommitting itself to bedrock truths and values that won’t change.

We believe that caring for the Earth is powerful medicine. We believe that protecting our communities and our families is more important than protecting profits. We believe that climate justice demands that no one is left behind. We believe that all of us — brown, black, or white; native or immigrant; young or old — deserve the same opportunities to be healthy and thrive. We believe there is nothing more powerful than working side by side, in solidarity, to build a more beautiful world.

Our movements have always faced obstacles and adversity. When we’ve innovated, been creative, and found paths around the obstacles placed in our way by our opponents or by circumstances, we’ve made progress and won positive change.

As we adapt to our new normal, we’ll be thinking long and hard about the world we want to create, and we’ll be communicating that vision with our supporters in the coming weeks and months. We’re witnessing an incredible mobilization of governments, businesses, and individuals to confront a common enemy. The LA Times published a thought-provoking piece on what a climate mobilization would look like. Bill McKibben, the founder of the 350 movement, has been writing about how a similar mobilization could cut emissions, and there are already calls for a green stimulus to rebuild our economy. 

In the meantime, thank you for your support. Stay tuned for ways to help the climate justice movement, and consider some of the following actions in support of our local community. 

Sign on: Emergency time off now

Sign on in support of 15 days of emergency time off for all workers and a moratorium on evictions. Those who face homelessness or day-to-day housing insecurity are at a higher risk of being exposed to the virus, becoming ill, and suffering catastrophic health outcomes. Support workers staying home from work to protect their families and our community’s health.

Join our virtual events – Viewour list of upcoming events and participate virtually. 

Fridays for FutureSchool strikes have gone digital. You can join the #DigitalStrike by posting a picture of yourself with a sign along with the hashtags #ClimateStrikeOnline #schoolstrike4climate #fridaysforfuture and #climatestrike. 

Support our local community – Eater has a list of how you can support the service industry in MN, and the StarTribune has an article about organizations helping those in need at this time. Also, MN350 is a coalition member of the Minnesota COVID-19 Response, which is a people-centered response to the public health emergency.  

Donate supplies or make masks – Many organizations are accepting donations of unused medical supplies, including homemade masks. This StarTribune article has more details, and Zero Waste Chef offers guidelines for making masks. 

Stay home – The best thing you can do is stay home to flatten the curve and keep others safe.