Gulf South Rising 2015 - Final Report
Gulf South Rising (GSR) was a regional movement of coordinated actions and events in 2015, to highlight the impact of the global climate crisis on the U.S. Southern Gulf Coast region. This report describes the movement and introduces many of the participants. GSR was a locally-led grassroots effort that coordinated common narratives and goals from across the region, including frontline communities in Louisiana, Alabama, Texas, and Mississippi, through convenings, activism, and demonstration events. Gulf South Rising was a climate justice initiative that “demanded a just transition away from extractive industries, discriminatory policies, and unjust practices that hinder equitable recovery from disaster and impede the development of sustainable communities.”
Gulf South Rising had four primary goals:
- Build regional movement infrastructure;
- Connect and convene frontline communities around ecological justice and collective healing;
- Advance regional efforts of Indigenous and tribal land sovereignty; and
- shift the narrative from resilience to resistance.
Gulf South Rising built regional “movement infrastructure” by cultivating new leaders and connecting seasoned justice leaders to the intersecting issues associated with climate disruption. Participants fully engaged in GSR received training tailored to the region and gained experience developing democratic processes for self-governance.
GSR events across 2015 were organized around important “Movement Dates” which included coordinated actions for dates marking 50 years since the Selma March, 10 years since Hurricane Katrina, 5 years since the BP Deepwater Horizon Explosion, 40 years since the end of the Vietnam War, 50 years since the Voting Rights Act, and many more. Through shared work around these Movement Dates the GSR initiative aimed to amplify the good work continuously being done in the Gulf South, and connect climate justice action and communities across the region.
Throughout 2015, GSR trained frontline leadership on climate justice and ecological equity - cultivating local leadership, knowledge, and skills in the region. For example, the Movement Generation tailored an ecological justice and strategy training specifically for 25 GSR participants from Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. The Union of Concerned Scientists collaborated with the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice and the Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy to host the GSR Climate Change Community Training for 40 frontline leaders from all five Gulf South states. Weekly GSR meetings trained local residents in processes for democratic facilitation and collective decision-making.
Publication Date: September 5, 2015
- Gulf South Rising
- Case study
Gulf South Rising provided many lessons. The recommendations portion of this report is key to any and all work moving forward on climate justice. Without engaging those on the front lines of climate change, we cannot bring about real change. GSR shows one road map, and acknowledges that building movement is always in transition.