Sunrise Movement makes inroads in Asheville

Asheville Sunrise Movement meeting
RISE AND SHINE: Young activists with the Sunrise Movement's Asheville chapter speak at the group's first meeting in February. Photo courtesy of Ashley McDermott

A well-publicized sit-in at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office in November had a galvanizing impact for the Sunrise Movement.

“There was all this enthusiasm around Sunrise, and it just kind of exploded,” says Ashley McDermott, one of the founding members of the organization’s Asheville chapter. People began hearing about the group and its mission to stop climate change while also creating jobs — a mission that dovetails with the Green New Deal resolution proposed by congressional Democrats, including freshman House Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The local chapter of Sunrise is one of many that have started across the U.S. The Asheville group kicked off with a February meeting at the YWCA, which McDermott says brought in roughly 80 attendees. Although it’s still early in the organization’s work, she estimates that there are about 30 active members, primarily high school and college students.

“The youngest generation … they are particularly focused on climate change,” she says. “They’re the ones who have this emotional connection to it the most. They’re seeing and experiencing it now.”

Over the coming year, McDermott says the national organization is hoping to jump-start conversations at a local level through chapters such as the Asheville group and will be putting a specific focus on the 2020 elections.

Editor’s note: As part of our monthlong celebration of this region’s commitment to sustainable ways of living and working in community, Xpress is highlighting some of those who are making a difference by taking action on a variety of creative and inspiring initiatives. 


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About David Floyd
David Floyd was a reporter for the Mountain Xpress. He previously worked as a general-assignment reporter for the Johnson City Press.

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26 thoughts on “Sunrise Movement makes inroads in Asheville

  1. Gregory Leng

    Someone needs to let this group know that NASA has recorded from space that our ice on the poles is expanding by great lengths once again. FYI!

    • bsummers

      And then make sure they know what that really means. FYI!:

      While the Arctic sea ice is growing faster and higher during the winter months, it is more than offset by the melting in the summer months. So what we’ve seen is that the increased rate of sea ice growth in the winter helps to mitigate the melting during the summer. However, ultimately the warming summer temperatures continue to overall reduce the extent of sea ice.

      • Lulz

        LOL leftism created gods out of frauds. Funny how fossils of fish are found in mountains. Or receding glaciers now reveal plane crash sites. One has to ask, how did all that get there? You know nothing of climate. Your science can’t take into account that it has no records of the entire existance of the earth. At one time Europa existed. So your logic should conclude that continents are not natural and therefore we should so everything to cure it.

        Teaching children is the last thing schools seem to be doing these days.

          • bsummers

            Interestingly, one of the central features of Europa, the impact crater ‘Pwyll’, is named after perhaps the original sockpuppet of 14th century Welsh folklore:

            While hunting in Glyn Cuch, Pwyll, prince of Dyfed becomes separated from his companions and stumbles across a pack of hounds feeding on a slain stag. Pwyll drives the hounds away and sets his own hounds to feast, earning the anger of Arawn, lord of the otherworldly kingdom of Annwn. In recompense, Pwyll agrees to taking on Arawn’s appearance and trade places with him for a year and a day, and takes his place at Arawn’s court. At the end of the year, Pwyll engages in single combat against Hafgan, Arawn’s rival, and mortally wounds him with one blow, earning Arawn overlordship of all of Annwn.

          • Lulz

            Got the name mixed up. But nevertheless, at one time the land mass of Earth was one giant continent. Point being is that the planet has never been in one state of climate, geological, or physical shape over its entire existence. Humans cannot and will not ever control the climate. Ever.

        • Jason W

          It was called Pangaea.

          Also controlling climate, and affecting climate are two different things.
          We certainly can’t control climate, (or weather for that matter), but the re-release of stored carbon dioxide into our atmosphere, has been proven to affect climate. It’s called greenhouse effect

  2. Enlightened Enigma

    It’s all such a gigantic over reaction to the indoctrination they have received in the piss poor government screwls, ACS in particular, at $16,000 per head per year, which is UNsustainable. How many millions of taxpayer dollars can be saved per year by consolidating our dual antiquated screwl systems? WHO can answer this question?

    • Lulz

      They don’t want educated people. Goal of the leftist I to bring down the nation because they hate it.

    • Lulz

      Are those numbers taken over decades, centuries, or millennia? Junk scientist say the Earth will take millions of years to recover from current human impact. But does that figure in that over the course of the history of the planet, it’s been through severe volcanic activity, water levels rising and falling, who knows how many ice ages, asteroids, etc.? Does modern science take into account active volcanos deep in the ocean that release Sulphur at huge levels?

      At one time glaciers were all the way down into the southern US. Why did they recede? Did human activity cause it? Do tell us.

      • Peter Robbins

        I’ll do my best to set you straight, Lulz, but I think we both know it’s a challenge.

        1. According to the scientists, if we continue to binge until all the fossil fuel in the world runs out, it will take tens of thousands of years for the earth’s carbon cycle to recover its equilibrium. If we cut down dramatically now, though, it will take only 10,000 years or so. Our great-great grandkids should be able to do a short stretch like that standing on their heads. If any of them are still alive. You can learn about the subject here:

        2. Scientists are well aware that many factors, including volcanoes, can affect the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. But the factor that is threatening catastrophic results for the particular civilization in which humans currently reside is the burning of fossil fuels. We still have a little time yet to plan for the next Ice Age. You can learn about the subject here:

        3. It is certainly true that humans cannot completely control climate, at least not currently. But they can affect climate for the worse by engaging in recklessly uncontrolled practices and they can affect it for the better by shaping up and flying right. People like you remind me of the drunk who stayed at the bar until he passed out because his demenshia could be caused by lotsinlotsa stuff and how do they know it schmisn’t . . . .

        4. The first clip I showed you is part of a video course entitled “The Climate-Energy Challenge.” It is offered for free by Harvard University on the “edX” website. I recommend it. It addresses all your questions in a user-friendly way and with far more patience than I can muster. Enjoy.

      • luther blissett

        That’s a very windy way to say “I’ll be dead, why should I care?”

  3. Anita Pandolfi

    With all our concern about Climate Change why is the fact that meat eating is a huge factor in the causes of Climate Change never or almost never mentioned. It’s obviously something that each individual can easily effect by not eating meat.

      • Anita

        I hope you are serious. It provides you with better health. Allows you to dis engage from a brutal industry but more important to the discussion at hand Global Warming, it’s allows you personally to do something to reduce global warming. Don’t talk about Global Warming as a problem if you aren’t willing to be a part of the solution.

  4. C-Law

    Hitler had a infamous program which was popularly known as “Hitler Youth.”

    He wasn’t stupid. Grabbing teens and indoctrinating them is a lot simpler than trying to do the same thing with more-fully developed reasoning skills. Having children run tropes and flat-out lies is a shopworn tactic of demonic monsters world-wide for thousands of years.

    Today it goes on in America and elsewhere and this “Sunrise Movement” front is yet another example.

    The reason we don’t let children make policy decisions is that they’re insufficiently experienced and too-easily influenced. It always sounds good when kids are “pleading for their future” but they’re incapable, at that age, of discerning that the very policies they “plead” for mean they won’t have a future — and in particular they won’t have children themselves either.

    There are approximately 7.5 billion humans on the planet today. It was just 1974 when the population was half of what it is today. In less than 50 years it has doubled, and it was approximately 2 billion in 1927, which means it has now doubled twice on 50 year intervals.

    The growth of CO2 emissions is coming from pre-industrial and emerging industrial economies. It has always been thus and it always will be thus. Further, an utterly enormous amount of fertilizer is required to keep making more food to feed the rapidly-expanding population and the input for fertilizer is, to a large degree, natural gas which of course is CH4; the carbon is not used since fertilizer seeks to put Nitrogen (mostly) into the soil. Guess where the carbon goes? Uh huh.

    Even if Europe and the United States were to cut their carbon emissions not just to net zero addition but to zero entirely within a few years India, China and elsewhere that still have developing economies which the industrial world wants to use for cheap labor (gee, Africa is looking kinda good isn’t it?) will not only not stop emitting carbon their per-capita emissions are inevitably going to skyrocket. Further that’s where most of the people are; India and China alone constitute about 35% of the world’s population!

    The United States is a piker by comparison; we have a “mere” 330 million people while India and China between them sport nearly ten times that number. Were China and India to adopt our lifestyle a mere 10% increase in their population would entirely cancel our emissions going to zero.

    If, and I stress if, CO2 is actually causing the planet to warm up and the seas to rise (which I do not believe, incidentally) then the only means by which you can stop it is to literally stop population growth and development of the entire remainder of the world.

    You literally are going to have to murder several billion people over the next couple of decades to stop it as even if we cut our emissions to zero the impact of doing so would be too small to be visible in the outcome.

    North America has a population density (people per square mile) of about one quarter that of Asia, one third that of Europe and slightly more than half that of Africa. (We’re about the same as South America, incidentally.) We can feed ourselves in North America, probably, without all the advanced fertilization and similar.

    It’s flat-out impossible to do so in Asia, Africa and Europe, and Africa is projected to be the fastest-growing population on a forward basis. What’s worse is that they’re also the least-developed in terms of industrialization so their per-person carbon emissions are going to skyrocket on a comparative basis.

    To prevent this you will have to kill them all and to put perspective on this you’re talking about murdering roughly a billion in Africa alone.

    That’s what these policy “demands” amount to; if that’s not what you’re willing to do and not declaring intent to do then the entire debate is a waste of time and has exactly nothing to do with CO2 emissions as its impact on climate.

    In other words the children are being abused at a felony level as they’re being told to advocate for either their own forced sterilization or mass-murder of those in other nations, and are being used as props to create either or both outcomes — or a third outcome, such as (for example) control at a fascist level, exactly as Hitler did with “Hitler’s Youth.”

    • bsummers

      Wow. Calling a bunch of concerned area kids “Hitler Youth,” who are advocating genocide. A new low.

      • Lulz

        Indoctrinated kids are the only way the left can achieve power. Without it, people will quickly realize the policies of leftism are insane. It’s like Bernie claiming his single payer scheme will save taxpayers money. What he won’t tell you is that not only will premiums be factored in, but also deductibles as well. So taxpayers will be paying double premiums in taxes each year. Even if they never have used insurance before. He’s counting on everyone paying deductibles to pad the taxes EVERY YEAR. And that’s also taking from the dwindling 49% of taxpayers to do it with. But kids only hear free health care is a right without the true costs of such lunacy. And who’s really footing the bill? With open borders and illegals eating up a huge portion of health care costs.

    • Lulz

      They’re main goal is to spread chaps to win votes. Lowering the voting age to 16 is but one example. Corrupt young minds daily in school, bus them to the polls after. Problem is once enough poverty hits the nation, either people will leave or revolt. They’re not stupid and they won’t put up with what’s in all reality communism.

      • C-Law

        . If climate change is considered a problem, it does not follow automatically that it has to be stopped or minimized at whatever cost it takes: humans are especially good at adaptation, and government does usually more harm than good.

        Climate change, be it global warming or cooling, has multiple possible causes and effects, and the valuation of the effects can be different in different parts of the planet. Cold regions may welcome warming and lament cooling, warm regions may welcome cooling and lament warming. Climate-change alarmists seem to be climate reactionaries accepting no change.
        There is no optimal climate, and conflicts for the climate’s determination may arise if humans achieve partial control over it. Even if humans are adapted to the present climate, this does not imply that it would be difficult to adapt to different climates if the changes are not excessive.

        Climate change could happen quickly on a geological scale, but it is slow on a human scale, permitting informed adaptation and planning for the future. Climate change mitigation policies have certain, huge costs in the present and would provide uncertain, small benefits in the future. The relatively poor of today would sacrifice to help the relatively rich of tomorrow.

        Global warming catastrophists seem to forget other more important and urgent issues which compete for the allocation of the scarce resources demanded for climate-change mitigation. It is preposterous to declare global warming the worst problem for mankind when there is war, hunger, sickness, and poverty.

        For some radical environmentalists and many politicians, climate change is the most important problem for human civilization, and they pretend to speak in the name of all mankind. But all problems seem to be extreme for them, because they have no notion of relative opportunity costs. Their moral language imposes duties on citizens who seem to be receiving orders about what they must do and what they must avoid no matter what.

        Governments are supposed to be necessary to protect their citizens against aggressions, but they are very incompetent at this task, they often perform their own institutional aggressions by prohibiting perfectly peaceful and voluntary activities; and now with climate change they seem to consider anthropogenic global warming an illegitimate undesirable action.

        Some radicals even try to censor and criminalize dissent from skeptics, deniers, or minimizers. But thought and speech, even if wrong or false, are never real crimes. There may be special-interest groups on both sides of the debate fighting for their favorite public policies: not only oil, coal, and nuclear companies, but also heavily subsidized renewables.

        While the official mainstream climate science may well be correct, its ignorance regarding economics, political philosophy, and law is huge. The most important entities for a human being are other human beings (for the good and for the bad), and not the environment. Humans can be especially damaging when organized politically and inspired by collectivism.

        The possible damages of climate change should be compared to the possible damages of governmental bureaucratic intervention and political oppression. Maybe the whole global-warming scare is an excuse to increase the extension of political power or a distraction from other serious problems. Social institutions matter most, and they are very wrong now: a huge improvement is possible, and freedom is the answer.

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