Students and community rally for the Chico Green New Deal


Students and community members rallied together with other Sunrise Movements across California. Photo credit: Kimberly Morales

On Friday, at the edges of Chico State’s campus, Sunrise Movement Chico rallied with other Sunrise Movement locations across the state demanding a change to save California from their state of emergency.

Sunrise Movement made note of the importance of standing with communities in Los Angeles and Sonoma County which are fighting a familiar fight that Butte County was experiencing in the Camp Fire a year ago.

Volunteers with the Sunrise Movement are continuing to push back against climate change by supporting new legislation such as the freshly-introduced Chico Green New Deal. Photo credit: Kimberly Morales

Stressing the involvement of fossil fuel industries, politicians and corporations such as PG&E, who, the organization says, place profit over people, volunteers with the Sunrise Movement plans to attack corporate greed, according to Steven Marquardt, coordinator of the Chico Sunrise Movement location.

The Chico Green New Deal was introduced by Vice Mayor Alex Brown and Council Member Karl Ory
On Friday, Sunrise Movement held a rally in support of the Chico Green New Deal. Photo credit: Kimberly Morales

Vice Mayor Alex Brown, who was inspired by the movement, also came out for the rally. Presenting the Chico Green New Deal the day before with the help of Council-member Karl Ory. Alex Brown explained the opportunities Chico has to fight climate change.

“The Camp Fire happened and then there was a significant shift in our community that recognized the emergency that we’re in and then the momentum continued to grow, making a significant turn in the Sunrise Movement,” Brown said.

“We released this (the Chico Green New Deal) yesterday, and it contains a couple of concrete goals, of them to make sure the city of Chico’s grid is 100% clean, electricity-run by 2030 and to be climate neutral by the year 2045, with the intentions of reaching both of those goals earlier…actions will be taken to achieve these efforts by the end of 2026, which is the end of my second term.”

With all of these expected to be complete by the end of her term, one goal is to be sure that the younger generations of the community to step in and take the plan forward, keeping the legacy going, continuing to bring green voters and green ‘fingers’ to Chico, according to Brown.

One student, Melys Jerez, asked Brown, “Are you planning to translate the Chico Green New Deal in Spanish?”

Brown answered, “Sí, se puede!…But only with some help!”

Questions shifted around the subject of understanding how the Green New Deal will reach the diverse communities of Chico.

“How can this Green New Deal help our unhoused folks here?” Jerez asked Brown, “I know that’s definitely something your opponents will bring up against you. Do you have a vision about what that might look like?”

“I see the root of a lot of homelessness as a lack of affordable housing and commitment to make sure affordable housing matches the need in the community,” Brown said, “But that doesn’t always help the folks who are on the streets now. Things like heating and cooling plants and making sure there are places to be when our city reaches weather that is unlivable or 24 hour bathrooms where our folks need to use them. Some of it is short term solutions to a much deeper, long-standing problem.”

While the New Deal doesn’t do everything that Brown wants it to do for tenants specifically, a listening session making the connection between housing and climate change on Wednesday at the Butte County Oak center hosted by the Butte Environmental Council.

While the plan is available electronically, with breaking up the Green New Deal into shareable sound bites and a forming an email list, Brown intends to ensure that people can get access to the different components and how it relates to the infrastructure and culture set in Chico.

To end the rally, Sunrise Movement held a moment of silence for those who are affected by the current fires across California

While a national strike will be held Dec. 6 to gain momentum to bring people to make change, Sunrise Movement will be continuing to hold weekly rallies on campus in solidarity with combating climate change.

Kimberly Morales can be reached at [email protected] or @kimberlymnews on Twitter.