We are beginning a regular series called “Why I do this Work” which will feature a new Clean Energy Jobs campaign supporter each month. We want to hear personal stories to gain a clear perspective of why we are all working together to accomplish this goal.
This Week’s Clean Activist: Campaign Co-manager Jamie Demarco.
My drive to do this work began when I lived with an indigenous man in the Ecuadorian rainforest. I grew to care for the place and the people who called it home. When I learned that oil companies were trying to take that land and clear it for oil extraction, I made a bold decision: upon returning home to the US, I refused to ride in cars.
Years passed and I remained steadfast; nothing anyone said or did could convince me to break my commitment. Then, I did something that changed my life forever. In 2013, I began volunteering for the Beyond Coal Campaign. The BCC has secured the retirement of over 250 coal plants in just 6 years. That’s nearly one coal plant every week! I asked myself “If everyone who worked on that campaign had just ridden their bikes instead of organizing, then how many more coal plants would be operational today?” In that moment, it dawned on me that solving the world’s problems requires advocating for meaningful policy change. I got back in the car and started organizing.
While abstaining from cars for several years was difficult, it also deepened my roots to Baltimore which is the city I grew up in. I have learned that I don’t need to travel to another hemisphere to witness communities oppressed by fossil fuel companies. I now feel called not just to organize, but to organize right here in Maryland.
The Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Initiative is the right campaign, at the right time, in the right place. That is why I do this work.