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One among many heroes: The ChangeMakers who inspire me

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Mondoweiss readers, we are very grateful for your support of our work! Now, can you help us meet the challenge we’ve been offered this month? If we raise $100,000 from you and others by December 31, generous long-standing donors will match it with an additional $100,000.

Can you help today, with a gift of $40, $75 or whatever amount you can manage? We have two weeks left to unlock these funds.

If you’ve already donated this month, please accept our thanks! And read on to understand how staffer Olivia Katbi Smith is inspired by ChangeMakers for Palestine.

Each week, when I’m not working to build capacity at Mondoweiss, I’m a hard-working activist like so many of you, spending hours and hours on direct action and strategy. Palestine solidarity is the focus of a lot of my work, but it’s not the only thing I do–as the co-chair of my Democratic Socialists of America chapter, I’ve learned through struggle that all of our issues are connected. That includes climate change; Palestinians are experiencing the consequences of climate change sooner and with more devastating effect than Israelis and others who have wealth and power. And we won’t be able to win any of our struggles if we don’t have a planet to live on.

That’s why I’m so inspired by ChangeMakers who tie these important issues together, like scholar and writer Zena Agha. As a fellow for Al-Shabaka; The Palestinian Policy Network, Zena wrote the policy brief  “Climate Change, the Occupation, and a Vulnerable Palestine” this year. In an exclusive interview with Mondoweiss, Zena talked about the threat that climate change presents to Palestine, how it is exacerbated by the Israeli occupation, and the steps being taken, or not being taken, to prepare for it. Zena says: “If you’re for justice for Palestinians, you’re for climate justice.”

Zena has found that discussing climate issues enables her to connect with people not previously focused on Palestine. “When I sat down with Deb Haaland’s office, the indigenous freshman congresswoman from New Mexico, I wouldn’t say the staff were experts on Palestine but they were 100 percent clear on what climate change meant, and what water scarcity meant, and what water insecurity meant for vulnerable communities. And it was around those nexuses that we were able to leverage power and have a shared understanding.”

Zena is one among many who are heroes to me. This year, the Palestinian BDS National Committee issued two formal statements calling for action against Israel’s “climate apartheid against Palestinians.” Sarah Algherbawi has reported for Mondoweiss on Palestinian entrepreneurs developing environmentally responsible businesses. And David Kattenburg has covered multiple renewable energy projects in Palestine either in progress or seeking capital. All these individuals and organizations working to preserve the planet are made stronger by Mondoweiss reporting, which gets their stories to hundreds of thousands of people.

These ChangeMakers make clear the fight we have ahead of us–and you are an important part of this fight. Because of your support for Mondoweiss, we are able to alert the world to the particular climate threats faced by Palestinians. In the face of incomplete and outright biased reporting by the mainstream media, I’m proud that Mondoweiss is able to deliver both on-the-ground coverage and insightful commentary the world needs to hear.

In order to make real change happen, we need to start by telling the real truth. Can you make a contribution today to sustain truthful reporting for justice in Palestine and beyond?

One of Zena’s comments rings in my ears: “Anything that you understand insofar as a crisis in Palestine right now will it be exacerbated by climate change. So, in fighting for Palestinian rights and dignity climate change and climate justice is a core component of that as well.”

Connecting these dots matters. You don’t need to be an environmental expert to recognize the urgency of this political moment.  If you agree that accurate reporting and insightful commentary are urgently needed to counter false narratives in the mainstream media, please contribute to Mondoweiss today.

I’m grateful to be surrounded by the ChangeMakers who work both behind the scenes and in the streets, for liberation for Palestine and for all people–because none of us are free until all of us are free. And I’m grateful for you because I know you will stand with us to truly create lasting change.

We are grateful for your consistent support of Mondoweiss. Our campaign this month honors the ChangeMakers who inspire us and educate the world. Please help match the $100,000 challenge fund so Mondoweiss can continue to report on their work.