Climate Emergency Coalition (CEC) is a lead organization creating the national conversation on the emerging climate emergency to result in a declaration of Global Warming State of Emergency and an Emergency Climate Mobilization. CEC is creating a campaign of moral conversation events to be hosted in faith communities and civic spaces—to alert, engage, and activate Americans to call for responses to meet the scope, scale, and urgency of the crisis: national climate policies and an emergency mobilization to phase out fossil fuels within a decade.


Cliff Cockerham, National Campaign Director

Cliff's activism began with a legislative appointment in 1973 to central NY’s regional Environmental Management Council.  After a diverse teaching/research career, he began engaging inner-city youth as Sierra Club (SC) activists in 2008.  After reviving the SC - Tennessee Chapter' s Environmental Justice (EJ) Committee, he subsequently revived the SC - Tennessee Chapter's Environmental Education (EE) Committee and continues to chair both of these vital committees.  Consequently, dozens of students have been awarded SC scholarships to attend national trainings & conferences in addition to participating in seminal activist events & rallies around the nation.   Much of his current work around the nation and overseas involves speaking on, and teaching about, Climate Justice [CJ] and intersectionality.    

After receiving SC national's Cox Award in 2011 for student empowerment, Cliff ( a Rachel Carson Society member & a Lifetime SC member) went on to serve in roles such as:  keynote and plenary EJ/EE speaker at over a dozen national and international conferences;  SC - TN Chapter Chair 2015-2017;  adjunct faculty at Merritt College, who joined College President Burns in accepting SC’s Bay Area “Emerging Voices” Award in 2017 , owing to his founding role in designing and deploying Merritt College’s San Francisco Bay Area EJ/ CJ Education Pipeline.  As a member of SC’s national Toxics Committee, he monitors Trump administration impacts on EPA’s clean air/water/energy protection.   As President of the Tennessee Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility [PSR] and funded by grants from the Environmental Defense Fund and the Union of Concerned Scientists, Cliff is managing PSR's 30-city grassroots campaign to move the Republican-dominated Tennessee delegations in the House and Senate to break with the Trump administration on their plans to dismantle EPA protections and withdraw from the COP21 Paris Accords on climate change mitigation. 

Cliff is also an active member of the national "Scientists Network" public outreach program of the Union of Concerned Scientists [UCS] and on behalf of UCS is leading a multilevel team that is mentoring EJ student activist programs on three HBCU [Historically Black Colleges and Universities] campuses in the South.  He is part of the "Ignite Change" network of the Center for Biological Diversity and is active in the American Association for the Advancement of Science [AAAS] section on Societal Impacts of Science and Engineering.  Cliff is a past president of a state chapter of Interfaith Power & Light, which advocates on climate change issues through faith communities nationwide.

Cliff explained: "Early retirement in 2014 allowed me to dig deeper:  spending 6 weeks on PCM’s (Peoples Climate March) team that brought 40,000 college students to Manhattan in 2014.  This was an exciting prelude to COP21 where I served as producer for a team of American students who went to Paris in 2015 to deliver live-webcasts to American audiences.  I also had the pleasure of organizing an NGO/SC side-event against fracking while participating in the international meeting of anti-fracking activists who met in Paris during COP21.  Except for field studies on Mayan Ejidos in the Central Yucatan, my current focus is to teach, write, and continue building the Connect the Dots campaign, which has the potential to expand environmental activism to beyond the America's metro hubs.”  

His formal education/research includes:  a B.S. in Genetics and Communications Arts [double major] with Honors from Cornell University;  a Ph.D. in molecular biology from Georgetown University;  a faculty traineeship certificate from Harvard Medical School;  a post-doctoral fellowship in molecular cardiology in the Department of Medicine at the Emory University School of Medicine; on natural resource conservation, ecology, genetics, population dynamics, etiology, etc.  Cliff’s research projects also involved guest collaborations at Brookhaven National Laboratory, National Institutes of Health, CDC, Atlanta-VA Medical Center, NASA, the Gulf Coast Research Lab, The Bristol-Myers Squibb Institute at Princeton, etc.  In the 1990's Cliff was awarded Emory's Multicultural Faculty-Staff Excellence Award, recognizing his service as Chair of the President's Commission on the Status of Minorities at Emory and his work for Chairperson Coretta Scott-King of the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday Commission in Washington.  As the King Commission's co-chair for Higher Education, Cliff played a central role in nationally defining the King federal holiday as a day of community service, branded by the motto:  "A day on, not a day off!"

On the international stage, he served as NGO observer for the UN Conference on Trade & Development (Manila, Philippines -1979);  NGO organizer for policy consultations with U.S. Ambassador Stromayer in preparation for the UN Conference on New & Renewable Energy (Nairobi , Kenya -1981);  plenary environmental speaker at the summative conference on UN Millennium Development Goals (Vadodara, India - 2014);  breakout session moderator at the Climate Convergence Conference in association with the UN Climate Summit (New York, New York 2014), etc.

In addition to currently leading the CEC national campaign, Cliff serves as chief executive officer Physicians for Social Responsibility - Tennessee Chapter.  Cliff previously served as Tennessee Chapter Chair for the Sierra Club [2015- January 2018], Board President of the Tennessee Alliance for Progress, and President of Tennessee Interfaith Power & Light.  For Cliff, protecting the most vulnerable people on the planet from the "globalization of indifference" is a moral imperative that ultimately drives his dedication to climate mobilization.




Jean Arnold, Development Director
jean [at] tree-of-life.works

Jean has been raising awareness about global warming and the threats posed by fossil fuel use for a decade through writing, lectures, graphics, websites, visual art, and organizational development. She has organized community events, actions, and guest speaker engagements. Over time, Jean's focus has shifted from the local to the national level, and towards the need for policy change, system change, and cultural transformation. Prior to her founding work with the Association for the Tree of Life and Climate Emergency Coalition, she founded and served as coordinator of Post Carbon Salt Lake.