Citizens’ Climate Lobby

CCR Ep 44 The Extraordinary Marshall Saunders

January 24, 2020

On October 20th 2007, after having a revelation about the severity of climate change, Marshall Saunders launched Citizens Climate Lobby. He then inspired over one hundred thousand everyday citizens to appeal directly to members of congress. He helped empower them to offer a bold and straight forward solution to address climate change. Everyone who met Marshall, heard him speak, and worked beside him walked way with determination and a deeper belief in their own ability to change in the world. On December 27th, 2019 at the age of 80, Marshall Saunders passed away at his home in Coronado, California.

As host of Citizens Climate Radio, Peterson Toscano had the pleasure of sitting down to record interviews with Marshall multiple times. In these lively conversations, Marshall's voice is filled with kindness, wisdom, tenderness, insights, and mirth. Whenever Marshall spoke about CCL, he  expressed an unshakable faith in individuals to do far more than they ever imagined possible. As a leader, he influenced hundreds of thousands of volunteers to believe something outrageous—that cooperation in the US congress leading to bipartisan climate legislation was not only possible, but inevitable. 

For our main section we return to the beginning and bring you an intimate, moving, and at times hilarious conversation with Marshall Saunders, founder of Citizens Climate Lobby, and Mark Reynolds, the executive director. They reveal their origin stories. Highly ambitions and successful businessmen, they seemed unlikely candidates to head up an organization that puts relationship-building and climate advocacy at its heart.

The Art House
Days after the 2016 US presidential election, Peterson interviewed Marshall again and asked if Marshall book recommendations for listeners. Instead of suggesting books of non-fiction about climate, policy, or civics, Marshall immediately pointed to a 19th Century novel. He encouraged listeners to consider Leo Tolstoy’s Resurrection. The book is about a man who loses his way in the midst of a quickly changing industrial world. Tolstoy’s most philosophical work, Resurrection reveals flawed characters in need of redemption and the wisdom they discover as they find their way back to the places where they belong.  South African author, Glen Retief reads excerpts from the novel.
Excerpt from Resurrection
We may say of a man that he is more often kind than cruel, more often wise than stupid, more often energetic than apathetic or vice versa; but it could never be true to say of one man that he is kind or wise, and of another that he is wicked or stupid. Yet we are always classifying mankind in this way. And it is wrong. Human beings are like rivers; the water is one and the same in all of them but every river is narrow in some places, flows swifter in others; here it is broad, there still, or clear, or cold, or muddy or warm. It is the same with men. Every man bears within him the germs of every human quality, and now manifests one, now another, and frequently is quite unlike himself, while still remaining the same man.” 
Puzzler Question
You are at a political rally chatting with a new friend. Let’s call her Heather. When you ask her if she wants to join your climate group, she says, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but I don’t have time for climate work. I feel bad saying that but I work full time and two children still in school, I don’t have time for protesting right now. 

It sounds like Heather as a limited view of what climate work looks like. How would you respond to Heather? 

Send Peterson your answer by February 15, 2020, along with your name, contact info, and where you are from. You can email your answers to radio @ or leave a voicemail of 3 minutes or less at 518.595.9414. (+1 if calling from outside the USA.)

Dig Deeper

You can hear Citizens’ Climate Radio on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher RadioSoundCloudPodbeanNorthern Spirit RadioGoogle PlayPlayerFM, and TuneIn Radio. Also, feel free to connect with other listeners, suggest program ideas, and respond to programs in the Citizens’ Climate Radio Facebook group or on Twitter at @CitizensCRadio.

If you listen on iTunes, please consider rating and reviewing us!

Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App