Jere Locke

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Jere Locke

Jere Locke is originally from Houston, Texas. He is a former member of the Peace Corps and the former director of the Texas Fair Trade Coalition. He is also the founder of the Texas Harambe Foundation, which has funded many environmental efforts in Texas and in the U.S. He attended the 2007 Bali UN Climate Conference, which led him to do research on climate change for three months–and as a result, began a journey from virtual indifference on the matter to great concern. He lives in Austin with his family, which includes two sons and two granddaughters, and continues to be concerned about their future–and the future of all the next generations of children. He serves as the Program Director of the Texas Drought Project and is a prolific researcher. [1]

Climate activism

Jere Locke, the son of a wealthy Houston cotton trader, returned to Texas in 2008.

Locke was living in Thailand in 2006 when Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth was released in the United States. Bilingual and politically connected, Locke was tapped to help edit a version for Asian audiences. After repeated viewings, the film became just troubling enough to inspire the 64-year-old to start looking for more information. As it turned out, the United Nations was prepping the streets of Bali for a highly charged international climate congress. “Sixteen months ago, I didn’t know squat,” Locke says. “I just kind of wandered into Bali, essentially.”

In December 2007, he joined other activists camped outside the United Nations Climate Change Conference to witness an exercise in futility. With signs of warming now undeniable, the European Union was anxious to meet the recommendations of the International Panel on Climate Change by reducing greenhouse-gas emissions 3o percent before 2020. Cutting global emissions that quickly should keep the planet under a 3.6-degree temperature increase over pre-industrial averages, the level at which a majority of climate scientists believe global warming may become unforgivably destructive.

Though the Bush Administration had been forced to admit the reality of global warming after years of suppressing, censoring, and misrepresenting science, the United States’ representative wanted … nothing. No caps on carbon. No mandate.
Nothing — or something very close to it — won out. The rich agreed to help the poor acquire cleaner technologies, but specific greenhouse-gas reductions for developed nations were not included in the final Bali “Roadmap.”

On Locke’s last day in Indonesia, a small group of non-profit negotiators walked over to brief their fellow agitators. Locke remembers asking an obviously exhausted Filipino woman from the Third World Network if she at least saw a glimmer of light down the road, any reason for hope. The woman just stared at Locke and then began rattling off — again — all the problems still facing negotiators.

“She couldn’t even hear what I had just said,” said Locke. “That’s when I went home, and I just started reading, and I read everything I could get my hands on.”

Soon, the ex-pat cotton-trader’s son became the crazy guy at the teahouse who wouldn’t shut up about carbon emissions and melting glaciers, tipping points and coal.

“Eventually I settled down as I integrated all this new, very disturbing information,” he said.

When he reemerged from his conversion experience, Locke began to lobby the board of his family trust, the Texas Harambe Foundation, to give its remaining money — about $900,000 — to groups fighting climate change.

After winning out, he returned to Texas to preach the Gospel of Doom just as scientists were discovering that the world has been warming a lot faster than expected. Some were beginning to suggest that the potential for so-called “runaway” global warming with catastrophic results was becoming a likely result of our collective inaction.[2]

Texas Drought Project

The Texas Drought Project was born out of efforts by the Texas Harambe Foundation’s Texas Climate Emergency Campaign to facilitate passage of the Waxman-Markey bill on climate change in 2008-2009. Its co-founders, Jere Locke and Alyssa Burgin, came to the conclusion that many Texans were not yet willing to attach the words “climate change” to what was happening in Texas, but they understood intrinsically that, as one citrus farmer remarked, “things were changing” in Texas climate, weather and most certainly, rainfall patterns. Thus was formed the Texas Drought Project in June of 2009. It is registered as a 501c3 non-profit organization with the I.R.S.[3]

DSA member

Austin DSA Meeting Thursday, September 17th, 2015 - Speaker: DSA Member Jere Locke on Climate Change.

1700 South First Street (TSEU Hall)

Jere Locke is the Co-Founder and Program Director of the Texas Drought Project (TDP). For the past 8 years he has worked on climate change, the largest social justice issue in the history of mankind. He will talk about the latest science and the importance of the UN Climate Conference this December in Paris as well as TDP’s climate resolution which has now been signed by over 65 Texas organizations. He’ll also talk about other important ways people can get involved in the next month.[4]

March 2017 SADSA General Meeting


March General MeetingPublic · Hosted by San Antonio DSA, Sunday, March 26 at 12 PM - 2 PM CDT.

Tobin Library @ Oakwell, 4134 Harry Wurzbach, San Antonio, Texas 78209.

Join us for the March General Meeting of the San Antonio Democratic Socialists of America. Our main speaker will be Jere Locke of the Texas Drought Project, discussing the urgency of climate change and the possibility of civil disobedience in response. Other topics at the meeting will include poverty in San Antonio, the significance of May Day, and a discussion on the big tent philosophy of the DSA. We will also hold officer elections.

Left Up To US Closed Facebook group

Members of the Left Up To US closed Facebook group, as of August 11, 2017 included Jere Locke.[5]

Austin Democrats with Disabilities

Mickey Fetonte March 11 2018:


Mickey with Joey Gidseg, Haley Mack, Jere Locke, Danny Saenz, Elizabeth Gray, Jim Tourtelott, Raquel Voytowich, Nick Voytowich, Brett Cotham, Susan Cotham, Suny Ader, Mary Ward, Judy Holloway, and Steve Voytowich. He is taking the picture at the first ever American with disabilities caucus for Travis County. — with JA Stroup at Manchaca Road Branch, Austin Public Library.

Mickey Fetonte April 15 2018:


Austin Democrats with Disabilities 3rd group meeting with Rachel Lance, Dr Shirley J. McKellar, Jere Locke, Mary Ward, Jennifer McPhil, Robin Orlowski, Danny Saenz, Joey Gidseg, Diane Kearns, Dean Osterwell, Tawana Cadien, Judy Holloway, Mickey Fetonte, Faith Chatham, Nancy Crowther and Ruthie Lopez.

Stand with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

We Stand with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was a 2018 letter signed by several Democratic Socialists of America members mainly from the DSA North Star in response to attacks on Ocasio-Cortez over remarks she made on Palestine.

A recent petition circulated by some DSA members criticizes Ocasio-Cortez for supporting a two state solution to the Palestine-Israel question and not aligning with a long list of demands regarding Palestine and Israel. Should Ocasio-Cortez fail to agree with this list of demands, the petitioners are calling for DSA to revoke her endorsement. These attacks on Ocasio-Cortez have come despite the fact that she has staked out positions which will make her one of the strongest advocates of Palestinian rights and self-determination in Congress.
We stand with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The position she has taken on Israel and Palestine are principled stances, worthy of a democratic socialist, in its recognition of both Palestinian humanity and rights and Israeli humanity and rights. On this issue, as many, she will be a voice for the voiceless in Congress.

Signatures included Jere Locke.[6]


  1. TDP, About, accessed September 2015]
  2. [ San Antonio Current, march 25, 2009 Last chance for a slow dance? By Greg Harman]
  3. TDP, About, accessed September 2015]
  4. Austin DSA blog, DSA Meeting Thursday, 9/17
  5. [1]
  6. [2]