Climate activism is becoming increasingly important as the world faces the consequences of climate change. With rising temperatures, melting ice caps, and extreme weather events, it is essential that people take action to combat the effects of global warming. However, many people are unsure of how to get started with climate activism.
The first step to getting involved in climate activism is to educate yourself on the issue. This can involve reading articles and books about climate change, attending climate-related events, and following climate activists on social media. By learning about the science behind climate change and the impact it has on the planet, you can better understand the urgency of the issue and how you can make a difference.
Once you have educated yourself on the issue, the next step is to take action. This can involve making small changes in your daily life, such as reducing your carbon footprint by using public transportation or eating a plant-based diet. It can also involve joining a local climate group or attending a climate march to show your support for the cause. No matter how big or small your actions may be, every effort counts in the fight against climate change.
Understanding Climate Change
Causes of Climate Chaos
Climate change is caused by a variety of factors, both natural and human-induced. The most significant human-induced cause is the release of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere.
This occurs primarily through the burning of fossil fuels for energy, transportation, and other industrial processes. Deforestation and other land-use changes also contribute to the release of greenhouse gases.
Other natural causes of climate change include changes in solar radiation, volcanic activity, and variations in Earth’s orbit and axis. However, these natural factors alone cannot account for the rapid warming of the planet that has occurred over the past century.
Effects of Climate Chaos
The effects of climate change are wide-ranging and include rising sea levels, more frequent and severe heat waves, droughts, and wildfires, as well as increased frequency and intensity of storms and flooding. These changes have significant impacts on human health, ecosystems, and economies worldwide.
In addition to these direct impacts, climate change also exacerbates existing social and environmental issues, such as poverty, food insecurity, and biodiversity loss. Addressing climate change requires a holistic approach that considers the interconnectedness of these issues.
It is important to note that the effects of climate change are not evenly distributed, with marginalized communities and developing countries often bearing the brunt of the impacts. Addressing climate change requires a just and equitable approach that prioritizes the needs of those most affected.
But I’m not the reason for climate change. Why blame individuals?
There is no blame in the suggestion that we should all do what we can int he fight against climate chaos and fossil fuel companies.
While individual actions alone may not be enough to single-handedly solve climate change, they still hold significant value and are worth pursuing. Each small step taken towards sustainable living, whether it’s reducing personal carbon footprint, adopting eco-friendly practices, or advocating for environmental causes, contributes to the collective effort.
It is essential for everyone to do what they can, when they can, as these individual actions raise awareness and inspire others to join the movement.
However, the ultimate goal lies in systemic change, where governments, industries, and institutions implement policies and practices that lead to substantial and lasting environmental transformations.
By combining individual actions with demanding systemic change, we can work together towards a sustainable and resilient future for our planet and all its inhabitants.
Getting Involved in Climate Activism
Why Climate Activism is Important
Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time. It poses a serious threat to our planet and our way of life. Climate activism is important because it helps raise awareness about the issue and pushes for meaningful action to be taken. By getting involved in climate activism, you can help make a difference and ensure a better future for ourselves and future generations.
We all have something to contribute to the movement
Regardless of your background or skillset, there is a way for you to get involved in climate activism. Whether it’s through volunteering, donating, or simply spreading awareness about the issue, everyone has something to contribute to the movement. By working together, we can create a more sustainable future for all.
Ways to Get Involved
There are many ways to get involved in climate activism, including:
- Joining local climate activism groups. There are so many to list here, but long story short, people have been doing this work for a long time! Don’t reinvent the wheel. Find a group with momentum in your area and join up.
- Sunrise Movement – find a local hub
- 350.org (International climate action group – find a local chapter here or check out their resources for organizers!) I work with my local 350 group often.
- Greenpeace – take action or volunteer
- Mothers Out Front – volunteer with them or find a local group
- Green Latinos – become a member or visit their action hub
- Parents for Future – find a group near you
- Attending climate rallies and protests. Once you’re signed up with a local group, check out their website and social media for information about upcoming events in your area. Sign up for their email newsletter or text message notifications to automate the process of hearing about protests and other events.
- Volunteering digitally with environmental organizations. If you can’t attend many events in person, look for ways to volunteer your time digitally. Even if you have 5 mins per week to spend signing a few petitions or sending a pre-written letter to your local representative, you can take action regularly. And those groups will tell you exactly how you can help if you sign up.
- Reducing your own carbon footprint through lifestyle changes. This one is important because even though most of the onus is on corporations and governments to change their ways, individual action and change are so powerful. Through lifestyle changes, you might discover new passions! Things like gardening and regenerative agriculture, nature photography, caring for animals, dietary changes, and changes in the way that you shop can empower, excite, and motivate you to keep up your momentum.
- Talking about climate with friends, family, and neighbors. This is one of the most effective ways to bring people into the movement! In order to fix problems, we first have to admit to the problems. Then, we have to talk about them! Bring as many people into the conversation as possible. The
- Donating to climate-related causes. If you don’t have any time to volunteer, consider donating! You can still make a difference this way. I recommend finding a local group doing tangible work in your area and supporting them one time, monthly, or annually. Different groups will often have different options to donate or support them.
How to Get Started with Climate Action in Tangible Ways
As an individual, you can make a significant impact on climate change by adopting sustainable practices in your daily life. Here are some actions you can take:
- Reduce energy consumption by turning off lights and unplugging electronics when not in use.
- When buying something, ask yourself first if you really need it. If you do, can you find that item secondhand? If you can’t, can you buy it from a local artisan or small business?
- Use public transportation, carpool, bike, or walk when possible instead of driving alone.
- Eat a plant-based diet or reduce meat consumption. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing! If you do buy meat, try to buy locally and from farmers who practice sustainable/regenerative agriculture. (If you can afford to.)
- Reduce water usage by taking shorter showers and fixing leaks.
- Reduce waste by recycling, composting, and using reusable bags and containers.
- Read or write about climate justice. (Your public library is a great resource for this! You don’t even have to go there again after getting your card in many places. You can borrow audiobooks from your library’s website.)
- Grow plants! Do some research about native plants in your area. Grow plants for food, pollinators, and for native biodiversity. Great resources for new gardeners are your local extension office’s website, YouTube, and Facebook gardening groups.
Working with your community can also make a significant impact on climate change. Here are some actions you can take:
|Join a local environmental group
|Joining a local environmental organization is a powerful way to take climate action and make a positive impact on your community. However, it’s crucial to ensure that the organization you choose is actively listening to and engaging with front line communities in your area. By prioritizing the voices and needs of these communities, the organization can address environmental challenges more effectively and equitably. Getting involved not only allows you to contribute to environmental efforts but also promotes inclusivity, social justice, and a collective approach to building a sustainable future for all.
|Organize or join a community garden
|Starting a community garden is a way for people to come together to cultivate a shared green space, grow fresh produce, and promote sustainable food practices. Supporting and being part of a community garden is a form of climate action as it contributes to local food resilience, reduces food transportation emissions, and fosters environmental awareness. Getting involved in a community garden provides opportunities for outdoor activity, educational experiences about gardening and ecosystems, and a sense of belonging to a vibrant, green community.
|Organize or join a community cleanup
Organizing or joining a community cleanup is an impactful way to take climate action at the local level. By coming together to clean up and restore shared spaces, we contribute to reducing pollution, protecting wildlife, and promoting a healthier environment for everyone.
|Support a local mutual aid organization
|A mutual aid organization is a grassroots community group where individuals come together to support one another’s needs, often through voluntary assistance and resources. Supporting a mutual aid organization near you is a form of climate action because it fosters resilience, community strength, and reduces dependency on environmentally harmful systems. Getting involved in mutual aid also promotes empathy, builds social connections, and empowers individuals to actively address local challenges and create positive change.
|Find opportunities to learn
|Finding opportunities to learn from people teaching about sustainability, ecology, and topics close to your heart is a form of climate action that enriches your knowledge and understanding of environmental issues. By engaging with local experts and educators, you gain insights into practical solutions and actions that can make a positive impact on the planet. Additionally, connecting with like-minded individuals fosters a sense of community, empowers you to be an informed advocate, and inspires you to take meaningful steps towards a more sustainable and eco-conscious lifestyle.
|Find an opportunity to teach others
|Finding opportunities to teach others about sustainability, ecology, and topics that deeply resonate with you is a powerful form of climate action. By sharing your knowledge and passion, you empower individuals to make informed choices, adopt eco-friendly practices, and become advocates for positive environmental change. Additionally, teaching others fosters a sense of fulfillment, builds a supportive community of like-minded individuals, and amplifies the collective impact of climate education, ultimately driving broader awareness and action towards a more sustainable future.
Political actions can influence policy and create systemic change. Here are some actions you can take:
- Contact your elected officials and urge them to support climate-friendly policies
- Vote for candidates who prioritize climate action
- Support organizations that advocate for climate policy and hold corporations accountable
- Sign petitions for climate and environmental justice-related issues
- Create a social media page that promotes climate actions for people in your area and talks about the politics involved
Reading List for Parents and Caregivers New to Climate Activism
- “The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming” by David Wallace-Wells: This book presents a powerful and urgent account of the consequences of climate change and its impact on our planet and civilization. It’s a wake-up call that delves into the challenges ahead and the importance of immediate action to combat the climate crisis.
- “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants” by Robin Wall Kimmerer: In this profound blend of science and storytelling, the author explores the reciprocal relationship between humans and nature, drawing on indigenous wisdom and ecological knowledge. It offers a transformative perspective on the natural world and inspires a deeper connection to the environment.
- “The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis” by Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac: Co-authored by two key architects of the Paris Climate Agreement, this book offers a hopeful and practical guide to addressing the climate crisis. It provides clear strategies for taking action at the individual and global levels, emphasizing the urgency and potential of collective efforts.
- “Restoring the Kinship Worldview: Indigenous Voices Introduce 28 Precepts for Rebalancing Life on Planet Earth,” authored by Wahinkpe Topa (Four Arrows) and Darcia Narvaez PhD, presents a collection of selected speeches from Indigenous leaders worldwide. These powerful excerpts highlight the wisdom of Indigenous worldviews, emphasizing essential precepts for human survival and the well-being of future generations. The book calls for a shift away from the dominant Western paradigm and towards an Indigenous vision that honors the sacredness of all life forms, values social purpose, and promotes interconnectedness. Rooted in a holistic orientation, this work offers a path towards a sustainable and integrated future, serving as a salve for our times and nourishment for collective growth.
- “Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming” edited by Paul Hawken: This book compiles solutions from leading scientists and researchers to tackle climate change effectively. It offers a comprehensive plan that demonstrates how we can actively reverse global warming by implementing practical and scalable solutions.
- “All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis,” edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson, shines a light on the leadership of diverse women in the climate movement. The book features the expertise and insights of women from various fields, advocating for a more inclusive and solution-oriented public conversation on the climate crisis. Intermixing essays with poetry and art, this empowering collection serves as both a balm and a guide, inspiring readers to take action and work together towards a life-giving and sustainable future. It celebrates visionary women who lead the way toward what we can save by summoning truth, courage, and innovative solutions.
- “Capitalism vs. Climate” by Naomi Klein: In this thought-provoking book, Naomi Klein examines the intersection of climate change and the current economic system. She explores how unregulated capitalism and relentless pursuit of profit contribute to environmental degradation and hinder climate action. The book urges readers to question the status quo and advocate for transformative change and gives actionable advice for doing so.
- “It’s Not That Radical: The Climate Crisis and What You Can Do” by Mikaela Loach: This book offers an accessible guide to understanding the climate crisis and actionable steps individuals can take to make a difference. With a focus on climate justice and inclusivity, the book empowers readers to address climate issues in their everyday lives and engage in meaningful activism.
- “Fresh Banana Leaves: Healing Indigenous Landscapes through Indigenous Science” by Jessica Hernandez Ph.D., a Maya Ch’orti’ and Zapotec environmental scientist is a powerful call for embracing Indigenous science to heal and restore our planet. Through case studies and personal stories, Hernandez highlights the failures of Western conservationism and advocates for land stewardship that prioritizes regeneration and respect. She emphasizes the need to stop eco-colonialism and restore harmony with the Earth, sharing the voices and experiences of Indigenous Latin American women and land protectors.
- “Half-Earth Socialism: A Plan to Save the Earth and Bring the Good Life to All” by Troy Vettese and Drew Pendergrass: In this thrilling and visionary book, Troy Vettese and Drew Pendergrass challenge the status quo of capitalism and the left, offering a radical plan to address the climate crisis and ensure a better life for all. Rejecting the idea of technological fixes, they advocate for a post-capitalist society called Half-Earth Socialism. This plan involves rewilding half the Earth to absorb carbon emissions and restore biodiversity, transitioning rapidly to renewable energy while cutting consumption, adopting global veganism to reduce energy and land use, implementing worldwide socialist planning for efficient and equitable production, and inviting participation from all, including readers. Accompanied by a climate-modelling website, the book presents a hopeful and transformative path forward—the only hope for our planet’s future.
- “The Impossible Conversation: Choosing Reconnection and Resilience at the End of Business as Usual” by Dean Walker: Embarks on a transformational journey, grappling with the shocking data and projections of Abrupt Climate Change. Through the exploration of inner skills and capacities, Walker delves into how we arrived at our current global predicaments and how we can confront them with new purpose and agency. This book challenges the notion of returning to business as usual and instead calls for profound reconnection with our deeper selves, others, and the web of life on Earth. It invites readers to engage in a soul-searching quest for genuine understanding and action in the face of our environmental and human challenges.
Climate activism is an important movement that has gained significant momentum in recent years. It is crucial for individuals to take action and do their part in mitigating the effects of climate change. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can get started with climate activism and make a positive impact on the world.
Remember, climate activism is not just about protesting or attending rallies. It is about making lifestyle changes, supporting sustainable practices, and advocating for policy changes at the local and national level.
One of the most important things you can do is educate yourself and others about the issue of climate change. Stay up-to-date with the latest news and research, and share your knowledge with those around you.
Remember that climate activism is a long-term commitment. It may take time to see the results of your efforts, but every action counts. By working together, we can create a more sustainable future for ourselves and generations to come. So, let’s go!