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The emerging picture of the most-often cited challenges grassroots groups are facing currently includes: 1) Help with building intersectional narratives and coalitions to link struggles together; 2) Activist safety & security in repressive environments; 3) Maintaining activist engagement and working together efficiently in groups; 4) How to secure funding for grassroots organizing and how to report impact; 5) How to build effective strategy within non-hierarchical structures; 6) Managing burnout among activist communities & collective care. The Global Grassroots Support Network is a collection of 84 seasoned grassroots organizers, campaigners, coaches and more. The Network supports struggles for climate justice, reproductive justice, LGBTQIAS+ rights, housing justice and workers’ rights. These members currently come from: Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Kenya, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Spain, Tanzania, Turkey, Uganda, the U.S., UK and Zimbabwe. If you’re excited by the mission of supporting grassroots justice-oriented activists, the Network has lots of room for new members and you can commit the amount of time that is accessible to you, and the input that supports your mission.
Digital petitions are a mostly-outdated tactic now. Both our politics and our media environment have moved in directions that render them less useful. Where petitioning used to be the central tactic in a digital campaigner’s toolbox, the Trump years saw a rebirth of collective, place-based mobilization. They were years of record-setting marches and participatory local-level civic engagement. Plus we’ve seen a renaissance in union organizing these past few years. But still, the relevance of petitions has diminished—related to the pervasive sense that government officials no longer behave as though listening to and representing citizens is a core part of the job. And it’s a reminder that most of our digital behavior is downstream of a small handful of quasi-monopolistic companies. If American Democracy is going to make it through the next decade, we are going to need better elites. I suspect, if that happens, we will happen to see digital petitions make a comeback. In the meantime, campaigners will do the best with the tools they have available—they’ll develop tactical repertoires that fit the changing media environment and respond to the political opportunity structure.
Americans who experience climate distress are more likely to take personal action on climate change. Americans who had experienced at least one feature of climate distress were much more likely than those who had not to say they had taken different forms of climate action. This includes having signed a petition about global warming (46% vs. 10%, respectively), or having volunteered at an organization working on global warming (19% vs. 2%). Americans who experienced at least one feature of climate distress were more likely than those who had not to say they would meet with an elected official or their staff about global warming (41% vs. 20%, respectively), write letters, email, or phone government officials about global warming (40% vs. 21%), or personally engage in non-violent civil disobedience (e.g., sit-ins, blockades, or trespassing) against corporate or government activities that make global warming worse (35% vs. 9%).
These are the skills that leaders need to develop in order to build resilient organizations. Humility: A culture of humility lowers everyone’s blood pressure, providing the key foundation for people to be able to work through their differences together. Self-discipline: Self-discipline builds power at scale. Imposed discipline occasionally has its place (firings, etc.), but anything held together only through imposed discipline will be a lot smaller, more fragile, and less powerful than an adaptable, decentralized organization with self-disciplined leaders. To create self-disciplined leaders, we emphasize the skills of simplicity, habits, and joy. Love: It’s valuing people for who they are, seeing the best in them, and figuring out how to integrate people together into mutually beneficial relationships.
Choose Both is a collection of movement builders, supporters, and mobilizers helping partners realize a more open, just, and habitable world. They believe that pursuing equity for marginalized folks is the only way to get there. They work with storytellers, campaigners, designers, and more transforming the way that organizations and initiatives take on racial equity as an impact priority. Choose Both identified 5 key decision-points where these partners can choose both equity and evidence to strengthen their impact. First, choose goals that both capture new visions and meet existing needs. Second, choose storytelling that’s both emotional and technical. Third, choose to reach both loyal audiences and new communities. Fourth, choose to both consider data and challenge bias. Fifth, choose reporting that both inspires your own community and accounts for others.
Join Kentuckians for the Commonwealth to learn more about their deep canvassing efforts, lessons learned, and best practices from their on-the-ground experience. During this webinar, participants will hear from the folks involved about how deep canvassing can be a powerful tool for bringing new people into the climate justice movement as well as how learnings might be applied to other climate deep canvass and relational conversation programs across the country.
Like many of you, the Lab team has been exploring how we can best support the climate movement at this critical moment, with nearly a trillion dollars on the table to reshape the climate and energy landscape following the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), and CHIPS & Science Act. Simultaneously, we know communities across the country continue to suffer from the impacts and fight build-out of the extractive, polluting fossil fuel industry – including many of my neighbors across the Southeast, calling on President Biden to oppose the Mountain Valley Pipeline.
Stronger movements will come from continuous joyful acts of building community and the strategic investment in collective leadership towards a bright, just future for many generations to come. This report calls on others in the movement to learn, work together, be proactive, find connection and safety, and uplift hope. This report’s #WeChooseNow Climate Action Strategy convened over 150 frontline and allied leaders for community power building sessions across the Gulf South and Appalachia to affirm a path forward in repairing generational harms of environmental racism through collective governance to protect what is sacred and help our communities thrive. This report’s organizing strategy guide includes advice on relational and capacity building, funding, communication tools, safety and security, and policy and project support. Specifically, this organizing strategy will include a frontline organizing retreat, a leadership activation fellowship, a communication toolkit, a resource exchange portal, and frontline aligned funding.
Asian Americans have long been excluded from the national climate movement, activists and scientists told Axios. Asian Americans across the country are working to change that legacy of omission by leading climate organizations, protests and research. Climate justice activist Alexia Leclercq, who is Taiwanese with Indigenous ancestry, tells Axios that growing up in Texas, "upper class, white, mostly men" were always depicted as scientists or environmentalists. Although representation has "somewhat improved," Leclercq says the larger Asian American community is still "not included" in leadership within these spaces.
The climate movement has recently tried more disruptive direct action tactics. Some of these include protests by the group Just Stop Oil throwing soup in famous art and the movie How to Blow Up a Pipeline. Sociologist Dana R. Fisher argues that these tactics generally can have the effect of mobilizing more people to join movements (not persuading people in the middle. Further, more research is needed to understand the various political effects of direct action tactics. The intensifying effects of the climate crisis have grown the climate movement, and its focus has changed to more material effects on people’s lives. A diversity of tactics is necessary for movements to create lasting change. Rose Abramoff, a climate scientist, protested lack of climate action and eventually lost her research job because of it. Ilana Cohen, cofounder of Fossil Free Research and leader of Divest Harvard, helped push Harvard to divest from fossil fuel investments. Cohen argue that persistently organizing with creative tactics helped the campaign win.