Search below for resources covering the intersection of climate engagement, social science and data analytics.
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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Digital petitions are a mostly-outdated tactic now.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.
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.
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.
Planned Parenthood’s National Volunteer Program grew in size, scope, and influence from the summer to the end of the year in 2022. It did so by focusing on investing in and developing volunteers into leaders to keep momentum going around winning back abortion access. Here are some key strategies NVP used: Hosting weekly mobilization calls to welcome all volunteers into NVP and ensure people are getting plugged into immediate actions in less than 24 hours of event attendance; Volunteers self-selecting into text banking, phone banking, social media, community mobilization, and/or storytelling—each team has a weekly team call with multiple opportunities for volunteers to step up to be coaches for newer team members; Peer-to-peer texting keeps people plugged into opportunities within each team and is a primary source of information for volunteers; Running large Zoom calls for all volunteers to help deepen their understanding about abortion stigma, get skills-based training to become better storytellers or host teach-ins on their own, learn how to lobby, and participate in phone banks that support states at the local level to stop anti-abortion legislation; Having volunteers lead calls, facilitate meetings, speak out about their own experiences, and have a sense of ownership over the success of their teams; Organizer staffing and team management: Ensure there is a staffing team that can support your scaling volunteer program. An organizer is an essential part of a scalable snowflake model, and on average one organizer can manage 10-20 volunteer leaders, a volunteer leader can coordinate with an average of 5 volunteers, which can result in one organizer supporting a volunteer team size of 50-100 volunteers.
Solving complex social problems offers unique challenges—here are lessons from “social-change makers” for fellow leaders. First, a critical step to build trust is to center the voices and perspectives of those most affected by inequitable systems themselves. Second, given constraints in human capacity, consider experimenting by hiring differently, deploying talent differently, and surrounding yourself with people who think differently than you. Third, measure your impact—use principles that center equity and learning, track the state of the field’s development, monitor your progress, and don’t forget the health of your own organization. Fourth, be sure to find balance between long-term visioning and planning and short-term action.
Even with modest beginnings, “systems-change organizations” seek world-changing outcomes. But solving complex social problems is uniquely challenging. This resource surveyed “field catalysts” aiming for systems change across a variety of issues, including health equity, gender-based violence, climate change, and education. It found that their work could be accelerated with the right support from funders. Because these organizations consistently punch far above their weight, 87% of field catalysts believe they would achieve their systems-change goals within just two decades if provided the necessary resources and consistent support. This resource also profiles some organizations, including IllumiNative, Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator, South African National AIDS Council, Community Solutions, Health Care Without Harm, Movement for Black Lives, Families and Workers Fund, and more.
Organizing the climate crisis’ most disproportionately impacted communities is the missing ingredient to build power required to address the climate crisis. In order to meet the climate crisis and transform our society, we must scale up grassroots organizing. Organizations affiliated with the Center for Popular Democracy that are now leading some of the strongest climate justice organizing in the country include the Green New Deal Network, New York Communities for Change, Make the Road PA, One PA, CASA, the PA statewide climate table, and Florida Rising, and others. This report profiles the work of those groups and others organizing working-class communities of color into the climate movement. Organizing must be: 1) community-led and focus on issues that have tangible impacts for Black, Indigenous, Latiné, and low-income people, 2) rooted in a framework that challenges racial capitalism, and 3) intersect with other issues impacting frontline communities.
Presented by A Bookkeeping Cooperative and AORTA, Speculative Budgeting: Resource Management For Our Futures asks us to reimagine budgeting using speculative fiction practices. This presentation slidedeck broadens how we understand budgets as a way to manage resources to meet our visions and dreams. Using joy and visioning activities, we reinvigorate the budgeting process, a process that has typically felt stressful, oppressive, and limiting into a process centered on imagination and creativity.