So you want to do something about the climate emergency...
But what? And how?
We are in a climate emergency. And you were born at just the right moment to help change everything.
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I’ve missed you. I’ve been working the past three months on getting Currently into a more stable place, including transitioning us into becoming the world’s first member-owned weather service. More on that soon. We now have daily weather newsletters for 15 cities and counting, and I write a daily column about the top weather and climate story in the world that day.
The Phoenix and this community of climate revolutionaries is where I started building something that is uniquely me, and this place is the extension of the ideas in my book about how we are so much closer to a revolutionary climate movement than we might think.
The news right now is dire. It’s clearer than ever that we are in a climate emergency, and there are more people than ever who want to be a part of a climate revolution — and maybe even some of you (myself included, honestly) have been feeling renewed energy to step up how you show up in the world.
We can meet this moment together.
Twitter sucks now, but there are still good conversations happening there. I saw this thread from Dr. Charlie Gardner and asked him if I could repost it here, because it was one of the most beautiful and comprehensive and loving approaches to meeting climate anxiety with grace — in the context of joining hands to break shit quickly and demand a better world — that I’ve ever seen.
So enjoy, share it with a friend. And keep it up. You’re doing amazing.
Do you guys ever think about the fact that the climate emergency is accelerating and that all this talk about carbon footprints and recycling is distracting from the fact that a few rich men just want to get richer and don't care if we all die in the process?
— Eric Holthaus (@EricHolthaus)
Jul 31, 2023
How to be a climate revolutionary in 5 steps — A Thread by Dr. Charlie Gardner
(republished here with permission because Twitter sucks now)
1/ You’ve seen the fires
You seen the floods
You’ve read the news reports
And now you want to do something about it
But what? And how?
A (longish) thread
2/ First of all, welcome!
Whatever gifts or talents you bring, we need them in the climate movement and will put them to good use
We have been waiting for you, and we need you, so welcome aboard
3/ Also, well done!
Facing up to this is hard, and takes courage. Even thinking about taking action is a courageous first step, and you've done it!
So give yourself a small (maybe medium) pat on the back
4/ Let's start by jumping some of the barriers that hold us back
First, it's never too late to start - no matter what you have or haven't done up till now, it's what you do from now on that matters
So don’t worry about being late to the party, just get ready to dance till dawn
5/ Second, you don't need to know everything or be able to answer every question
We don't all need to be scientists, and you have your own knowledge and experience. You know enough to be concerned, and that's plenty
6/ Third, there is no purity standard to meet
I don't hugely care if you aren't vegan and still fly sometimes. What's important is that you take the action you're able to
We all have a footprint, don't let that hold you back (but more on this later)
7/ Ok so now that we're confident and ready to roll, what can we actually do?
As I see it, there are five main things we could and should all be getting on with
4⃣ building better alternatives, and
5⃣ looking after ourselves
8/ We need to reach social tipping points so leaders have no choice but the take the required action - and that means putting the climate and ecological emergency on everyone's lips
So 1⃣ communicate. Take every opportunity to talk about it, to whoever you can
9/ I don’t mean full-on deniers – forget them, they can’t be reached
But between the activists (<1%) and the deniers (<1%), there’s a full 98% of the population who know it’s happening but aren't doing enough about it
They are the ones we have to motivate and mobilise
10/ We're conditioned to not talk about it - nobody wants to bring down a social occasion or annoy their friends with piety, but we just have to get over these taboos and social norms
It's hard, and makes us uncomfortable, but this is an emergency
11/ It's important because person-to-person is the most potent form of communication there is
People can easily dismiss something on the TV or Facebook as unimportant, but you are a real person that they respect or love. They might listen to you
12/ So talk, but don't focus only on scientific or technical arguments - 420 ppm, 1.5C and other such concepts are abstract and difficult to comprehend.
They don’t feel real, and they don’t get through on a meaningful level
13/ In any case our rational brains aren't even the key player here - our emotions are
@GretaThunberg showed us this. Decades of technical arguments by scientists didn't break through, but when Greta started speaking in emotive language, people started listening
14/ We know the facts. What we don’t see is the fear, the grief, the emotional devastation
But they are hugely powerful and persuasive, so use them. ‘Weaponise’ them
Rage and injustice too – they help turn anguish into motivation to act
15/ We’ve spoken from the head and been ignored, so speak from the heart a bit more
But we also need to be clever with our communication, as we're competing with a lot of other stuff out there
So think about your audience, and craft your messages
16/ Many people might not think they care about climate change, but they do care about some of its impacts
If they're into justice, focus on justice. If they garden, talk about plants
Sports, business... this changes everything, and there's an angle for everyone
17/ And don't just focus on the risks and dangers
Climate justice means creating a better world - it will be cleaner, healthier, fairer and richer
Focusing on opportunities, rather than just challenges, may be more motivating for some
18/ So talk, talk, and talk some more - to friends, colleagues, the lady at the bus stop...
But also make opportunities to reach beyond your circle - get yourself in the local paper, or on the radio
Do something to get noticed, then let rip. Or if you have a platform, use it
19/ Talk to your political representatives too, loudly and often. Show them what their constituents care about
(but then you already knew that)
20/ The next thing is 2⃣ push for change in your circles of influence
Climate change changes everything, so everything must change – your schools, businesses, sports clubs, all of it!
But change doesn't just happen - someone needs to make it happen, and that's you
21/ So push for change, but remember our strategic messaging - don't focus on climate, but the advantages to be had from the transition
Every organisation has to adapt to a post-carbon world, and those who do so quickest will have a great advantage
Make the 'business case'
22/ The world is changing fast, so don't let your organisations be left behind!
Don’t let them be the delivery company who stuck with horses because they thought those new-fangled automobiles were too expensive
23/ Ok so you’re talking to everyone, and pushing for change where you have influence. What next?
3⃣ Get active, and join a group!
Link up with others - there is power in numbers, and you'll feel good to be one of many
24/There's a huge range of groups, from traditional campaigning ones to those who engage in non-violent direct action
They work in different ways and have different views of how to make change happen
So find one that feels right for you
25/ Personally I believe in civil disobedience, the symbolic refusal to behave and just let it happen to us
We've been campaigning politely for decades and been easy to ignore. It's beyond time to step it up
So I do stuff with @ExtinctionR
26/ If there's no group in your town, set one up!
I started my local group @xrkingslynn and we've since done great things
Literally all it took was setting up a Facebook page and calling a meeting
27/ I know NVDA seems scary, especially if you only ever see it on the news
But getting involved doesn’t have to mean getting arrested!
Most people in the air force aren't pilots, and most people in XR haven’t blocked a road
28/ Whatever your skills, you can safely put them to good use
If you're creative, make artworks
If you're caring, join a wellbeing group
If you write, write press releases
29/ Also, much direct action doesn’t risk arrest – think of it as performance art
You can get arrested for breaking the windows of Britain's dirtiest bank, but I don't think you can for cleaning them. So get creative!
30/ And let’s not limit our civil disobedience to the streets either
Refusing to take that unnecessary work flight, or join in with activities that normalise wastefulness, is disobedience too!
31/ Ok you can take a break if you like, that’s a lot already!
But actually we’re nearly there and my fourth theme is really short because I don’t know much about it
32/ Opposing everything wrong is great and all, but it’s not enough. We also need to 4⃣ develop and support better alternatives
Better ways to govern, better ways to grow food, better ways to trade and meet public needs...
There are people doing this all over
33/ So find, support and join them
They are countercultural now, but with or without collapse our mainstream ways of doing things are on the way out, and we’ll need better ways in the new world we build
34/ You'll notice that one thing I haven't discussed much so far is reducing our personal carbon footprints
And not just because that's what most articles and blogs seem to focus on exclusively
35/ Doing so is important
It helps us feel better, and it makes us much more legitimate and effective activists - our messages carry greater weight if we also walk the walk
36/ This is particularly important for people with high-carbon lifestyles, like frequent flyers. It's why I gave up my job leading tours to Madagascar
But not everyone can afford only organic food or do without a car, so don't let that hold you back
37/ Some fear being labelled a hypocrite, but own the label
It's not possible to exist in the modern world without having a negative impact, and they are not arguing in good faith
They'll use any excuse to discredit you, so ignore them
38/ But most importantly, forgive yourself over it
Don't give yourself a hard time over your inability to eliminate your impacts
Don't let ‘micro-consumerist bollocks’ (@GeorgeMonbiot) distract you from bigger battles
39/ Which brings us to 5⃣ - the importance of self care
Unlike many 'campaigns', the struggle for climate justice will never be won. There's no end point at which we can relax
So we're in this for the long haul, and must take care of ourselves. Burn out is a real problem
40/ So make time to switch off, to unwind, to just think and feel
Go for a walk, get out in nature, have fun, do what you love
Just leave your phone behind!
41/ Actually one of the things I love most about Extinction Rebellion is our emphasis on wellbeing as part of our regenerative culture
42/ That’s pretty much me done I think. For now at least
I'm not a veteran activist, I'm no scholar of social change and I'm not a psychologist, so I hope none of what I’ve said is bad advice
And I hope it has been useful for some of you
43/ Thanks for sticking with me!
May you feel emboldened, and take inspiration from the great man @mackab
🎶I might not change the world with my views, but I might just light a fuse 🎶