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  • So you want to do something about the climate emergency...

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.

Supporting The Phoenix supports independent climate journalism at a critical moment in history.

Today's art for The Phoenix was created by Laila Arêde.

Hi everyone.

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.

More soon,


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

You’re scared

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

1⃣ communicating

2⃣ influencing

3⃣ activism

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 🎶