If you’re reading this, I take it you’ve reached the point where you no longer want to be a bystander watching the climate crisis get worse. The data is clear: we are now in a climate emergency that is the biggest threat to our planet and future generations.
You are convinced, and are now motivated to get involved in climate action, but you are not sure where to start.
Let me start by saying, “THANK YOU!” We need all hands on deck, and the fact that you are feeling galvanized to get involved at this critical crossroads to take action is significant and meaningful. You are needed!
Here are five ways you can start getting involved in climate action and make a difference.
Answer this: What is your WHY?
For this one, grab a refreshing drink, a pen and paper, and find a grounded place where you can write and brainstorm in a stream of consciousness and creativity.
“What is your WHY? Why are you getting involved in climate action now?”
Start writing your answer in free flow jotting down whatever comes to you without thinking too hard about it. Let your subconscious express itself through your pen and paper. You’ll probably be surprised and amazed in what comes up.
Answering this question is good to help you clarify your climate action intentions, but most importantly it will help you craft your personal story to share with others.
While out in the field doing that climate action thing, a common question I find I’m asked most often is, “Why are you involved in climate action?” Read my personal WHY? answer in my About page.
Writing your answer to this question is great content for you to use to help inspire others into getting involved in climate action. Use this content to write a blog post, an editorial in your local newspaper, a Facebook post, or an Instagram post that you can share with others. It’s also a script for you to tell your story on video, create some reels, shorts, and tiktoks, and share it on your social media accounts.
Your personal story is a powerful tool. We need all hands on deck right now, and your WHY, your story, could be the thing that helps inspire someone else to get involved too.
photo credit: Markus Spiske
Find an area of focus that resonates with you
The climate crisis is an intersection of multiple areas impacted by global warming. It’s a massive task at hand, and where to even begin can be an overwhelming thing.
Narrow down a couple areas that interest you and resonate with you the most, and then start looking for people, organizations, and climate action campaigns that fall in that niche.
For example, my area of interest is in food and agriculture. Watching the documentary Cowspiracy (on Netflix) inspired me to learn more about the factory farm system which was a topic that really resonated with me.
Animal activism was a potential avenue for me to go into to help educate people about the factory farm system’s impact on climate change tied into how animals are treated in our food system. I had been a healthy eating blogger in the past, and cooking and food photography have always been passions of mine, so I eventually found my lane with normalizing plant-based for climate action.
If you have multiple interests or are not clear where to begin, a good place to start is by looking at the recent 2022 IPCC Report, “Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability.” The report chapters are broken into categories which can help you find an area of interest for you like the ocean, continental interests, health, forests, water, economy, family planning, energy, transportation, and more.
On social media, start looking for the influencers, organizations, and events in your area of interest, and see what they are talking about and doing. Going to the speaker list of a climate summit or event is a great way to find influencers and experts in your area of interest.
photo credit: cottonbro
Utilize your social media accounts
I’ve found that social media is great for two things when it comes to climate action.
First, good old fashioned Googling works, but social media is the best way to find people, organizations, events, articles, videos, and resources. Twitter and Facebook in particular are good for that. Use hashtags like #climateaction, #climatecrisis, #climatechange. Instagram and Tiktok are great for inspirational content from activists, influencers, climate leaders, politicians, and community leaders.
If you've been thinking about it, now is the time to start a blog, a podcast, a YouTube channel, a TikTok account, or your own activist site like I did here.
Second, all of us have some level of influence with our circle of friends and family. On your social media accounts, start posting information, education, your thoughts, and what climate action you are doing kinda like a live diary, “dear friends, here’s what I did today to help stop the climate crisis from worsening…” and post text, photos, and/or video.
Even if you only have 10 followers, imagine you got all 10 of those people to get active in climate action. That would be huge! Those 10 people have influence in their circles, and so on and so on.
One of my favorite mantras is, “doing one thing even if it’s small is better than doing zero.” Also remember that every person (unless they’re already a celebrity or famous) who has a big platform of followers started on day 1 with very few followers. I have 49K followers on Twitter but on day one I started with 5 of my friends so we could follow each other.
What’s great about starting to utilize your social media accounts is that you can be actively doing climate action work from the comfort of your couch, kitchen table, or bed. For my fellow introverts, social media activity gives us the ability to be active without doing too much peopling.
Take your WHY? writing content, and start posting that to your social media accounts. A reminder that sharing your personal story can have powerful impact in inspiring others to get involved in climate action.
VOTE and champion your circles to vote
Yes, I know for many, myself included, politics can be a sore or polarizing subject especially in this current political atmosphere where climate misinformation and denialism is too abundant. But hear me out.
One of the biggest roadblocks to getting any kind of meaningful climate action policy enacted is our political leadership, many of whom are doing the bidding of corporate donors who donate large sums of money to their campaigns.
Because we do not have 10 or 20 years left to spare, voting in this upcoming 2022 midterms from the local to federal level is going to be crucial. We need to vote out any climate change deniers, and vote in as many climate leaders as possible who do not take campaign contributions from corporate interests that continue to worsen the climate crisis, namely Big Fossil Fuels.
Find out the climate action plan of the candidates running for office in your city, county, and state. Volunteer some time to phonebank, canvass, or table to help elect climate leaders into office. Use your social media to help get those candidates elected. Encourage your friends, family, and community to register and vote in November. Every vote matters!
Host a “Farm to Friends for Climate Action” food party
Climate action can be fun too! I believe the place where we have the most influence on others is in our circle of family, friends and neighbors.
Hosting a “Farm to Friends for Climate Action” food party is a great way to gather a small group of your people in your home for a delicious plant-rich meal, and then discuss what climate change is and what’s happening, and then begin making action plans with each other.
To sum up
Those are just 5 ways you can start getting involved in climate action and make a difference, and indeed there are many more options to help you get started.
Climate action is anything that helps reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, and there are lots of different ways you can get involved, and help inspire others to get involved as well. Look into local organizations focused on climate action, and also look at national and global organizations which have local chapters as well such as:
Sunrise Movement (for millennials and younger)
Earthjustice (law focused)
C40 Cities (city level organizing)
Climate Action Network - CAN
Here's a list of two dozen more climate action organizations
*The Climate Reality Project hosts training programs to train climate action leaders. Here's info on their training program. I did the training in 2021 which was on Zoom because of the pandemic, but it was a great way to meet other people from all over the world who are also concerned about the climate crisis and are motivated to act like you are.
Take things one step at a time and do the best that you can. Strive for progress not perfection. Before you know it, you'll be making a real impact on climate change!