Choose the right climate group for you

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Written by Alison Page

Think about your personality and working style when you begin searching for climate groups!

Who do you want to work with? Consider what types of people you want to work with. Do you prefer to work with people the same age, religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, or do you have no preference? There are plenty of groups that create a space specifically for young people, elders, mothers, scientists, BIPOC, Buddhists, etc. There are also groups that are open to all. Check out some options here.

How do you like to spend your time? Consider how you like to spend your time so you can choose a group and pick up responsibilities that are fun and enjoyable for you. What do you enjoy doing in your free time? Do you like making art, following politics, writing, or meditating? There are groups like Awakening for Earth that sit quietly in meditation while other groups like do lots of lobbying and political work. If your passion lies with animals and wildlife, there are groups that focus on protecting biodiversity and animal rights.

What kind of tactics and strategy do you think will work best? Some activists believe nonviolent direct action (NVDA) is our best shot at creating the system change needed in the short amount of time we have left, while other groups focus on lobbying, getting out the vote, and working with politicians. Think about which strategy you believe will be most effective. 

What level of risk are you willing to take? It’s important to consider the level of risk you are willing and able to take. We need to push out of our comfort zones as activists, but it’s important that we feel relatively comfortable and are not betraying our core values. At first, you might want to start with a lower-risk group and move to higher-risk group that utilizes NVDA if and when the time is right.

More people from all walks of life are deciding to risk arrest in order to draw attention to the climate and ecological crises and pressure decision-makers to take action and pass policy that aligns with maintaining a habitable Earth, but this is not for everyone. Consider whether you are comfortable being in a group that breaks the law. 

Are you an introvert or an extrovert? It’s important to consider the ‘vibe’ of the group and your temperament when choosing a group. Some groups are better for extroverts who enjoy crowds and disruption, while other groups are better suited for introverts who prefer casual digital involvement, emailing key people from home, and small online or in-person gatherings. There are also groups that present as more ‘extroverted,’ like Extinction Rebellion, but have opportunities for people who prefer more quiet or solitary activities like art and writing. 

Check out this quiz by Yale Climate Connections, “What can YOU do about climate change? Take this quiz to find out”

And if you don’t want to or can’t join a group, you can always take action from home with more ideas from the Become a Climate Activist website.

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