On March 15th, an estimated 1.6 million students, in over 120 countries, left school to take part in a global movement for climate action. They were inspired by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, a Swedish activist who started the first school strike for climate outside the Swedish Parliament building in August 2018. Across 2,233 cities, the students were joining a global movement which is gaining momentum at a rapid pace, partly driven by the publication of terrifying data about the possible effects climate change will have on our planet. If, like us, you’re inspired by Greta and all the other incredible environmental activists around the world, here are our tips on how to get involved and join the climate revolution.
March for the planet
Perhaps the most direct, most impactful form of activism is the noble, ancient art of The Protest. When you’re surrounded by the voices and (hilarious) signs of like-minded citizens, it’s hard to not get swept up in the atmosphere – and it’s even harder to ignore the power of the people when thousands are lining the streets, all marching against the same issue. The UK is currently brimming with protest momentum, inspired by the student climate protests held around the world during March. Even some of the UK’s leading arts organisations, including Shakespeare’s Globe, are planning to raise awareness of climate action throughout April. You can find a calendar of most of the major climate protests here, and Facebook is another great resource to find local smaller events. You can also volunteer with groups such as Greenpeace, or even with more radical movements such as Extinction Rebellion (XR), who are planning a two-week stint of non-violent civil disobedience from April 15th. But if you’re joining a protest, remember to put your safety first; you can find some Amnesty International approved tips on all aspects of protesting here.
Make parliament work for you
There’s more to the democratic process than just voting. MP’s are there to represent the voices of their constituents in parliament, and lobbying is great way to make sure they are talking about the issues that concern you. Write, call, attend a surgery at their constituency office; tweet them, facebook them, maybe even send them a snapchat – they work for you! You can find out the details of your local MP at parliament.uk. If you’re not getting far with your local representative, you can also contact any of the MPs who are part of the current parliamentary action group on climate change, or even find specific MPs who have tabled motions on climate action in parliament.
Although sometimes it’s hard to remember that the internet can be useful for something other than cat memes, digital action can be just as effective as other, more traditional forms of activism. There are hundreds of online communities dedicated to raising awareness, and social media is a great resource for education, knowledge sharing and spreading the word. Some of our favourite online accounts dedicated to climate action include @dothegreenthing and @everydayclimatechange (and of course @ecoage!), and bigger platforms such as National Geographic have incredible resources and educational content. Use that like button for good.
Change in your community
Tackling climate change in your own community is just as important as wide-scale action. Ask at your local council office for any current initiatives, join a community farm, start a recycling scheme. Community centres often have opportunities to help out, and you could also find out what local businesses are doing to reduce their impact, whether through waste management or food sourcing. Consider becoming the Leslie Knope of your area and get involved!
Protest with your wallet
To pretty much no one’s surprise, there is a chance your bank could be investing in fossil fuel companies. Consider divesting from the big guys and moving your money to an ethical current account. The Ethical Consumer has already done the hard work and compiled a list of ethical current accounts, such as the Cooperative, Monzo, and Smile. There are also loads of resources available for responsible investing. The ethical bank Triodos has launched triodoscrowdfunding.co.uk, an investment website that allows you to invest directly in bonds that have been screened by Triodos in terms of their social and environmental impact. You can also take a look at the Climate Change projects on crowdfunding platform chuffed.org, which includes funding for scientists working on climate change issues and legal funds for communities fighting corporations.
Every little helps
If you’re not quite ready to march in the streets, you can also make small, important changes in your own home. Even seemingly inconsequential actions can have a positive impact. Browse eco-age.com for hundreds of tips on how add environmentally friendly behaviors in to your day-to-day routine. Switch your search engine to Ecosia to help plant trees, and consider carbon offsetting your travel emissions. Annoy your friends and family with facts and figures. Consider the impact your wardrobe is having on the planet – it’s the only one we have.