Climate change affects all living beings. Take action today to help mitigate climate disasters. Action for change can take a wide variety of forms, from beginning to think and learn about an issue, to participating in or organizing discussions in person or through social media, to exerting pressure through public discussion and demonstration, pressuring legislators, and taking direct action.
What sort of action are you prepared to take now? How might you begin?
Actions you can take today:
Educate Yourself & Others
Host a Screening
Gather a group of friends and host a screening of these feature films on climate justice:
“NECESSITY Part 1: Oil, Water & Climate Resistance” (Access)
“NECESSITY Part 2: Rails, Rivers & the Thin Green Line” (Trailer)
Use the Screening Guide as a resource to facilitate discussion post-screening. Complete the Post Screening Survey, to provide important feedback to the filmmakers. After watching the film, list anything that inspired you, answered a question, or suprised/made you angry. Choose 1-3 items and follow up on them. Research and suggest possible actions that could make a difference.
Further information about the Necessity project, our impact campaign, the filmmakers, partners & supporters, Spotlight Stories and news, can be found in the menu on our website.
Join a Group or Support an Organization
Support the organizations that do the work by donating time, money or resources, and stay informed on their activities by following them on social media or subscribing to their newsletters. You can also create your own groups by working locally in your union, neighborhood, school, community of worship, or professional organization to support climate justice. Share with interested friends and colleagues. Donations in honor of someone make great gifts. These organizations are great resources for more information: Honor the Earth, StopLine3, Mazaka Talks, Portland Rising Tide, Climate Justice Alliance, Fire Drill Fridays. Sign up for their email and digital alerts to stay up to date. More information can be found on our Resource page (coming soon).
Support Frontline Communities
Frontline communities are those that experience the "first and worst" consequences of climate change. It’s hard to overstate the importance of frontline community defense movements to the global fight against climate change: “Indigenous resistance to pipelines and other fossil fuel projects has saved the U.S. and Canada 12 percent of their annual emissions, or 0.8 billion tons of CO2 per year.” - Science Friday
These communities create pressure that makes it increasingly difficult for fossil fuel companies and forest destroyers to operate.
Tribal communities point out the multifaceted ways that pipeline projects threaten their health and safety, but these concerns are rarely heard by politicians and corporations. Native American women and girls are statistically (percentage/per capita) more likely to go missing or to be murdered than any other racial group in the United States. Much of the pipeline work is done near Native American communities and reservations, which has lead to increased violence against Native women and girls and increased concern over Covid-19 transmission.
“Alberta’s oil patch is the dirtiest of the dirtiest- there’s no need for this crude, and no place for it on a planet serious about the climate crisis… you can’t build your retirement on tar sands.” - Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org.
More information can be found on our Resource page (coming soon).
Make Media Count
Utilize Social Media
Social media can be a useful platform for creating and sustaining positive social change:
Hashtag movements such as #ClimateStrike can have rippling effects as we’ve seen throughout the corona virus pandemic years, and up to the climate talks of COP26 in Glasgow. Social media, when used alongside grassroots organizing, can be a catalyst for activism. When your friends and family see you posting about a cause, donations, or simple actions, they’re more likely to participate as you are part of their personal social network. If you encourage them to also post on social media, that network expands exponentially.
Many climate action groups use social media so be sure to follow them and share what they’re doing with interested friends and colleagues. Be sure to use hashtags like #climatechange, #climatecrisis, #indigenousrights, #necessity.
Follow the NECESSITY film project here. Share information about the films, spotlight news, reviews, pipeline resistance, maps, direct action and fundraising events. Tag us @necessitythemovie on Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook.
Hold Policy Makers Accountable
Write letters to political decision makers, letters to the editor, or op-eds to share what you’ve learned. Guides for writing Opinion Editorials and Letters to the Editor can be found at Climate Nexus and Union of Concerned Scientist.
Provide public testimony on impending policy decisions about which you are knowledgeable, and work with groups who track and work to influence these regulations, rulings, and law.
Organize and take a stance on climate justice, bring your statement and march your group to your policymaker’s office to share your concerns and ask for a statement of what they WILL DO to address injustices while in office.
Support Environmental Justice Media
Follow environmental justice groups like, Indigenous Rising Media, the media arm of Indigenous Environmental Network. The Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) is an alliance of Indigenous Peoples with a shared mission to protect the sacred, and respect and adhere to Indigenous Knowledge and Natural Law.
Share information about the films, spotlight news, reviews, pipeline resistance, direct actions with interested members of the media community through letters to the editor, articles, news outlets, etc. Write an article about your critical climate concerns, possible solutions, and their controversies. For more information on independent environmental media access our Resource page (coming soon).
“...The commodification of Mother Earth and Father Sky severs our relationship to the sacredness of the Earth and all her teachings. We must protect her and stop the continued colonization that is killing Indigenous communities.”
- Indigenous Rising Media Facebook Posting Nov 04, 2021
Youth as Leaders in Climate Justice
Climate change impacts everyone, and as the impacts intensify with each passing year, more and more young people are joining the movement for positive change. By leading the discussion around climate change, they are also spreading awareness and motivating others to take action. During the outbreak of the coronavirus, many schools around the world were closed, yet children and young people still managed to make their voices heard through the youth climate movement #ClimateStrikeOnline with the safety of others in mind. As schools reopen with precautionary practices in place, youth have an even greater opportunity to take climate action now. Even in a time of crisis, we can work together to create a better world.
“Become the architect of your own life. … Sow a seed and in the future it will give you a tree with many fruits. This is not only an individual benefit but a collective one."
- Karen Velázquez, youth activist, Voices of Youth, digital community for global youth for climate action hosted by Unicef
Action Is Necessary
There are many ways that YOUTH can show support for climate action, for example:
Learn something new about climate change online. Education is one of the most valuable resources to become effective agents of change in the climate crisis. Talk to your parents and grandparents about climate change. This toolkit, created by young people and UNICEF Latin America, is a great resource to learn and act.
Request your teachers to include the NECESSITY series films as part of a climate justice curriculum. Available to educators during its educational impact campaign partner Zinn Education Project, classroom screenings and accompanying curriculum supports active student engagement, including direct feedback to the filmmakers through an online survey form. Keep track of the people described and profiled. Focus on the facts, who, what, and the motivations of each person/group. K-12 Teachers can access the films here.
Hold a mock trial using the ‘necessity defense’ on your campus.
Build your own campaign. You can also use instruments like chatbot by U-Report to learn how to build your own campaigns, reduce your carbon footprint and test your climate knowledge by taking part in the quiz.
Sponsor an art project that expresses actions you consider important to your future and display it in a location where it can be seen by many people. Write a rap or poem to share with your class, student group, or parent meeting. Make your own film about climate justice.
Host a live stream on social media with other young activists, or hold an assembly on the issues of climate change led by student activists.
Write your congressional representative, or invite them to an assembly at your school to listen to student concerns about their future.
Climate change lessons are available to help younger siblings or relatives understand the urgency of climate action, download and use this lesson that will get them talking about the environmental changes they’ve noticed happening in their communities.
Write your own climate story, include your solutions to address the climate crisis, and share it with others. Submit a story to the school newspaper or magazine.
Youth just like you have chosen to get involved, and have taken action in many of these ways. Using your voice now can influence the world you will live in the future.
Now that you've become more familiar with the issues of climate change, in a climate emergency, is civil disobedience a necessity?
Mobilize For Direct Action
Support Fossil Fuel Divestment
“The science is clear — we need to stop burning fossil fuels and start investing aggressively in a transition to community-powered renewable energy... But the fossil fuel corporations, and the elected leaders beholden to them, aren’t moving fast enough. It will take a sustained movement of millions of people to win the transformative change we need.” - Fire Drill Fridays
Fossil Fuel Divestment is a movement for large corporations, religious institutions, and universities to divest their stocks and bonds from fossil fuel companies. This campaign has been successful: "Since its inception in 2012, 350 institutions and local governments alongside thousands of individuals representing over $1.5 trillion in assets have pledged to divest from fossil fuels," according to 350.org. Write to companies, your bank, and University to demand they begin divesting from fossil fuels, and begin investing in sustainable energy. Check out GoFossilFree for more information.
Get Trained in Nonviolent Civil Disobedience
Attend a direct-action training in the appropriate use of nonviolent civil disobedience actions to keep interactions with law enforcement peaceful and that will allow for the use of the necessity defense in court cases regarding climate justice. Resistance to fossil fuels requires a thoughtful approach to civil disobedience. Non-violent acts that can be seen as illegal, when correctly performed, can become a platform to use the defense in court. Organizations that support the use of the necessity defense for civil disobedience in climate justice: Climate Defense Project, Climate Disobedience Center, and the Civil Liberties Defense Center (OR). Training programs such as CLDC’s Know Your Rights (KYR) training, and Portland’s Rising Tide’s Non-violent Direct Action Trainings.
Allies vs Accomplices
Information courtesy of Portland Rising Tide:
“All accomplices are allies, but not all allies are accomplices. While an ally is willing to stand in support of a marginalized voice, risk is rarely involved. An accomplice uses the power and privilege they have to challenge the status quo, often risking their physical and social well-being in the process.”
Direct Action Levels of Risk/Arrestibility:
Highest risk: locking down, direct support
Medium-high risk: direct support, police liaison, soft blockade
Medium risk: walking on, swarming, soft blockade
Lower risk: staying on public roadways, holding signs
Affinity groups are built upon trust, typically comprised of 2-15 people, make decisions collectively, can act flexibly, hold each other accountable, can collaborate with out affinity groups.
Decentralization was the key to the success of last years protests. Don’t let anyone tell you our movements need centralized leadership.
“We can handle one 10,000-person protest, but then 1000-person protests throughout the city overwhelm us.” – LAPD Chief Michel Moore