Down The Rabbit Hole Minisode 1: How to Get Involved In Climate Action

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Down the Rabbit Hole is our new miniseries dedicated to the deep dives, side trails, and themes that don’t quite fit into our normal episodes. This week we’re following up the excitement and exhaustion of Earth Day with an episode on how to get involved in climate action. We share our successes and failures, creative ways you can get involved, our criteria for assessing an existing climate action group, and how to support action even when you’re short on time and money.

While it’s great to have more eyes on climate work during Earth Week, so much of sustaining a climate movement and fighting for climate justice happens every day.

We know it can also be hard to find an “in,” so hopefully this minisode can help you find something that speaks to you.

We tried to cover:

  • different age groups
  • different personality types
  • different limitations due to the pandemic
  • social media users / non-online action items

To be clear, you will probably never feel like you know enough or are doing enough. That’s part of what you have to accept coming into the climate movement, or any movement really.

This graphic is a helpful way to evaluate where you’re doing well and where you have room to improve:

Graphic by @sophfei and @theslowfactory

You’ll be in different circles at the same time!

Here are a few criteria that Olivia uses when she’s considering a new community/organization to join:

  • Open, welcoming community
  • Justice-oriented approach – meaning actively anti-racist and with a strong understanding of environmental justice – the expectations for the level of *structured* anti-racist language varies greatly depending on the organization size and age.
  • Openness to change and critique
  • Community to grow with and learn from – learn about local issues, nationwide policy, proposed solutions

We love the “no permanent friends, no permanent enemies” idea of Sunrise that Elise talked about our Movements episode.

The Big List of Climate Actions
  • Fill your feeds – whatever those are: social media, email, Youtube, Tiktok – aim to find diverse voices and niches suited to your interests.
    Take a look who through we’re following on World Is Burning social media (Instagram / Twitter) for a running list of who we think is cool in the climate space. We also mentioned Texas Foraging Group and @blackforager specifically in the episode.
  • Educate yourself – again, this can happen online! Or through books, documentaries, formal classes. You can make any class, from middle school science projects to your graduate thesis, related to climate in some way.
    From Olivia: I’m studying media, and last semester none of my classes were climate-related, but I pitched a documentary about composting policy drama in NYC and wrote a media theory research paper about belief systems and climate change. And this semester in my media and social movements class, my final paper is on youth climate movements and the ways they integrate racial justice. And that’s not even to mention the potential to join clubs or make connections through formal school.
  • Bring it up! The more accustomed we get to acknowledging climate change in everyday conversations, the easier it is to understand where solutions lie. So if the company you work for has really wasteful policies, or a massive travel budget, or styrofoam cups in the office, talk about it! It makes it easier to have climate conversations that are interesting and generative, rather than weird and shame-inducing.
  • Join an existing movement. This is the biggest one, but like we said in the episode, don’t feel like you have to commit your entire identity to one group–it’s okay to join temporarily, feel it out, and find where you fit.
  • Support projects you like. This can be through time or money, like attending events (online or in-person) or donating to different campaigns, but this can also be through social media follows, clicking through on email petitions, reading campaign proposals, engaging with climate related articles. There’s nothing worse than spending so much effort to organize and event or project and then having no one show up.
  • Do a climate audit of your own life and consumption! No need to get too caught up in individual action, but this is a helpful exercise. Do you know who made your clothes and what conditions they were living in? Do your purchases benefit your local community or large organizations? What are you buying? What are you using? What are you throwing away? Not about shame or self judgment. Look at it as anthropological evidence.

Go for it!! Join the dang Zoom, be a participant, try something else if your first try isn’t a home run.

Have some climate action success? Or an idea for a Down the Rabbit Hole episode? Let us know!

The World Is Burning bookshop is live! Help us come up with book list titles and bulk up our reading list.

Our World is Burning themed playlist is on Spotify.

You can keep up with us on Twitter and Instagram.

If you enjoyed this episode, considering reviewing us on Apple Podcasts and downloading/subscribing/following wherever you like to do those things. It helps us immensely.

Thanks for listening!

Ep. 46 – Free Leonard Peltier and People vs. Fossil Fuels World Is Burning

In the 1960s and 70s, rising leader of the American Indian Movement Leonard Peltier was known for providing mutual aid from his auto shop and advocating for Native civil rights. After a controversial trial concerning the deaths of two FBI agents, Peltier was sent to jail to serve two life sentences. Despite cries for clemency from the likes of Mother Teresa and Nelson Mandela, Peltier has spent over half his life in jail. This week, Elise tells his story. Then, Olivia talks about her time down at the People vs. Fossil Fuels action in Washington DC. She witnessed the first occupation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs since the Trail of Broken Treaties in 1972 (which Peltier participated in). The demands of both occupations are eerily similar. Plus, we talk about how to get involved in current urgent actions, which climate activist is a fan of Rick-rolling, and Elise's vote for best environmental film. Subscribe/follow/press the button to keep up with new episodes every Wednesday! You can also follow us @worldisburnin on Instagram and Twitter, and check out our website for extended show notes including sources and photos. World Is Burning is hosted by Olivia Hamilton and Elise Nye. Our theme music is by Kaycie Satterfield, and our logo was made by Sonja Katanic. — Send in a voice message:
  1. Ep. 46 – Free Leonard Peltier and People vs. Fossil Fuels
  2. Ep. 45 – Fairy Creek Blockade and Resilience Force
  3. Down The Rabbit Hole Minisode 6: Petro-masculinity
  4. Ep. 44 – Cheaty Cheaty Bang Bang and Cars 2
  5. Down The Rabbit Hole Minisode 5: Fossil Fuels 101