Today’s #GlobalClimateStrike is likely to be the biggest ever with adults showing solidarity with striking students. Millions of people are taking to the streets around the world. #ClimateStrike, #SchoolsStrike4Climate and #ClimateAction are all currently trending. According to The Guardian yesterday, a public poll found that the Climate crisis is seen as ‘most important issue’. The eight-country poll showed that people view the climate crisis as priority over migration and terrorism. But does the charity sector reflect this?
Even if it’s not your cause, this is a global day of activism about something that will have impact on us all. People will be talking about the issues. How is the sector seeing this as an opportunity to take collective action?
Charities with an environmental focus are of course shouting about it from the rooftops, encouraging staff and supporters to join in. For example:
- RSPB England made a video saying ‘please join the strike’
- Marine Conservation Society also shared a video
- The Wildlife Trusts tweeted a link to help people find a strike near them
- Friends of the Earth shared resources for strikers.
Some other organisations are publicly saying how and why they are joining in with the march:
- Semble – we’re striking, here’s why
- Foodcycle tweeted to say they were striking
- JCWI also blogged about why they were striking
- Islamic Relief shared pictures of banner making and explained why they are backing the strike
- CPRE shared videos of their staff explaining why they were striking.
- Salford CVS also tweeted their support (as shown above).
For many it will not be possible to join in with a strike. There is also a way to join in the #DigitalClimateStrike to show solidarity. I’ve seen a good number of agencies and individuals doing this, but no charity websites.
The examples above are primarily from organisations whose remit is connected to climate change. They will of course be joining in.
Other ways to join in
What if it is not your remit? Most organisations can’t stop their everyday work to join a strike. Most will also not want to change their homepages or social media feeds to distract from their own work.
But if on the biggest day of protest about the environment, you are not joining in with the conversation, what does that say? If you are not talking about what you are doing, maybe people will assume you are doing nothing? And in a culture when we need to build trust, connect with our audiences and collectively take action, this is important.
This is an opportunity to show that we care about the same things as our audiences / beneficiaries, especially if they are primarily young people (see this example from YoungScot).
So, use the day (and beyond) to say what you are doing for example to reduce waste or energy use. Talk about some of the changes you have made to the way you work and travel. Talk about what you plan to do (for example, VONNE announced that their annual conference will focus on climate change. And Just For Kids Law had a lunchtime session talking about climate change). Talk about the impact that climate change is, or could have, on the people you represent (see Oxfam’s #WhoTakesTheHeat series).
If the reason your organisation is not doing anything today is because climate change is not on your organisation’s radar, maybe use the day as a way to raise it internally.
- ‘Everyone is welcome, everyone is needed’—why we’re urging civil society to support the global climate strike – The Catalyst.
- Russell Benson: Why climate destruction must be a priority for charities – Civil Society.
- Maya Mailer: Why charities should join in the global climate strike – Third Sector.
- Thread about the strike from the New Scientist.
- The Catalyst’s list of climate ‘tech for good’.
Update: after the strike
Youth Strike 4 Climate stated that globally, 4 million people joined in with the strike. There were 5700 strikes in 185 countries. Scottish Youth Climate Strike estimated that 1 in 125 Scots joined the strike.
Here are some examples of timely and powerful comms shared during and after the event to mark the day and build momentum further:
- RSPB shared a video during the march, responding to ‘a few comments on Twitter asking why we are supporting the climate strikes’. This was powerful from Martin Harper of RSPB too.
- Help Refugees changed their logo on Twitter to reflect the average temperatures since 1850.
- YoungScot shared a video they made at the march.
- Islamic Relief shared a timelapse video from the march in Birmingham.
- WWF shared a call to action – are you part of the #FightForYourWorld (warning – flickering images)
- Doncaster Council live-tweeted though their #SoundTheAlarm event.
- Sound and Music shared the sound of protest.
- Youth Strike 4 Climate made a video of 13 of the best placards.
Update: ongoing climate change action
- Woodland Trust are inviting everyone to join the #BigClimateFightback by pledging to plant a tree by 30 November.
- British Red Cross shared a video from IFRC called the #FacesOfClimateChange. The same video, translated into different languages, has been shared by branches in other countries.
- Manchester Community Central are devoting their annual storytelling event to focus on local organisations addressing climate change. On day one they introduced Friends of Fallowfield Loop.
- Friends of the Earth shared an animation, saying “If you’ve been inspired by the #GlobalClimateStrike or Greta Thunberg’s incredible speech to the UN, then don’t wait for those in power to #TakeClimateAction.”
What do you think?
Did your organisation join in? Is climate change being discussed internally? Have you seen any great examples of climate change comms?