I recently asked followers on Instagram to send me their questions for this new feature I’m giving a whirl, “Ask Anne Marie.” Because we’re in the midst of the big September 20th–27th climate strikes, I thought I would answer the following question first:
I want to go to the climate strikes but I have really bad anxiety. What else could I do?
Not everyone wants to protest in the streets. That doesn’t mean you can’t participate in other crucial ways.
Grassroots movements tackling the climate crisis, such as 350.org and Sunrise Movement, need your skills, from writing social media posts, email newsletters and press releases, to web developing and maintenance, to fundraising, to helping plan events like the strikes themselves—and much more. Look for volunteer opportunities with 350.org here and with Sunrise Movement here.
3. Call your elected representatives
In the US, contact members of Congress and tell them to support the strikers’ demands:
A safe, healthy, and just planet
Justice and asylum for people displaced by climate change
Policy based on science, which means we must make immediate plans to get off fossil fuels and reverse carbon pollution in the next 5 to 10 years
People, not corporations, influence politics
Equal rights for all
Humans protect the rights of nature
A just transition
4. Support the strikers
Help them make signs. Give them bus fare to get to the strike. Pack them some snacks and a water bottle. When I was at the strike in San Francisco on Friday, I noticed food set out for the strikers—oranges and bananas and water. The strikes are one more reason why we need water fountains everywhere. Because strikers get thirsty and they will not stop striking until governments meet their demands!
5. Spread the word
Because I’m involved in the environmental movement, I sometimes assume everyone knows what’s going on and so am a little shocked when a neighbor or acquaintance says something to me like “What strike?” Your friends and family may not know about the strikes or the climate crisis. The news barely covers either.
Mention the strikes at work, at school, at your place of worship, in your book club and so on. However, you don’t want to sound preachy when you discuss climate change. People’s eyes glaze over when you preach and rattle off statistics, no matter how horrifying the numbers.
Instead, tell people how climate change affects them. Tell them a story. If they love beer, tell them how climate change will lead to dramatic beer shortages. They prefer chocolate? Same story. If all they care about is money, explain how preserving the climate saves piles of cash. Tailor your story to your audience.
And remember to give people solutions! People feel overwhelmed by a deluge of bad news and a dearth of information on solutions to mitigate the worst effects of climate change. Find 100 solutions here at the Drawdown website.