Taking action to save the planet is no longer an optional activity. It’s a must. The fact that you have found this website indicates you care for the environment, whether your local neighborhood or forest, your country, or the situation on a global scale.
The big myth is that one person cannot make a difference. Check out our profiles of activists who are taking action and bringing about change. You don’t have to be Al Gore to make a difference on a local or even possibly a global level if you set your mind to it. In fact, individuals are changing the world, usually with the support of others.
Before We Start
First, the bad news. Collecting plastic bags and recycling them, car pooling and switching to organic food will not hack it–not on their own. Personal choices about your consumption habits and use of energy are a small part of an overall strategy to deal with the problem. Imagine you are preparing to run a marathon and you are fussing about the make of running shoe you should buy, rather than getting out on the road and putting in the training runs.
The environmental movement is growing around the world. Many companies are jumping on the “green” bandwagon. Some governments and local authorities are supporting “green” proposals.
But much of this is superficial and may actually be diverting people from making meaningful change. If you drive a hybrid, recycle your trash, and buy organic, it is easy to lull yourself into thinking such actions will change the world, that you are doing your part to help. Such actions, however, are merely a small part of the equation.
A change of mindset is needed, a change in how we interact with the planet. It involves a radical rethink of how our societies operate. It will not be easy. It will face stiff resistance.
Where to start?
The massive mismanagement of the planet by man can appear overwhelming. But taking action on a personal and local level can provide a start. Begin on a personal level, with your family, friends and community. Walk the talk.
On a personal level, you may be able to make decisions about your use of energy, your consumption practices, and your choice of activities. Maybe you can cycle to work or school, rather than take a car or public transport. You can make the right choices regarding what you eat and what you buy. In time, these “green” choices can influence your family, friends or even become part of a movement. Encourage people to be conscious of their choices.
Education is part of taking action. Not necessarily education in the traditional sense but in the sense of informing yourself of the issues and the right courses of action. Earth Tribe offers some guidance and information – with more to come – but you may need to do more to read up or watch videos to get up to date on the challenges and viable solutions.
It’s ‘cool’ to be an activist
Don’t be put off by the naysayers and critics. Surround yourself with people who support the cause. If you can’t immediately find them in your neighborhood, maybe you can find them online. There is a wealth of information on the Internet. That said, of course, it can seem overwhelming. The main point to remember is that becoming an activist, taking action, getting involved is the “cool” thing to do.
Check out local support groups or search online and find a group to join.
IMPORTANT MESSAGE – There are many worthy causes to join. Demonstrations and protests can have their place and may contribute to a positive outcome. But take as an example the reason offered by Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson why he left Greenpeace decades ago. He went it alone to set up a “pirate” organization to directly take on the whalers and fishermen breaking the law. He felt it necessary to take direct action, not just protest on the streets. Since that time, Greenpeace has taken a leaf out of the same book and gets involved in direct action and civil disobedience.
Earth Tribe plans to provide a range of options for action.
Here are some well-known organizations and their calls to action.
Sea Shepherd – Get involved
Sea Shepherd encourages people to get involved in a number of ways – both on land and at sea, on their boats. But bear in mind that in their guide to would-be mariners they issue the following note:
No whiners, malcontents, mattress lovers, and wimps need apply.
Rainforest Action Network
Protecting the world’s forests is a massive undertaking. What can you do to help?
Also check out their Climate Action Fund
Friends of the Earth
Friends of the Earth runs many campaigns – including one in search of a Friends of the Earth activist, Sandra Viviana Cuellar Gallego, an environmental engineer who previously worked for their branch in Columbia and has gone missing.
World Wildlife Fund
The WWF offers advice about how to get involved in their campaigns.
HOW TO BE AN ACTIVIST
A useful guide by seasoned campaigner Elizabeth May from the Sierra Club of Canada.
Run Your Own Campaign
Useful advice from Campaign Strategy.
TreeHugger podcast on taking action