Sustainability in Community Activism and Change

This past year, I have become far more involved with community activism than I ever have been. Joining the fight for climate justice has been one of the greatest choices I have ever made. That being said, here are five ways to make sure your climate activism is having a lasting, beneficial impact.

1. Impact matters more than intention

While your intention may be coming from the right place, your impact can still be felt negatively. In the fight for climate justice, it is important to recognize that not everyone has the ability to buy local produce or cut down on their plastic usage. 

Especially with the whole anti-plastic straw movement, which is inherently ableist and ignorant of disabled voices and needs, a movement with good intentions of cutting down on plastic waste has alienated and villainized the usage of an essential item for some. 

Rather than going after the individual, make small changes in your own life where you can and instead worry about the large corporations that are the main culprits of climate degradation. 

2. Center marginalized voices

The environmental movement has largely been a white movement, leaving out countless voices that must be heard in order for the fight for climate justice to be an equitable one. It is important to make sure your activism is inclusive.

3. Collaborate with and listen to others

Going off of my last point, know when it is time to listen instead of speak. There are likely people in your activism circle who have lived experience with the issue at hand, and if not I suggest you seek those people out. 

4. Be able to adjust to change

Sometimes, you have to recognize that your approach or activity is simply not working. I think we would be far better served if there was more humility in the climate justice movement. You aren’t a savior in a cape, you are a person who has the privilege to worry about these issues and to partake in change-making. 

5. Take time to mentally rest and recover

It is okay to need rest, your best work cannot be done if you are fatigued beyond reproach. Take the time to recenter and collect yourself when needed.

I hope these tips help you to maybe get more involved in climate activism, collegiettes!