An Audacious Toolkit: Actions Against Climate Breakdown (Part 1: A is for Advocacy)

Just as I am trying, through these words, to reach into your lives and draw you out, through encouragement and ideas, to be a bigger, braver, more audacious version of yourselves, you will have to find words and actions to reach into the lives of others and do the same.

So “the answer is EVERYTHING” means that we had better bloody well figure it out, as an active, muddling, messy process: together.

The Audacious Toolkit, Collective Action Version

Working together with others to avert the worst of climate change is the most effective form of action, one with far reaching consequences. From the perspective of the global economy, collective action generally targets the pipeline, the supply side: fossil fuels and their associated industries (automotive, flying), as well as investment in high carbon infrastructures (roads rather than rail, for instance). The most important single thing is turning off that pipeline.

Going beyond our personal sphere

Most of us have probably been limiting our range of action on many issues to a fairly personal sphere: making changes in purchasing habits, signing petitions, considering the issue when voting for candidates. Every single one of the actions I discuss below involves going beyond that comfortable and familiar sphere. What does that mean for you? How do you go about it, when it is new and foreign?

A (partial) Alphabet of Collective Climate Action

A is for Advocacy

Advocacy is communication for a cause. In the context of climate breakdown and ecological crisis, one of the main barriers to change is an immense deficiency in understanding in almost every layer of society. This deficiency means that key actors, as well as the larger public, are unaware of both the problem (its severity, scale, urgency and specificity), and their possible role in bringing about solutions. Even scientists fall into this trap: I’ve heard science communicators tell audiences of children to just “recycle more” (hmm-no, that won’t do it).

B is for Barricade

All over the world, fossil fuel companies are exploring and extracting, transporting and transforming, looking for ever new and ways to produce their dangerous products. Just last month, they started fracking (shattering the ground to extract gas) just north of where I live in Manchester, at the Preston New Road site. Right now, they are tentatively considering exploring in the Arctic: due to low levels of ice (thanks to the climate disaster they themselves have caused!) fossil reserves may now become accessible. That’s the bad news.

The roses are for Simon Blevins, Richard Roberts & Rich Loizou.

One way we must all protect the Protectors is through our unrelenting solidarity and attention to their cause.

An even better way is to join the Earth’s own Avengers, and become Water, Earth and Air protecting superheroes ourselves. Fossil expansion is occurring all over the world, and very likely somewhere near where you live. This is as good a place as any to make a stand and fight this industry, strengthening your community in the process.

C is for Civil Disobedience

To be continued …

In Part 2, I’ll cover: D is for (you guessed it!) Divest, E is for Election, and L is for Lawsuit. (F, G, H, I, J & K somehow didn’t make it.) [Update: Part 2 is live!]



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Julia Steinberger

Julia Steinberger

Immigrant, Swiss-American-UK ecological economist at the University of Lausanne. Research focus on living well within planetary limits. Opinions my own.