8 Steps to Environmental Activism

Activist. A person who campaigns to bring about social, environment or political change. Does that sound like you? Maybe you’ve never thought about yourself as an activist before but if you have reposted something on social media, donated to a campaign or had a constructive conversation with someone then you can add activist to your list of skills. And while it may seem like activist’s get a bad rap from the media, there is a lot of good that isn’t covered. 

It can seem a little daunting if you want to start becoming involved in activism. Where do you start? How do you get involved?  But starting out small and growing yourself into a certifiably awesome activist is easier than you think. Try not to get intimidated by those who may seem more involved than you by remembering that everyone starts somewhere and can offer different skills to the cause. Here are a few tips to help get you started on your way to becoming the best activist you can be. 

  1. Find your why and get involved. In a world as diverse as ours, the cause that you choose to get involved with can be just as diverse. Everything from climate change to human rights to animal rights. The first step is to find what cause or causes you are most passionate about. 
  2. Research your cause. Know both sides and understand the different perspectives that come along with different issues. Having a complete understanding of the issue you are involved in will give you an edge when it comes to communicating with those who don’t agree with you. While it is important to know what cause you’re fighting for, it is just as important to know the reasons why some are against it. 
  3. You don’t need to be perfect. Ahh our good friend perfectionism that seems to follow everything we do as humans. Some like to criticize activists who slip up and do something off brand of the cause. But being perfect is not part of the cause. If you’re fighting to bring awareness to climate change and still drive a car, that’s OKAY! Don’t let haters get you down. 
  4. Understand the world. Understand the global issues that are occurring in the world to better understand what is happening in your backyard. Our world is so interconnected that what we do here in Canada has some sort of effect on the rest of the world. Knowing and understanding how connected with all of the global issues will not only make you a better activist but also a better global citizen. 
  5. Volunteer with local organizations. What’s a better way to get your toes wet with being involved than by volunteering with a local organization. You often get training as a volunteer which helps you learn all about the issue or cause you are interested in. Plus it’s a great way to network yourself and meet others who have the same interests as you. 
  6. Use all the tools. It doesn’t just mean attending protests. Use social media, write your government, listen to speakers and presentations. The more tools you can use to support and spread awareness, the better. With the rise of technology there are so many ways to get involved other than just a protest. This year alone Albertans spoke out against two very controversial decisions made by the government through social media, written letters, town halls and even lawn signs. Through all of those channels the government heard and reversed their decisions. Use all the tools in your belt to make a difference. 
  7. Engage in peace. While some causes may get you really fired up, it is best to remain level headed and peaceful when attending protests. Being so passionate about something is really great, however when we engage in harmful behaviours it often reflects negatively on the cause itself. Be peaceful and make a difference. 
  8. Vote, vote, vote. If you are of age, you can exercise your right to vote and put people in power who are looking to make the positive changes our communities need. Encourage those around you to vote as well. The more people who are voting, the greater the difference can be made. It may seem like a small action but it can make a big difference in the long run. 

If you want to make a difference in the world, you need to be involved in it. Becoming an activist is a great way to spread positive messages and make a difference. While being labelled an activist can come with it’s challenges, mainly from the negative side of the media, it can be greatly beneficial to be actively engaged in your community and the larger world. Becoming involved in any number of organizations will help you build connections with like minded individuals and you will have a hand in making the change you want to see in the world. 

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