Environmental Activism Crash Course
What Is Environmental Activism?
Environmentalism: is the concern about and action aimed at protecting the environment.
Environmental Activism: taking action to collaborate in scientific, social, conservational, and political fields that address the concerns of environmentalism.
What Are The Different Types Of Environmental Activism?
There are many branches of environmental activism including:
- Non-toxic activism
- Zero waste activism
- Vegetarian, low-meat, and vegan diets
- and more!
Why Is Environmental Activism Important?
Environmentalism is important because it does 4 things:
- influences individual behavior and the choices people make
- tries to correct the damage as well as prevent future destruction
- seeks to protect and conserve the elements of earth’s ecosystem (water, air, land, animals, plants, and entire habitats such as rainforests, deserts, and oceans)
- influences policies and how well policies are implemented
Through education and changes in legislation, the efforts of environmental activism have a significant impact on your health, safety, and daily life.
How To Be An Environmental Activist
If you have 10 MINUTES
- Learn. Check out our…
- Take small actions. Here are 50 easy ways to help the environment (eg. always try to reuse newspaper and use online directories instead of printed ones)
- Calculate your ecological footprint. Find out the size of your global ecological footprint and ways to make it smaller!
- Send a text. In just 2 minutes, you can send a text that will be delivered as a printed letter to elected officials that you choose (state representatives, members of Congress, and even the president). It’s free and supported by donations. Not creative? Click here to view and send copies of letters that are being written in real-time.
- Send emails. You can send them with 1-click using the many pre-written templates that Sierra Club has for the most up-to-date environmental issues!
- Call your representatives. This site makes it quick & easy to call your representatives! Just enter your zip code and it will give you: 1) list of local representatives with a name, picture, and phone number, 2) suggested script. It takes about 5 minutes because the scripts are just 2-3 sentences long. Here are some extra tips about calling and writing your representatives.
- Switch to 100% Renewable Electricity. In the U.S. and Canada, you can go to the green-e certified website and select the Renewable Electricity option. If no suppliers are available for your area, select Renewable Energy Certificate and pick one of the certified companies offering options nationwide. Why? It only takes a few minutes to sign up, the bill for renewable energy is competitive, and you will only receive one bill for all electricity and gas charges. FYI: power outages will still be handled by your local utility.
- Subscribe to Our Changing Climate – a wonderful YouTube channel that makes short and beautiful videos that answer many questions in the environmental sustainability realm
- Subscribe to Shelbizleee – a charming and down-to-earth YouTube channel about sustainable and zero waste living!
- Subscribe to Going Zero Waste – a YouTube channel about both the wellness of the environment and the self
- Subscribe to Eco Boost – a bright and positive YouTube channel that explores the zero waste and eco-friendly lifestyle
- Offset your carbon footprint with Carbon Fund (they have individual and business options)
If you have a FEW HOURS
- Green your home. Here are 30 ways to make your house more sustainable and eco-friendly.
- Host a film. Raise awareness and take action by hosting a screening of an environmental awareness film. Here are some environmental film suggestions:
- Meat The Truth (2008) – livestock and climate change
- Tapped (2009) – a water bottle’s impact on health, climate change, and more
- Gasland (2010) – drilling and fracking
- Chasing Ice (2012) – melting glaciers
- More Than Honey (2013) – unsustainable industrial agriculture
- Cowspiracy (2014) – unsustainable farming practices
- After the Spill (2015) – the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill
- Before the Flood (2016) – Leonardo DiCaprio asking world leaders about climate change
- An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Full Movie (2017) – Al Gore revisits the state of global warming when the Trump presidency begins
- The Plastic Problem (2019) – plastic pollution
- Fish Wars (2019) – unsustainable fishing and pollution going into our food
- Fire in Paradise (2019) – human-caused climate change and the devastating effects
- Fools and Dreamers: Regenerating a Native Forest (2019) – how one person’s love for nature can truly make a positive change
- Plastic Tide: Choking on Coke (2019) – plastic pollution
- City Without Water (2019) – global crisis of missing access to water
- Guardians of the Amazon (2020) – deforestation in Brazil and the people who protect the forests
- Sign up to volunteer. At home or in-person, there are many environmental volunteer opportunities available! Click here to explore Sierra Club’s volunteer connection.
- Try these more ethical meats
- Wild-harvested meat (like wild rabbit or hare)
- Chicken and goat meats
- Grass-fed and pasture-raised beef
- Lean, organic cuts of meat without the skin
- Antibiotic-free meats
- Use these sustainable fish guides to make sure your seafood is ethically sourced.
- Decrease your meat and dairy intake. Even if you’re not particularly concerned by animal welfare, animal agriculture is a major pollutant, so cutting down is an easy way to lower your footprint.
- Try and buy local and seasonal groceries. Look out for farmers markets or allotments where you can buy produce that was grown locally and didn’t travel far to get to you.
- Try and take more public transport or cycle instead of driving.
- Try and buy locally produced clothes.
- Avoid conventional dry cleaners so that you reduce the amount of pollutants, toxic chemicals, and inefficient energy use.
- Look for non-toxic, organic beauty, and makeup products (or make your own).
- Use natural detergents, washing machine powder, and dish soap
- Buy clothes and textiles made of organic materials and dyed with non-toxic, water-based or dyes made from plants.
- Buy organic produce.
If you have a MONTH
- Host a speaker from an environmental organization at your school, community center, or place of worship so that the community can learn more about their rights to a clean environment.
- Challenge yourself for 30 days to eat less meat, go vegetarian, or go vegan
- Train people to be environmental activists. Here’s a toolkit to get you started.
- Move your money into an ethical bank or building society that doesn’t invest in the fossil fuel industry.
- And change to a renewable energy supplier
- Offset your current carbon emissions with a voluntary carbon tax
- Support the divestment movement to take investment out of fossil fuels
- Try to vacation within your own country. Or if you’re in Europe, why not try hopping on a train instead of flying.
- Avoid cruises
- Replace your cleaning products with natural options or make your own
- Use natural, organic shampoos, soaps, and dry shampoos
If you have A YEAR OR MORE
- Host a Community Event. Whether it’s planting trees as a community or building a community garden, there are many events you can host to spread community-wide awareness.
- Participate in an Adopt-a-Highway Event. These programs not only work to clean up local environments but also to educate the public on the importance of proper trash disposal.
- Join a Green Committee – Initiate or join a group dedicated to taking action on environmental issues important to your area.
- Volunteer with a local environmental group. Research online the opportunities to assist with local community service eco-groups or political advocacy organizations. Click here to explore Sierra Club’s volunteer connection.
- Grow. Plant a vegetable garden in your backyard, or start a community garden to increase awareness about environmental issues. Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Learn & Adapt To Your Local Environmental Issues. Over time, new environmental issues come to our attention. Help your community stay informed by hosting events at a community center, library, writing a newsletter, or even writing a short media piece for a local publication.
18 Environmental Activism Organizations
International Environmental Organizations
A global initiative that strives to achieve the goal of water justice for all. The site informs readers about the issues and provides them with information on how they can help.
An non-partisan, non-profit research, policy, and public outreach organization that addresses the relationship between human population, resource consumption, and the environment.
Founded on the premise that all people, regardless of race, gender, income, or geography, have a moral right to a healthy, sustainable environment. Provides news coverage of environmental issues, ways to take action, and more.
An organization inspired by activists that works to save our environment. Includes information on how to take action on a variety of issues, including global warming, energy, oceans, forests, toxins, and genetic engineering.
The leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters.
The site specifically focuses on the right to environment as an international human right and provides a comprehensive list of human rights that are often violated by environmental harms.
Focuses on the public health impact of environmental problems. Explores how the right to a clean environment corresponds with the right to health.
WWF’s mission is the conservation of nature. By 2020, WWF aims to conserve 19 of the world’s most important natural places and significantly change global markets for future protection.
Sustainable Table is an environmental not-for-profit that provides Australians with the tools and information to make ethical eating easy. They have many great resources including an online directory of Ethical Meat Suppliers.
US Environmental Organizations
Urges people to take action to improve the environment – includes several resources on stopping global warming, clean water, clean air, and toxic pollution, among others.
Founded by scientists and works directly with governments, businesses, and communities to create lasting solutions to serious environmental problems.
A non-profit public interest law firm dedicated to protecting the magnificent places, natural resources, and wildlife of this earth, and to defending the right of all people to a healthy environment.
The EPA is the primary enforcer of our nation’s environmental laws. Their site includes information on science and technology, up-todate information on pressing environmental issues, and extensive resources for citizens, teachers, and students.
A large, effective environmental action organization. Uses law, science, and the support of 1.3 million members to protect the planet’s wildlife and wild places and to ensure a safe and healthy environment for all living things.
The Sierra Club was America’s first formidable grassroots environmental organization.
Educates, inspires and empowers people to engage in solutions to climate change.
A non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. Their website offers up-to-date news, consumer guides, research, and more. They also have a verification label that personal care products and brands can apply for.
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