Whether you are a seasoned divestment activist or a first-time organiser, here is a simple guide to get you started.
Not all these steps may apply to you, but these are some ideas to help you on your way to planning a creative, engaging, and powerful action to make fossil fuels history in your community or city!
Bring together a core team of people with the necessary skills or expertise that you require for your action. Think about how you are trying to grow the local movement, and in which direction. Remember to involve partner organisations who can either be part of your core team or will be tactical allies with whom you share ideas and information.
Invite your friends, neighbours, and local organisations to assist in organising, mobilising their members and participating in the action. Reach out to any local church, mosque, synagogue, or other religious institution, labour/trade union, sports team, university, or arts cooperative that would be interested in getting involved in the issue.
Decide on your desired outcome, target, impacts focus, the action and your narrative.
Groups and campaigns are strongest when they regularly communicate about why they are invested in this work. Climate change communications often suffer from being about other people and events far away or too big: all these increase the likelihood that your audience will disconnect from the story.
As part of the Global Divestment Mobilisation, people around the world will be talking about how climate change has impacted something important to them, as a means to create connection to the bigger trends and impacts of climate change, and the need to divest from fossil fuels.
1) Invite your team to a meeting, ask them to prepare by thinking of 3 ways that climate change has impacted them or something/someone they care about.
2) At the beginning of the meeting, before discussing the impacts, identify as a group what your desired outcome from GDM is. Agree on what your goals for GDM are and who your target is.
For tips on identifying targets, click here.
3) Next, take turns to share the 3 ways that climate change has impacted you. Once you’ve done this, explain the following distinction about climate impacts:
“It is useful to think of climate impacts in terms of fitting within two categories: shock impacts and sliding impacts.
4) With this in mind, put a large piece of paper on the wall with all the impacts people named and invite people to put a dot next to each of the three impacts they believe the group should focus on. See which ones have the most dots, then decide which you will focus on for the Global Divestment Mobilisation (you may choose to focus on several impacts).
5) Once you have decided on your impact, now decide: What ways can you show how this impact is related to your target? How can you show the connection between these two pieces of the same story?
Do a group brainstorm and then vote on your favourite ideas.
6) Shape your narrative:
Now that you know what impact you will focus on, show how it is connected to your target in an overarching narrative.
It is important that your group can confidently explain the connection between:
Your narrative can be as simple as 1 or 2 paragraphs, that explains your action and the above points. Out of this narrative, identify your key messages.
7) Share your story:
If you feel comfortable and want to share your story online, here are a few options:
It’s important that you share your stories with your city and your community, but if you create something we would also love to know! Please email us at socialmedia [at] 350.org
Getting the science right:
Climate science can be complex and bewildering. Here are some recommended ways to talk about how your impact is connected to climate change:
If you want more information, read more on the 350.org/science page, and check out Climate Signals
Take care of all logistical details as soon as you can, including the timing of the action, directions, transportation, bathrooms, sound system, permits for use of public spaces, and any legal briefings or trainings (eg. in direct action) if you need them. You can contact your regional Fossil Free team for support and advice.
Make a plan to reach out. Set a goal for how many people you’d like to see at the event and try to create a plan for reaching far more than that number. Ensure that you register your event. Invite and link up with partner organisations interested in your action.Talking to schools, religious groups, community meetings, putting up posters around town, sending emails through listservs, getting a public service announcement on the local radio, share on social media, send out emails, write editorials for local newspapers, get on community calendars, ask organisations to include the action information in newsletters and bulletins and put up posters all over town.
An image can be worth a thousand words. Think about how you can clearly show your narrative in a single image or phrase. This will make sure that everyone who sees your action, including the media, hear exactly what you are trying to say.
Think about hosting an event or two to paint banners and signs before your action, and invite volunteers to come. Build this into your organizing strategy – as hands on work is a great way to help people get to know each other and build community! You can use your Event Host tools to email an invite to registered participants.
Banners and signs with the local equivalent of ‘Divest from Climate Impacts!’ (add the name of the institution you’re calling on to divest) can help to unify the Global Divestment Mobilisation’s actions and show we are unified global movement. Lastly, include the colour ORANGE – the unifying colour of the Fossil Free movement.
It’s important to contact local, state, and national media to make sure they report on Global Divestment Mobilisation actions in your area. Think about what print, radio, television, and online sources you’d want to have cover your event and start getting in touch now! Here is a media kit with additional ideas and sample texts you can use for guidance.
The months of planning culminate in this moment! Share your photos on Facebook and other social media such as Twitter and Instagram with the #divest and #fossilfree hashtags. Also send it to your friends and press contacts. Have a fun and meaningful day, knowing that you’re part of a rapidly growing global effort creating the pressure and momentum needed to solve the climate crisis. Aim to use earth-friendly products and materials, and to leave a positive footprint.
Remember to celebrate with your group, and to plan a next meeting to debrief the action and discuss next steps.
This part is very important: As soon as your action is over, be sure to select your best photo, video footage and written stories from your action and submit them here. This will enable the communications team to deliver the strongest possible message to the media and to the world’s decision makers.