ORGANIZING A LOCAL ACTION
If it makes more sense to organize a local action instead or join a regional action we encourage this and have some resources to help. This could be civil disobedience or legal protest or a combination, based on your capacity and what makes sense for where you live. Whether you are an experienced activist or a first-time organizer, here are some simple basic steps to get started. Go through these steps one by one, and you’ll be on your way to planning a creative, engaging, and powerful action in your community.
1) Gather With Friends and Neighbors
Plan a meeting at a time and location or home that works best and invite interested friends, neighbors, and local organizations to assist in sponsoring and organizing the action.
2) Choose an Action, Time and Location, and Register!
At the meeting:
LOCATION: Some cities will be taking action at the offices of major climate polluting corporations or banks that oppose real solutions to climate change. Is there already a local climate polluter in your community that makes sense to focus on?
SUGGESTED ACTION TARGETS: Here are a few suggestions that other cities may also focus on and that we have more detailed research on their role in climate pollution and opposing solutions:
JP Morgan Chase is the world’s top financier of the fossil fuels industry, is bankrolling new coal power plant construction, and is one of the top U.S. investors in carbon trading, a key false solution to climate change.
Bank of America is the world’s third-biggest financier of both the coal and oil industries, and is heavily involved in carbon trading, a key false corporate solution to climate change.
Morgan Stanley is a key financier of new coal power plant construction in the U.S., and was a pioneer in the U.S. in investing in carbon trading, a key false corporate solution to climate change.
Chevron is the world’s fourth-biggest oil company, is campaigning viciously against meaningful climate legislation, and is dumping huge investments into even dirtier sources of oil – like tar sands and oil shale.
BP is the world’s third-largest oil company, and – while spending hundreds of millions on a green washing ad campaign – is one of the leading companies in the world in campaigning for carbon trading, a key false solution.
American Electric Power is the biggest coal power producer in the U.S. – their coal plants alone are responsible for 3% of U.S. carbon emissions – and they’re a key force behind carbon capture & storage, another leading false solution.
ACTION: Decide if your action will include civil disobedience, legal protest or both. If you need to put off deciding on this to get more information, get more people or reflect on personal decisions, then just choose the location and time so you can start getting the word out. Also, decide what will you need for visuals, signs, banners, etc. Will you have speakers? Will you have leaflets to give out?
TIME: What time: a. makes the most sense for your action, b. allows for the most people to participate, works for media coverage?
3) Take care of logistical details as soon as you can
(this is why you want friends to help you out). Important things to consider include the timing of the action, directions, transportation, bathrooms, sound system, sponsorships, getting the world out and increasing your numbers etc.
4) Register your action:
5) Spread the Word
Send out emails, write editorials for local newspapers, get on the local radio station, ask organizations to include the action information in newsletters and bulletins, and put up posters all over town. There will be downloadable posters available in our resource section
6) Make Signs, Banner, Visuals
Some inspiration from previous actions can be found at:
7) Contact Legal Support:
Contact supportive local attorney/s or call and ask the National Lawyers Guild and/or the American Civil Liberties Union for legal observers and know your rights card. It can be helpful to have an attorney on call to help you do legal support, make a jail visit or calls if needed and to attend your court appearance/s and possibly to represent you (if they are willing to donate time or you can work out an affordable arrangement). You could also ask other organizations that have engaged in civil disobedience. It is good to understand which laws may be violated and the consequences—especially what has been the practice or experience if for similar actions. Some communities have legal support collectives or Cop watch groups that may be able to help.
Tell the Media
It’s important to contact local, state, and national media to make sure they report on actions in your area. Think about what print, radio, television, and blogs you’d want to have cover your event, and start getting in touch now!
Also, do you own media; invite people to take photos and video that can be posted to Flickr, YouTube, Facebook and blogs. Plan to have some one write up an account the same day/eve to send in your report. Also ask people to consider writing articles that could be published on sites, local independent media outlets, sent to friends and networks, etc. A complete guide to getting media coverage, along with a sample media advisory and press release, and much more will be available at:
9) Take Action
10) Report Back
Please write a basic report about what happened, who participated and why. Please have photos take and send us your strongest, upload forms for stories, images, video, and more will be made available.
11) FOLLOW UP. NEXT STEPS:
Follow up supporting those arrested until they are finished. Thank everyone for participating/helping. Follow up with media. Stay organized. Plan a next activity together, perhaps during the Dec 7-18 Copenahagen climate talks.