POW UK x Entry Level Activist part 3: Despite more and more of us wanting to do better for the environment, activism can feel inaccessible and really hard to relate to. It isn’t easy, but the good news is that identifying as an activist can happen extremely quickly even after a minor attitude shift. In a global landscape of crisis, isn’t an activist something that we should all aspire towards and be supported (somehow) to become?
As mentioned in our first Entry Level Activist post for POW UK, activism itself is changing alongside the growing level of brilliant public engagement with society’s biggest challenges – but maintaining its meaning somehow feels more critical than ever. If this all this talk (whether that’s via the news, on social media or via our favourite brands) can’t inspire us to act, then there’s a real chance that important causes will be reduced to marketing efforts in 2019 and as we all know, some of these causes are too critical to be ignored without action any longer.
The level of commitment the term ‘activism’ requires is huge and the decision to truly commit your life to the pursuit of justice is one that very few of us take – but there are some entry level acts that anyone can get on board with.
First of all: take the time to get informed and go in depth.
Our attention spans these days are so short but sitting down to really focus on an important topic according to your interests can be extremely influential. Maybe you’re into the science behind the climate emergency; it could be the policy structure involved in making change that you care about or perhaps you want to know more about how snow sports performance clothing can be bad for the environment. The fact is this: not all of us can understand everything and that’s OK. While an activist doesn’t need to be an expert in their field, acquiring a foundational understanding of the problem can give you a lot of confidence to act: even if that’s as simple as avoiding a particular brand because you know their work isn’t responsible. Knowing stuff feels good!
Next up: don’t call people out.
Being an entry level activist is about inviting everyone into the conversation and facilitating change as something accessible for all. Shaming people doesn’t work. Celebrating success does but excessive back-patting rarely brings innovative ideas to the table. Being progressive is about being persistent: attack climate change with the same tenacity it takes to summit a mountain on a snowy touring afternoon!
More practical advice around what you can do is to change energy supplier or ask your bank if they’re concentrating on sustainability with the funds they hold. Activism can be as simple as asking a question: if the companies you choose to invest in aren’t working proactively with the environment in mind, spend 30 minutes writing them an email to invite them into the conversation by asking why not.
POW UK have put together the POW Action Mountain as a way to break down the steps towards acting against climate change. In the same way that ski resorts runs go from green to blue, red then black, taking action can be seen in levels of difficulty that relate to how much commitment each challenge requires. It’s a great way to visualise your efforts so be sure to take a look.
As our planet slips closer towards unsustainably rising temperatures, activism is the future that each and every one of us will have to get on board with eventually – so why not get a head start with POW UK and Entry Level Activist.
Faith Robinson is a POW UK volunteer navigating the world of online activism one word at a time. Founder of positive change platform Entry Level Activist, she lives in Copenhagen via London and works with Global Fashion Agenda to steer the fashion industry towards a more sustainable future.