Welcome to this guide to the Climate Activism resources in the Commons Social Change Library. We have gathered a wide range of materials to help you navigate your climate activism journey.
You can browse the categories below for resources on organising climate campaigns, climate justice, climate activist wellbeing, and get inspired by our collection of climate movement case studies. We’ve also curated a selection of research, climate book reviews and podcasts if you’d like to continue your learning beyond the Commons Library resources.
Activism Toolkits and Skillbuilding
If we are realistic about climate change it’s clear we need to transform everything about our economy and energy systems so every industry and much of our infrastructure needs to change; you can influence the areas you know and care about. – Alex Kelly
Organising, Advocacy and Lobbying
- Climate Resistance Handbook Or, I was part of a climate action. Now what? (350.org, Daniel Hunter)
- Build People Power and Capacity to Run Effective Campaigns and Movements to Tackle the Climate Crisis (350.org)
- Introduction to Campaigning and Social Movements (Online Courses) (350.org)
- How to Organise about Climate Related Workplace Health and Safety Issues (Australian Services Union)
- Lobbying Playbook: How to Guides, Stories and Examples (Citizens’ Climate Lobby – CCL)
- New Year, New Action for Transformation (Alex Kelly)
- Resilience Based Organizing (Movement Generation)
- Propagate, Pollinate, Practice: Curriculum tools for a just transition (Movement Generation)
- Toward an Anti-Fracking Mobilization Toolkit: Ten practices from Western Newfoundland’s Campaign
- Organising Civil Disobedience for Newcomers (350.org)
- A Beginners Guide to a Blockade Camp (Nicola Paris)
- What Will It Take for the Climate Movement to Win? (Nick Beuret)
- CounterAct collection (Nicola Paris & collaborators)
- NVDA: Start Here (Commons Library)
- Stop Jabiluka Mine Handbook (Stop Jabiluka Mine)
- Facilitation at the Frontlines (Nicola Paris)
Conversations & Framing
- Door Knocking and Climate Conversations (William Potter)
- Just Get On With It: Talking about climate change and economics (Adrian Dodd, Dinah Arndt)
- Talking About the Bushfire Crisis and Climate Change (Commons Librarian)
- Common Cause for Nature: A practical guide to values and frames in conservation (Common Cause)
- How to tell compelling stories that move people to action: Narrative Handbook (Australian Conservation Foundation)
- Framing Issues for Social Justice Impact: Directory of Messaging Guides
A collection of message guides, many of which cover climate change and climate justice. Includes Framing Climate Justice (PIRC).
- Action Group Meetings (James Whelan, Ruth Rosenhek, Simon Clough)
- Online Training Monster Manual (Daniel Hunter)
- Working in Groups: Start Here (Commons Library)
- Parasols of Protest – Make your own (Sharon France)
- A Better World is Paintable: How to make banners, stencils, street murals, parachute banners, and more! (350.org)
- Games for Nature: Environmental education through the eyes of young people (Youth and Environment Europe – YEE)
- Legal Handbook for the Victorian Coal and Gas Movement (CounterAct, Environmental Justice Australia)
- ‘This case has made legal history’: Young Australians just won a human rights case against an enormous coal mine (Justine Bell-James)
- Four Stages of Climate Action Framework (Nicky Ison)
- Introducing a New Paradigm for Social Change (Andrew Gaines)
- Radically Re-Imagining the World as our Climate Changes (Alex Kelly)
- Explore other Systems Thinking resources
Responding to Climate Impacts
- Resources for Disaster Relief and Recovery (Commons Librarian)
- Talking About the Bushfire Crisis and Climate Change (Commons Librarian)
- How Northern Rivers Communities Responded to Floods (Commons Conversation – Maddy Rose Braddon)
- A Critical Framework for a Just Recovery (Movement Generation).
Climate Justice and Intersectionality
We found that the growing use of the term ‘climate justice’ reflects increasing awareness that climate change will affect not only our environment but also the social fabric of communities and nations. – Astrid Vachette, Robyn Gulliver, Sarah Boddington
- Climate Justice: What does it mean? (Astrid Vachette, Robyn Gulliver, Sarah Boddington)
- Climate Justice Needs an Intersectional Approach: Toolkit (Jada L Kennedy, Youth and Environment Europe – YEE)
- How Collective Action Communication Frames are Used to Drive Action on Climate Justice (Astrid Vachette, Robyn Gulliver, Sarah Boddington)
- Why North-South Intersectionality Matters in Climate Justice: Perspectives of South Asian Australian Youth Climate Activists (Ruchira Talukdar)
- Climate Justice and Feminism Resource Collection (CounterAct, Women’s Climate Justice Collective – WCJC)
- Key Ingredients for Building the Power of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Communities (Karrina Nolan)
- Supporting Indigenous Leadership in the Climate Movement (Sustaining All Life)
- Supporting Young People’s Activism in the Climate Emergency (Sustaining All Life)
- A Critical Framework for Just Recovery (Movement Generation)
Climate Activist Health and Wellbeing
If we don’t act with love towards ourselves and others in our work, we can’t bring more love to the systems causing climate injustice. – Charlie Wood
The uncertainty of the climate crisis can have a profound impact on our mental and physical health. We’ve brought together a range of resources to help you navigate climate grief, anxiety and burnout on your climate activism journey.
Have a look through our curated list of Resources to Cope With Climate Anxiety and Grief or pick out some of the resources below:
- We Need a Climate Movement that Addresses the Trauma of Fighting for a Burning Planet (Charlie Wood)
- There’s No Place for Burnout in a Burning World (Charlie Wood)
- Healing Our Climate Grief (Sustaining All Life)
- Coping with Climate Change Distress (Australian Conservation Foundation, Australian Psychological Society, Climate Reality Project Australia, Psychology for a Safe Climate)
- Climactic Podcasts On Climate Grief and Resilience (Climactic)
- Handbook of Climate Psychology (Climate Psychology Alliance)
- Catastrophe or transformation? Climate psychology podcasts (Climate Psychology Alliance)
- The Climate Change Empowerment Handbook (Australian Psychological Society)
- Staying Engaged in the Climate & Bushfire Crisis (Psychology for a Safe Climate)
- Emotional Health and Our Response to a Changing Climate (Bronwyn Gresham)
Climate Movement Case Studies
Social movements create change by building collective power to win an agenda that serves the common interest. Change lasts when it becomes embedded as social norms valued by a majority of the public, and in institutional, financial and political systems. – Kathryn McCallum
First Nations Organising
Reset 1: First Nations Resistance & Climate Justice (Karrina Nolan)
These resources were collated by Karrina Nolan for the Reset Reading Group series.
Camp Walmadan Booklet, James Price Point, Western Australia: A Guide to Country, Community and Culture (Nicola Paris, Tegan Mossop)
The Camp Walmadan booklet gives an insight into the campaign to stop a gas refinery at Walmadam (James Price Point).
Commons Conversations #2: Millie Telford and Grace Vegesana
In this episode of the Commons Conversations podcast Millie Telford, co-founder of Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Network, is interviewed by Grace Vegasana, the Climate & Racial Justice Director for AYCC.
The Jabiluka campaign from the 1990s is a powerful historic case study of First Nations led protection of Country. View the Jabiluka resources in the Commons Library.
Australian Campaign Case Study: Stop Adani, 2012 – 2022 (Robyn Gulliver) This case study looks at Stop Adani, a directed network campaign aiming to halt the construction of a large thermal coal mine in northern Queensland.
The Fight of our Times: Stopping Adani and New Coal (John Hepburn)
The Sunrise Project Executive Director, John Hepburn, presents at Progress 2017. John breaks down what’s at stake in the ongoing Stop Adani campaign and how you can get involved.
Stop Adani and the Suffragettes Reflections on Targets and Tactics (Joel Dignam)
In this article Joel Dignam takes lessons on campaign targets and tactics from the Stop Adani campaign (2017) and the Suffragettes (1905).
Women’s Stories of Environmental Activism: Susan, Olivia, Nora, Lisa, Jenny (by Robyn Gulliver)
This series was created from interviews undertaken with five women who stayed at Camp Binbee for one week in late 2017 to take action against the Carmichael coal mine development.
Coal Seam Gas
Enabling Emergence: The Bentley Blockade and the Struggle for a Gasfield Free Northern Rivers (Aidan Ricketts, Annie Kia)
An examination of the social movement dynamics involved in Gasfield Free Northern Rivers and the Bentley Blockade by two key leaders.
‘Always look up’: Connecting Community for a Win against Gas (Millie Rooney)
Millie Rooney speaks to Cam Walker of Friends of the Earth Australia about their role in winning a constitutional ban on fracking in Victoria.
Other Campaigns and Reflections
Power and Agency: Lessons from Ten years of Climate Campaigning (Kathryn McCallum)
Kathryn McCallum, an Australian Climate Campaigner, shares her lessons from ten years of climate campaigning in her talk, Power and Agency: Lessons from Ten years of Climate Campaigning, given in 2023.
Frontline Action on Coal FLAC: Ten Years on the Climate Frontline (Andy Paine)
In this retrospective of Frontline Action on Coal, Andy Paine details the network’s history, its methods and what has been learnt along the way
Australian Campaign Case Study: Divestment Campaign 2013 – 2021 (Robyn Gulliver)
This case study follows the Divestment campaign, introduced to Australia by 350.org in around 2013.
Blockades that changed Australia (Iain McIntyre)
In this article Iain McIntyre goes through 13 different blockades in Australian activism history.
30 years of Creative Resistance: Friends of the Earth Australia (Cam Walker)
‘30 years of Creative Resistance’ is a compilation of writing and art celebrating the work of Friends of the Earth Australia over the last thirty years.
International Case Studies
Sunrise Movement (USA)
Reflections on Sunrise Movement’s Strike Circle Program (Luis Marchese, PowerLabs, Randall Smith)
This webinar details how Sunrise Movement’s Strike Circle program helped them to launch 600 small groups, plan local climate activism strikes, and convert 300 of the groups to ongoing Sunrise chapters.
Behind the Scenes of Sunrise’s Volunteer-led Phone Bank Program (PowerLabs, Randall Smith, Sophia Zaia)
How the Sunrise Movement (USA) created the volunteer team structure that powered 6.2 million phone calls for electoral impact.
Lessons Learned from Campaigning to Win the Green New Deal (Dyanna Jaye, PowerLabs)
This PowerLabs webinar with Dyanna Jaye covers the Sunrise Movement’s campaign to win the Green New Deal.
Why a Coaching Approach is Better than Command and Control (PowerLabs, Sophia Zaia)
Sophia Zaia, a consultant for Powerlabs, shares her key takeaways about using a coaching approach when working with volunteers for the Sunrise Movement’s distributed voter contact program.
A collection of Organising Stories and Lessons from across the globe, collated and presented by 350.org.
Ende Gelände (350.org)
In this case study 350.org shares valuable lessons on climate activism and organising civil disobedience from Ende Gelände.
How France Fought to Keep it in the Ground: Lessons from 350 Campaigns (350.org, Clémence Dubois, Nicolas Haeringer)
Lessons learned and shared by 350.org France about their offshore drilling and fossil fuel campaigns in France.
How to Recruit more People: Lessons from Rukiya in 350 Kenya (350.org)
Rukiya, a 350.org organiser in Kenya, shares stories of how they recruited people for the African DeCOALinise Campaign.
Movement Support Teams: Examples of Volunteers Supporting Each Other in the Movement (350.org)
350.org shares three examples and lessons learned of different ways peer-to-peer Movement Support Teams can work.
Climate Impacts: 350 Organising Lessons from Australia, US, Pacific Islands, and UK (350.org, Daniel Hunter)
These lessons from 350.org share four different organising responses from different countries to climate impacts.
How to Influence a Political “Frenemy”: Lessons from 350 Canada’s Climate Welcome (350.org)
350.org Canada’s “Climate Welcome” protest pressured Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to take bold climate action despite uncertainties, shifting the public narrative and creating government pressure.
Creating Bold Safe Actions Despite Repression: Lessons from Brazil (350.org)
Here are some lessons learned and tips from 350.org about making escalated actions bold and safe.
Other Campaigns & Reflections
Auckland Transport Decarbonisation Campaign (Robyn Gulliver)
This case study looks at ‘All Aboard Aotearoa’, a 2020 coalition that campaigned for the decarbonisation of road transport in Auckland by 2030.
“You can’t eat money”: An Interview with Extinction Rebellion Activist Jo Flanagan (Holly Hammond, Iain McIntyre)
Interview with UK Extinction Rebellion activist, Jo Flanagan, about a protest against BlackRock in 2019.
How Defeating Keystone XL Built a Bolder, Savvier Climate Movement (Nick Engelfried)
This case study, originally published on Waging Nonviolence, follows one of the longest, highest-profile campaigns in the North American climate movement: resistance to the Keystone XL pipeline.
4 Lessons for Climate Organizers from the Anti-nuclear Movement (Will Lawrence)
In this article Will Lawrence outlines four key lessons from the anti-nuclear movement.
Mining Resistance in India (Jan Paul Smit)
Community resistance has been astonishingly effective at stopping mining in India. This article draws from the book Iron Will: Global Extractivism and Mining Resistance in Brazil and India.
Mining Resistance in Brazil (Jan Paul Smit)
Community resistance has been astonishingly effective at stopping mining in Brazil. This article draws from the book Iron Will: Global Extractivism and Mining Resistance in Brazil and India.
Greenpeace pushes for global ban on CFCs 1986 – 1995 (Irina Bukharin)
Greenpeace International agitated for a ban on chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) to protect the global ozone layer from ultraviolet radiation. This case study describes the campaign.
How to Beat the ‘Fracking Frenzy: Lessons from the Campaign that ended Fracking in Ireland (Jamie Gorman)
The successful Irish anti-fracking struggle offers key insights on community power building for anti-extraction movements all over the world.
Climate Activism Research
Our data shows that the climate change movement in Australia is grassroots in nature, diverse, growing quickly, and achieving substantial success. It is using a vibrant and evolving repertoire of civil resistance tactics designed to mobilize and create change. – International Center on Nonviolent Conflict ICNC, Kelly Fielding, Robyn Gulliver, Winnifred Louis
Want to dig a little deeper? Delve into our range of research into climate activism and social change.
An Investigation into the Australian Environmental Movement’s Characteristics and Activities (Robyn Gulliver)
Research and insights conducted by Australian academic, Robyn Gulliver, on the Australian environmental movement and campaigners including their experiences, characteristics of the movement, activities, and campaigns.
The Characteristics, Activities and Goals of Australian Environmental Activist Groups (Kelly Fielding, Robyn Gulliver, Winnifred Louis)
A detailed examination of the Australian environmental movement demonstrated that in 2017 there were 497 groups undertaking environmental activism, almost half of which focused on conservation issues and worked at a local scale, while collectively running 960 different campaigns.
A Comparative Analysis of Australian Media Coverage of the 2019 Climate Protests (Robyn Gulliver)
In this report from the Activism Research Hub, Dr. Gulliver provides an analysis of Australian mainstream media coverage of climate activism and protests in 2019.
Civil Resistance Against Climate Change: What, when, who and how effective? (International Center on Nonviolent Conflict ICNC, Kelly Fielding, Robyn Gulliver, Winnifred Louis)
Using a large dataset of 497 Australian environmental groups and over 35,000 environmental actions, this monograph considers what climate activism – specifically climate change civil resistance – looks like, how it is changing, and what it is achieving.
Social Movements and the (Mis)use of Research: Extinction Rebellion and the 3.5% rule (Kyle R Matthews)
In this article, which originally appeared in Interface Journal, Kyle R Matthews analyses how applicable research into social movements seeking regime change is for protest movements in liberal democracies.
Making Change: What works? (Harry Quilter-Pinner, Laurie Laybourn-Langton, Nicolas Treloar)
This report analyses what worked and didn’t work for four movements from recent decades, exploring some of their strengths and weaknesses.
How Emotions Mobilise and Sustain the Anti-Coal Seam Gas Movement (Robyn Gulliver)
In this study of the anti-coal seam gas movement in regional Australia the authors found that the combination of anger with the joy of connecting with the community helped sustain the movement over time.
What Helps Motivate People to Take Action? (Kelly Fielding, Robyn Gulliver, Winnifred Louis)
What helps motivate people to take action? Learn from this research from the University of Queensland that analysed the website communication of almost 500 Australian environmental groups.
Global Atlas of Environmental Justice: Environmental Conflicts in Australia (Environmental Justice Atlas)
The environmental justice atlas documents and catalogues social conflict around environmental issues.
Climate Book Reviews, Podcasts and Media
Many ordinary people became accidental and reluctant activists who cannot unsee the injustice and maladministration of our supposed ‘democratic’ process. – Julie Lyford
- Radicals: Outsiders Changing the World – Book Review (Jamie Bartlett, Robyn Gulliver)
- Environmental Movements and Activism around the World – Book and Videos (Marco Giugni, Maria Grasso, Winnifred Louis)
- The Advocates: Women within the Australian Environmental Movement – Book Extract (Jill L Ferguson, Robyn Gulliver)
- A Strategy for Climate Insurgency – Book Extract (Jeremy Brecher)
- Climate Resistance Handbook Or, I was part of a climate action. Now what? – Book Extract (350.org, Daniel Hunter)
- Our Hearts in Transition – Book Review (Holly Hammond)
- Groundswell Gloucester: Fighting and Winning against Fracking – Book Extract (John Watts, Julie Lyford)
Podcasts and Webinars
- 5 Podcasts All About COP26 (Robyn Gulliver)
- ChangeMaker Chat with Jean Hinchcliffe: What does it take for a teenager to turn into a planet defender? – Podcast (Amanda Tattersall)
- ChangeMaker Chat with Craig Reucassel: Climate Change – Podcast (Amanda Tattersall)
- ChangeMaker Chat with Margaret Salamon: Climate Change and Psychology – Podcast (Amanda Tattersall)
- Changemaker Chat with Fiona Lee: Bushfire survivor and Climate Change Advocate – Podcast (Amanda Tattersall)
- Climate and Disaster Capitalism – Webinar Recording (Australian Progress)
- Imagining a Future We Can Create Together – Plenary Recording (Australian Progress)
Contribute to the Commons
Do you have an important story to tell about climate campaigning? Has your group figured out an innovative new practice or developed skills others in the climate movement could benefit from? Consider writing an article for the Commons Library. Contact the Commons Librarians to discuss your idea and see our Guide to Writing for the Commons.
- 350.org (Organisation)
- Bushfires_Forest fires
- Campaigning - Strategy
- Climate action
- Climate change
- Direct action - Non violent NVDA
- Environmental protection
- Frontline Action on Coal (FLAC)
- Movements_Campaigns - Anti mining
- Movements_Campaigns - Anti mining (Coal)
- Movements_Campaigns - Anti mining - Adani (Coal mine)
- Movements_Campaigns - Climate action and justice
- Movements_Campaigns - Climate action and justice - Aotearoa/New Zealand
- Movements_Campaigns - Climate Action and Justice - Ende Gälende
- Movements_Campaigns - Climate action and Justice - Extinction Rebellion
- Movements_Campaigns - Climate action and justice - School Strike for Climate SS4C
- Movements_Campaigns - Climate action and justice - Sunrise Movement
- Movements_Campaigns - Environment_Nature
- Petroleum pipelines
- Petroleum Pipelines - Keystone XL Project
- Sunrise Movement (Organisation)
- Unions- Climate Change