If you’re wondering how to build a powerful, strategic movement that can make big wins for climate action, this is your guide.
The Climate Resistance Handbook brings together a wealth of learnings from the climate justice movement. It starts with breaking social myths about how social movements win. Then dives into campaign tools and frameworks you can use. It closes with how to grow your group and use creative, impactful actions and tactics.
This book is full of stories of climate warriors from around the globe and historical movements. It’s filled with practical wisdom and inspiration to make you more effective, more active, and ready for what’s next.
A crucial book for a crucial moment. If you’re wondering ‘How can I help change the world?’ this book will give you some powerful answers. – Bill McKibben, founder 350.org
Foreword by Greta Thunberg
Chapter 1 – Movements
- Social Movements are like a wave
- Myths of social movements
- The upside down triangle
- Analysing the pillars of support
- Power flowing from below in Canada
- Next steps
Chapter 2 – Campaigns
- Campaigns are expressions of love
- Replace endless actions with goals
- How to create a campaign
- Use the Spectrum of Allies
- Move the Rock
- Next steps
Chapter 3 – Growth
- Movements need a structure
- Act, Recruit, Train
- Window shade theory of leadership
- Identify the core values of ‘Us’
- The Ladder of Engagement
- Recruit people outside your circle
- Next steps
Chapter 4 – Tactics
- Actions have a tone
- Adapt tactics to external events
- Plan two actions ahead
- Dilemma demonstrations
- Next Steps
Chapter 5 – Closing
Introduction (pgs 5 – 6)
I organised my first action in my quiet hometown. A group of us marched downtown. We sang songs. We chanted. We arrived at city hall. I hadn’t thought through what it would look like to confront our mayor. So we showed up and gave impromptu messages.
We triumphantly returned home, having delivered our message. Since nobody does activism in my hometown, this was front-page news. I quivered with excitement as I read my quotes in the city newspaper.
The following days I had two strong — and different — feelings. One feeling was proud excitement. I had a rush of adrenaline from the risks we had taken. I was proud of our song leaders. Our speakers. None of us had done anything like that before. I was proud of all of us who gave up time hanging with friends or catching up on schoolwork and, instead, participated in the action.
Over the next days, the glow of the action faded. I became aware of a second feeling. It was close to a stomach-clenching worry. I feared it wasn’t enough or that the action hadn’t worked as well as we had hoped. I saw that nothing immediately changed afterwards, even though we felt so powerful. I wondered if it was worth it. Doubt crept in.
I sat with two different feelings: the sense of success and the worry that we didn’t really make a change. I could have given in to either of them. But instead, I began to wonder:
- What’s strategic here?
- How do my local actions add up to real changes?
- How do we move from one-time actions to a whole movement, where all kinds of people from all walks of life are joined together in common cause?
This book is for those of you who, like me, have been part of an action and wanted to know: What’s next? How can I not only feel — but be — more powerful?
The sense of urgency on climate has never been higher than now. We are in a serious crisis. If humans want to have a planet like the one we have lived on for millions of years, we have to adjust. We have to change. We have to do it quickly.
Thankfully, we have a wealth of elders to learn from. Regular people have changed the course of history. They have overthrown iron-fisted governments, fought for inclusion, for more democratic and fair systems. While those in power resisted, those with less power used social movements to force change.
We can learn from them that change does not happen just because an issue is important. People have to wage a struggle to fight for the Earth’s climate. This is because the climate has an array of enemies: governments, corporations, media sources, and at times our own consumption and behavior.
So we need to bind together to create the strongest movement possible.
Movements win because they channel the feelings of urgency, anger, fear — and our sense of this being wrong — into a force for change.
If you’re with me, then this book is for you. Let’s begin!
Social Movements are like a Wave (pgs 9 – 10)
There are lots of lessons on how social movements win in this story. You win by using a range of tactics. You escalate so that you keep applying more force on your opposition. You win by ignoring the people who say you can’t win. You organise allies, you sacrifice, and you keep active.
One key lesson is they helped birth a movement.
Movements are forces of collective energy, carrying deep emotions like anger and love and moved by hopes and dreams for large-scale change. You know it’s a movement because of the momentum and growing energy.
Movements are like a wave. They are a bundle of energy made up of many parts. The movement is not just one group or organisation. The MDU was joined by teachers, workers, and monks. Each group had its own part, its own methods, its own tactics. But the overall feeling was what made it a movement.
Movements are sometimes easier to see from afar (which is why, in this book, I tell stories both of climate justice movements and other social movements). When we’re in the middle of a movement, it can look chaotic and disorderly.
Movements are not clean. They are messy. And when inside them, we are painfully aware of their short‐ comings.
Most people don’t notice movements when they are small. No‐ body in Mongolia knew how big that frst protest was going to be‐ come. People only notice movements when the wave has gotten big enough.
This fact is important because it makes the humble work each of us does, however we are contributing, meaningful if we are in touch with the energy of the movement. Understanding movements helps us understand how our actions are part of a bigger whole
- Dutch – Nederlands
- French – Français
- German – Deutsch
- Indonesian – Bahasa Indonesia
- Japanese – 日本
- Portuguese – Português
- Climate action
- Movements_Campaigns - Climate action and justice
- Social change
- Dutch - Nederlands
- French - Français
- German - Deutsch
- Indonesian - Bahasa Indonesia
- Japanese - 日本
- Portuguese - Português
- Russian - Pусский