Draw the Line Organizer's Guide
Winning this fight is about bringing people together and organizing. A day of action is a great opportunity to do that -- no matter how organized your community is already you can draw more people into the movement, educate and inspire.
This day of action will have lots of different manifestations -- you should get creative to show our concern and power. From coast to coast, Draw the Line actions will make concrete our commitment to stopping Keystone XL and the tar sands -- and send the message that it’s time for President Obama to step up as well. We need your photos to help Draw the Line.
In this guide you will find:
1. Ideas for action
2. A 10-step Guide for planning your action
3. How to take the best possible photo of your action
4. Sample Media Materials
5. Instructions for how to submit your photos and next steps
Here are some ideas for actions you can organize:
Other creative action ideas you can use:
GIANT Chalk Line - Use this easy guide to make GIANT sidewalk chalk. Bring them to your action and draw your line at a significant location. If you want to make them even BIGGER than in this tutorial, you can use plastic soda bottles.
Impact Lines - Draw your line using materials that tell a story of local climate impacts: drought-stricken crops, dried mud from an overflowing river, snow, charcoal from a forest fire, etc. Think about where your action takes place as part of that storytelling.
Dividing Line - Make a line and show different possible futures on each side. One side can highlight the problems of our fossil fuel addiction while the other side shows the community-focused solutions that will make us more resilient. Use puppets, paint, or street theater like this to show what these possible futures look like.
Reverse Graffiti Lines - Find somewhere dirty and draw a line through it with a wet rag or sponge. Perhaps there are some dirty walls near a local coal-plant or shipping yard. Write “Draw the Line” somewhere on it.
Cut Along The Lines - Draw a big chalk dotted line around something you want out of your community. Make some giant cardboard scissors and symbolically cut along the line.
Story Lines - Draw, or invite a group of people to draw together, on a long piece of paper or fabric. Pass this around a crowd and you can see a story go by just like this. Sing along and set the mood right!
Long Line Dance (by LinkDance) - This dance is comprised of a ton of people standing in a very long, single file line, all facing one direction, standing shoulder to shoulder. The dance is a series of 4-7 simple movements in total. The transmission concept is that each movement would get initiated by a leader at one end of the line and just passed along through the group as people emulate the person to their left until all have it. The lead person at the top end would just keep feeding the new movements into the group and they pass along. Because the number of total movements is limited, these movements would become familiar as they cycle back around.
Flash Mob Lines - This one is simple, set a time and place to meet up and form a line. Stand silently, or sing, or sit in place for 5 minutes. Practice before hand if you want it to go really smooth.
Spectrum Lines - Form lines of people and ask them questions dichotomous questions (ex. I am ready to get arrested to stop the KXL pipeline). Designate one answer at one end (ex. very ready) and another answer at the other (ex. not for me). Ask a question and have people stand where their answer would be, ask people about why they are there.
Click here to download banners:
Click here to download 3' x 10' banners that you can use to make your event look awesome.
The 10-step guide to organizing your event:
Draw your Line - it’s easy if you break it down into simple steps. Follow the 10 steps below and you’re on your way to having a successful event!
1. Bring together a team and register your event. It’s more fun to work together. Call up friends, leaders in your city, and allied organisations that you think would want to get involved. When you’ve got a basic idea in place, register your event on the website so other people can find you and join in. Host a first meeting to get to know everyone and start brainstorming. Register your event here >>
2. Set some goals. Draw the Line is about identifying climate impacts and holding the President to his KXL word. Your group can define the goals for your event, such as educating or involving a certain number of people in your community, or bringing a demand for climate action to a local official.
3. Plan your event. Time to get down to details– let’s figure out how you can make your voices heard through action:
- What – How will you “draw the line?” Is your action directly addressing a climate impact you’re witnessing in your community, or standing in solidarity?
- Where – Is there an easily accessible location where people can meet? What symbolic locations can be incorporated, such as visible demonstrations of climate impacts?
- When – what time will your action begin and end?
4. Recruit, recruit, recruit! Set a goal for how many people you’d like to see on September 21st and try to create a plan for reaching 10 times that number of people, (assuming that only 10% of the people you contact can show up). 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, and getting on community calendars are a few ways to get the word out.
5. Details, details, details. As with planning most events, you’ll have to deal with some basic logistics. If you are gathering a lot of people in a public space you will want to consider permits for your location; the schedule and gathering any speakers if you’ll hold a rally at the beginning or end (make sure to include time for a photo!); When you have all these details together, be sure to publish the key information publicly on your local website, community calendar, and fliers.
6. Designate Team Roles. Here are some roles to keep in mind. Filling as many of these as possible will help your event run smoothly: action bottom-liner, media liaison, social media person, photographer, recruitment coordinator. If you need them, here are a few more roles that can be helpful: someone in charge of speakers, marshals to guide folks in creating your line, chant leaders,
7. Get creative. Artistic signs, colorful banners, and fun chants and songs are some of the best ways to get people excited for your action, and to send your message in a clear and positive way. Host a time to paint banners and signs before your action, and invite volunteers to come. Have some sample messages so that people don’t go too off topic with their signs. And don’t forget, we’re encouraging everyone to draw a LINE on their signs and banners so that we have a single symbol to unite all the actions Check out the creative action ideas above as well.
8. Invite the press. The media is one of the best ways to make our voices heard. It’s important to figure out early who the reporters who cover environment are at your local paper, radio station, and TV station, and try to build a relationship. A week out from your event you’ll want to send a media advisory, followed by a call to make sure they’ve received it. On the day of you’ll want to send a press release, and make another call to make sure they come out!
9. Draw the Line! On the big day, gather your friends and action materials and get out in the streets. Make sure everyone speaking or being interviewed by press knows the key messages you’re trying to send that day, and don’t forget to document with photo and video! We’re hoping to have a big group photo from every event that features all of our beautiful lines.
10. Report back and keep organizing. After the event, we’re asking everyone to send in their photos and videos to help us create a shared story. After your media has been uploaded, take a breath, and celebrate with your team. Be sure to thank everyone who helped, and plan a follow-up meeting as soon as you can. Assess what went well, where you could have improved, and start planning your next steps for building the movement!
How to take a photo that makes your action look its best
1. Check the camera. Make sure that it works, someone knows how to use it, and that its batteries are fully charged. Use the best digital camera you can find, and ask someone with the most knowledge of photography to take the photo. If possible, organize a backup camera.
2. Gather your people. It’s crucial that you gather everyone together at your action for your photo – this is how we can show our leaders just how big this movement is. Think about a location where you’ll be able to capture a photo of everyone present.
3. Show your line. We can’t “draw the line” without lines! Use signs, banners, the people, cardboard, canoes, found objects, or whatever else you can think of to draw your line. We will use your photos with lines to tell the story of what climate change is already doing to the planet and its people.
4. Show us where you are. If possible, include local landmarks or typical surroundings of your area in your picture. If you live in a city, have some buildings in the shot, or if you live by the sea, let’s see some water. Be careful not to make the people and the 350 too small in the picture, though.
5. Take more than one picture! It’s easy to take a few shots of groups, also from different angles or closer and further away. This will allow you a choice from which you can select your best images. Be creative with some of your shots!
6. Check the pictures. Most digital cameras allow you to instantly review your pictures. Make sure your pictures look OK before everyone goes home.
7. IMPORTANT: Send us your best image. We ask that you submit your best photos as soon as you can — and you can get instructions on how to do that below Good luck! We can’t wait to see your images!
Here’s an example photo:
How to submit your photo
To submit your photos, just send us an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and follow the instructions below.Add your photos as attachments, making sure not to exceed individual photo size of 3MB.
- Submit only one photo per email.
- Use your city and state as the subject.
- The body of your email will be the caption for your photos. Include a compelling one-sentence description of your event and what is happening in the photo.
- Include any photographer credits in the e-mail body/caption.
- Send your email to email@example.com
If you have videos to upload or share, you can do so here. All submitted photos and action report content may be reproduced under an Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 license.
- A press advisory, for before your event
- A press release for during and after your event
- Talking points for when you speak with the media
Next steps after you Draw the Line:
To keep people together and organized, you need a next step. 350 will be working on putting together materials that you can use for informational town halls to bring in more people to the campaign. Hosting a town hall and using the presentation is a good way to capitalize on interest in your community generated by your action.
President Obama is expected to make his decision in the coming months, perhaps before the year ends. This is our chance to make history together -- let’s draw our line, and organize to defend it.