Whether you’re a seasoned activist or a first-time organiser, here is a simple guide to get you started. Actions can range from big city-wide marches to just a few friends, so not all of these steps may apply.
Basic Organising Guide:
How to Plan, Recruit, Report-Back, and More
1) Bring together a coordinating team
Bring together a core team of people with the necessary skills or expertise that you require for your action. Remember to involve partner organisations who can either be part of your core team or will be tactical allies with whom you share ideas and information.
Invite your friends, neighbours, and local organisations to assist in sponsoring, organising and participating in the action. Reach out to the local church, mosque, synagogue, labour union, sports team, university, or arts cooperative that would be interested in getting involved in the issue. Send them the link to your event page, so they can sign up and spread the word.
Decide on the message, the action and the location. Ensure that you have a clear and well articulated message that you wish to communicate to your audience, whether they be media, government, partners, or community members.
For the Global Climate March, here is a very simple and relatively easy way to participate:
Share a group photo from an iconic site, such as a fossil fuel extraction zone, a specific fossil energy plant, areas under threat from climate change effects, renewable energy structures in your community, or other locations connected with the climate struggle using the #climatemarch hashtag.
The beauty of global days of action is the variety and creativity of actions organised across the world. Common action ideas include organising a walk or a march through your town or city, a rally with speakers and music in your central plaza, a hike, a potluck, a community discussion, or a service project. Whatever your action, be sure to think about the best photo opportunity to capture your action and everyone who attends – photos are the primary way we link up actions worldwide and tell our story.
See below for more action ideas.
Take care of all logistical details as soon as you can, including the timing of the action, directions, transportation, bathrooms, sound system, permits for use of public spaces, sponsorships etc. if you need them.
6) Spread the Word
Make a plan to reach out. Set a goal for how many people you’d like to see at the event and try to create a plan for reaching far more than that number. It’s important to really understand who you are trying to reach. Outline who you specifically want to come, and then think about where those groups of people go to get their information. Is it the local radio? Is it through Facebook? Develop a plan for how to engage them.
Ensure that you register your event. Invite and link up with partner organisation interested in your action. 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, share on social media, send out emails, write editorials for local newspapers, get on community calendars, ask organisations to include the action information in newsletters and bulletins and put up posters all over town.
Spreading the word takes everyone! Make sure all team members, volunteers are also sharing about why they are participating on their own social media.
7) Create your visuals
Signs, photos, banners are key to getting the message across to passers-by and the media. If you can, host a time to paint banners and signs before your action, and invite volunteers to come. Banners and signs with the local messages like “keep it in the ground” or “100% clean energy” and “climate justice now” will help link all the marches happening around the world.
8) Inform the Media
It’s important to contact local, state, and national media to make sure they report on Global Climate March actions in your area. Think about what print, radio, television, and online sources you’d want to have cover your event and start getting in touch now! Here’s a very useful media guide.
9) Take Action
The months of planning culminate in this moment! Share your photos on Facebook and other social media such as Twitter and Instagram with the #climatemarch hashtag. Also send it to your friends and press contacts. Have a fun and meaningful day, knowing that you’re part of a global effort to create pressure to solve the climate crisis.
10) Report Back
This part is very important: As soon as your action is over, be sure to select your best photo, video footage and written stories from your action and submit them. This will enable organizations coordinating the day of action to deliver the strongest possible message to the media and to the world’s decision-makers.
The Global Climate March is an opportunity for people to take action on climate change everywhere and to amplify one another’s voices. The biggest march will likely be in Paris, but we need both negotiators in Paris and local decision makers to know that the rest of us are watching.
Even though it’s called the “Global Climate March”, your action can take a variety of forms, including:
If your community has a large and active climate movement, consider organising a big march through the center of town. Your march can focus on stopping a particular fossil fuel project, demand progress on developing renewable energy, or both. With enough people, marches are a powerful way to get your message into the street (and into the media). They’re loud, they’re often disruptive, and they jolt people out of their ordinary day to make a visceral point. Make sure to go big on banners, signs, and visually-compelling elements (click here to check out our “artivism” guide), and have a plan for chants, march leaders, etc.
Like marches, rallies help push your message into the public sphere in a visceral way. They’re loud, they take up physical space, and they disrupt business as usual — especially if you’re right downtown. Like marches, they also work best if you have a strong group of people (but you don’t have to have quite as big a group as a march). Rallies are a great way to fire up the crowd — everybody loves to cheer! — educate the public about the nuances of your issue, and give partner & allied groups space to speak. Consider having different speakers address a particular fossil fuel project that your group is fighting to shut down and/or a project or piece of legislation that will help scale up renewable energy in your area. Rallies & marches = better together!
Iconic Action Photos
If your town or group is on the smaller side — or if this day of action falls on a holiday weekend when a lot of folks will be out of town — consider organising an iconic action photo that can be part of the virtual “march”. As long as your photo conveys our collective demands (turn off fossil fuels, and turn on a just transition to 100% renewable energy) then you can be part of sending a message to Paris. Consider taking your photo from an iconic site — a fossil fuel extraction project, a dirty power plant, or another location connected with the climate fight. If there’s nothing like that accessible, organise your action in a place that’s recognisably your city, town, or community (e.g. the town hall, a famous bridge, or a famous view of your city skyline). This type of action can be pretty easy and quick to organise, and could involve a banner drop, a simple gathering of people, or any kind of peaceful action that leverages the location you have chosen and sends a message. Send your message through banners, signs, props, or other creative visual elements!
Turn off fossil fuels, turn on a just transition to 100% renewables
Our demands for Paris: Keep 80% of fossil fuels in the ground and invest in a just transition to 100% renewable energy. That’s what we’re asking people to amplify on the eve of the big summit, and that’s our theme for the day of action.
Turn off fossil fuels, and turn on a just transition to 100% renewables.
Turn off dirty, dangerous fossil fuels. Turn on distributed renewable energy that builds community power. Turn off the local coal plant or fracking well or oil pipeline. Turn on rooftop solar or offshore wind or policies that democratise renewable energy for all. Turn off the corrupting influence of massive corporations in our political system, and turn on people power.
This isn’t about turning off the lights (or switching light bulbs). It’s not about easy solutions individuals can take to marginally reduce their impact. It’s about a planet-wide shift away from the dirty, dangerous energy that’s killing us, and toward clean, renewable energy for everyone.
It’s up to you to decide what this looks like for your community. Even though the global event is called the “Global Climate March”, your action can take a much different form. We’re looking to you for creative ideas! Here are some action ideas to get you started:
Rally your friends and neighbors at a fossil fuel infrastructure site with a banner that says “If we’re going to keep 80% of fossil fuels in the ground, we need to turn THIS off”
Rally your friends and neighbors at a proposed coal plant site with a banner that says “Climate safety means turning off coal. This coal plant can never be built!”
Rally at a renewable energy site with a banner that says “Turn on 100% renewable energy!”
Rally your community at an iconic location where you live with a message like “Portland, Oregon says Keep Fossil Fuels in the Ground”
If visually compelling fossil fuel or renewable energy sites aren’t accessible nearby, have some fun with it — dress up with dinosaur costumes and a “turn off fossil fuels” banner!
Organise a crowd of people to “flip cards” with a “Turn off fossils” message on one side and “turn on solutions” on the other.
Play around with the on/off power button symbol and link it with fossil fuels and solutions.
Host a fossil fuel free gathering featuring the group “turning on solutions” like solar cookers and cycling to run the event.
If you’re feeling ambitious, organise a big march with “Turn Fossil Fuels Off” and “Turn Renewables On” contingents. Make sure your “off” and “on” signs have high visual impact.
Come up with your own creative way to express “Turn off fossil fuels, and turn on a just transition to 100% renewables.”
There are a lot of organisations involved in the Global Climate March. Other groups might draw the line differently, or prioritise another aspect of what a just transition might look like. But we think it’s about moving the world away from fossil fuels — immediately and entirely — and that’s the message we want to send as the Paris Climate Summit kicks off.
In the U.S.?
Join an organizing call:
Since actions in the U.S. will fall on a holiday weekend, many of these actions will look a little different. Join a series of organizing calls with our North American staff to share information and creative ideas, learn skills, and more.