I want to start this email with a reminder: “You are not alone”
We all waited for 2020 to be over – the health risks, the lockdowns, the corporate buyouts and lack of decisive action from our leaders, we all wanted it to be over so we can welcome the vaccines, pick up the momentum where we left it, pressure those in power to act. Then 2021 started with new strains, stricter lockdown, more pandemic deaths by the thousands, white supremacists terrorists going full looney and data showing 2020 was the hottest year on record.
It’s tempting to imagine change with a new year, that a new calendar would magically turn the leaf. But you – and this community of changemakers – know that the shift we need will come from hard work, people standing together, and quite frankly, a lot of organising.
The good news is that you are not alone in wanting to turn 2021 into a hopeful year. Here are a few things to get you inspired or get you to apply new skills in the continued struggle for justice.
The New Year started with another forest occupation, this time in the Carpathian Forest in Poland adjacent to the Bieszczady National Park. The untouched woods of this forest provide an ecosystem containing more than a dozen protected species as well as guard the surrounding areas from floods and droughts. Now, 30% of the area is marked for destruction.
On January 3rd, the activist group Wolfen Collective moved in to occupy the forest with a plan to ‘remain in the forest as long as it is necessary to protect the area’. You can follow the occupation on Twitter, share their story and/or reply to their call for support.
The climate crisis, right-wing populism, health crisis, discrimination of all kinds, economic and political pressure on poorer countries by the rich countries, injustice and inequality—we see something terribly wrong happening to our world and how we live together within it. Understandably, many of us feel hopeless. Can we really hope for a better world? What does a better world look like?
Greenpeace created a video series of activists covering topics of re-imagining tax, democratic ownership, stewarding nature and climate care.
A book by Andreas Malm
“…with the climate crisis raging, that question [‘what does escalation look like’] still haunts. With billions of lives — indeed, humanity itself — at stake, how far should the “movement of movements” for climate justice be willing to go? What should activists — not all of us, of course, but enough to make a difference — be willing to risk?”
Wen Stephenson interviews the author and activist Andreas Malm about his opinions on the state of activism and the “demise of revolutionary politics”
Disheartened by the inaction of civil authorities in this city located at the foothills of the Himalayas in India, a growing group of environmentalists — self-styled ‘Do-No-Trashers’ — have taken matters into their own hands towards a zero-trash and plastic-free hill city.
If you’ve got a story of ordinary people doing extraordinary things that you want us to amplify and show solidarity with, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by replying to us directly at [email protected]
Last year, we collected four stories of when activists stood up to the powerful, demanded justice, sometimes in the face of violence or fascism, and won. At these times when we are trying to keep our spirits high for the upcoming rebellions, it is good to look back and reflect on the successes that got us here.
Watch the video, and please share if you find it inspiring!
Like many of you, we here are in planning mode for 2021, thinking about our campaigns and how to build new ones. Strategy is difficult at the best of times and even harder during an ever changing landscape in a pandemic.
To help guide us in our process we dug up our video series “How To Build Your Campaign” from 2019. In this 5 part video course you get the background and tools to plan your own campaign from some inspiring activists! From campaign goals, objectives, clarifying your strategy, choosing your tactics and building a campaign plan – you can find it all here!
It’s the beginning of a new year and time to open a new chapter. If you’re focussed on planning a campaign or an action but are stuck on an issue or would like to get feedback from experienced activists, use the form below to join our Campaign Surgery, where we get you access to the collective knowledge, links, and expertise of our broad network.
We’ll bring together experienced people in the field to draw on their wealth of knowledge and help answer any burning questions you might have.
That’s it for now but you can always check our website www.europeanchangemakers.org for stories, webinars and tools.
and the rest of the Changemakers team
The best way to be notified about events coming up, new tools and tricks of the activist trade is to subscribe to our monthly bulletin here. We’ll also be featuring inspiring stories from The Movement Hub network in this update, so you can find out who’s working on what – and what’s working in their struggle for social and environmental justice.