Search below for resources covering the intersection of climate engagement, social science and data analytics.
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The Innovation Hub is here to empower data learning and strategy among environmental organizations. The Partnership project works directly with data strategists and communications teams at partner organizations to assess common needs and opportunities that can be met with data, and designs original research and experiments, pilot new methods and data tools, and highlight innovative projects. This website share what is being learned through case studies and playbooks, webinars and meetups, newsletters. Workstreams include “extreme weather insights and targeting,” “GOTV and civic engagement,” “membership match resources,” “more insights and data.”
While radical nonviolent protesters are often ridiculed and hated, there is little evidence that their tactics have negative consequences for the overall movement. There are myriad benefits to employing more radical tactics. Radical tactics, which by definition are actions that are somewhat abnormal, receive much more attention than moderate actions. Radical tactics can increase support for the moderate factions of the climate movement. Radical tactics can increase the percentage of people who think the environment was the most important issue facing a country—for example, when Extinction Rebellion London blocked Central London for 10 days in a row, the percentage of Brits who thought the environment was the most important issue increased from roughly 18-28%. Radical tactics can increase willingness to take part in certain forms of activism. In April 2022, a poll found an increase of 1.7 percentage points in the number of people saying they were willing to take various forms of climate action.
Here are some tactics to use to successfully build a distributed voter contact program. In this resource, the Sunrise Movement’s former distributed director shares their lessons learned. Lesson one: Make time for a team launch, which is critically important for setting up a team that will work together effectively, improve over time, and contribute to the members' growth and learning. Lesson two: Create a team charter to serve as a reference during team calls, when orienting a new member, at a relaunch event, or whenever it's helpful to review the team's purpose and norms. Lesson three: Make norms explicit in order to protect against the assumption that everyone on the team enters with the same background, culture, and experiences and should be able to "read our minds" and guess our preferred ways of working together. The team launch and building the charter together creates commitment to the team and work outcomes, motivation for the work ahead, a sense of belonging, and shared ownership over team processes and outcomes.
Social movement leaders (aka “risktakers”) in Europe argue for four key lessons that could prove valuable for other movement leaders in the U.S. Unleash the power of networks: partnerships within and across countries can exponentially increase the effectiveness of each participant and the network as a whole. Tell a compelling narrative, also in collaboration with artists and creative minds: it’s important to tell a clear and accessible story about who they are and what they want to achieve—there is great potential in teaming up with artists and creative minds, who are often risktakers in their own right. Fight misinformation and disinformation: it’s important to fight misinformation and disinformation by (1) building strong relationships with media outlets and media personalities, (2) using social media strategically and (3) liaising more directly with government officials. Diversify systems of funding: the larger social movement ecosystem can offer quick and unbureaucratic access to much-needed resources.
Climate change is largely absent in scripted entertainment—but there are ways for entertainment creators to improve. Just 2.8% of all scripts included any climate-related keywords, and only 0.6% of scripted TV and films mentioned the specific term “climate change.” When extreme weather events are mentioned, they are rarely linked to climate change (10%). Similarly, when climate change is mentioned, it is rarely discussed alongside the fossil fuel industry (12%) or individual climate actions (8%). And yet, there is audience demand for climate portrayals. Survey respondents believe the average American is less concerned about the climate crisis than they are personally. Still, they retain hope. Those who are hopeful about climate solutions are 3.5 times more likely to say they want to see climate portrayals in fictional entertainment. To improve climate references in mainstream entertainment, consider climate in all genres, connect the dots between climate causes and effects, give voice to climate anxiety, show the intersections between climate and other issues, and promote various climate actions.
Climate justice for Latino Americans means centering policies that achieve environmental, energy, and economic justice together. Latino/a/x households pay disproportionately high energy costs, low-income, Latino/a/x households and communities have so far been left behind in the transition to clean energy, and Latino/a/x workers need a pathway to clean energy jobs. Therefore, we need to invest with justice in clean energy, accelerate the transition to renewable energy (i.e., wind, solar, geothermal and small-scale hydropower), and advance economic equity and opportunity for Latino/a/x workers. This resource further details these problems and policy and political solutions, as related to transit, jobs, fossil fuel drilling, climate adaptation, clean water, voting rights, conservation, and more.
California activists paved the way for defining climate change as an air pollution problem—now it's federal law. Connecting climate change with something visceral and dangerous brings more immediacy to a problem that’s often seen as unfolding far away or in the future, even though it’s causing suffering now. “Climate pollution” is becoming common on the websites of green groups and atop news stories. It wasn’t always a popular move to link global warming with air quality. Environmental justice activists in California tried to popularize the phrase “climate pollution” starting around 2012. Framing climate change as an air quality problem is good persuasion strategy (as research shows), and it also validates long-standing concerns from communities that are threatened by industrial pollution.
Intersectional coalition organizing by groups against Amazon may provide lessons for climate groups looking to enhance their coalitional power. Make affirmative community demands. Coordinate local and national organizing toward a unified objective. Adjust priorities, objectives, and tactics to achieve wins—while remaining true to the movement’s values. Connect across issue areas and sectors. Support worker organizing across diverse locations and segments of Amazon. Build upon investigations to break up Amazon and other big tech companies.
Building long-lasting grassroots power requires centering concrete issues and the humanity of individuals you’re organizing. Many organizations in West Virginia are cultivating organizers, building organizations that can sustainably organize local communities according to their needs for years to come, incorporating mutual aid, and more, in an effort to win and wield political power. In this article, The Forge contributor Mat Hanson discussed organizational strategies with multiple people involved in grassroots power building in West Virginia: Katey Lauer, co-chair of West Virginia Can’t Wait; Nicole McCormick, a founding member of the West Virginia United caucus and rank-and-file leader in the successful teacher’s strike; Dr. Shanequa Smith of Restorative Actions and the Black Voters Impact Initiative; and Joe Solomon, the co-founder and co-director of Solutions Oriented Addiction Response (SOAR), a volunteer-based organization that advocates for harm-reduction strategies to the opioid crisis.
Ruptural moments are key to long-term movement victories. Ruptural moments by themselves rarely lead to substantive changes in people’s material conditions or the dismantling of the status quo; they need to be situated within a dynamic movement ecosystem. In a ruptural moment, thousands or hundreds of thousands of people hit the streets. Second, participants are willing to engage in a huge escalation of risk. Third, ruptural moments open a window into a change in thinking — opening the eyes of a society to the fact that a dictatorship is fragile or that Indigenous sovereignty must be respected or that Black folks have a different lived experience than white folks. In other words, in changing how space or public order works, ruptural moments contest the story of the dominant culture. Movement organizers can create ruptural moments by working for months in a disciplined way to achieve the scale necessary for something major to happen, or by a smaller group of organizers attempting something bold, enabling it to scale as others are captivated by the boldness of the tactic or demand and launch copycat actions or undergird the movement. And sometimes, unexpected events just happen that create ruptures.