Search below for resources covering the intersection of climate engagement, social science and data analytics.
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The North Star State has a new North Star: 100 percent clean electricity by 2040. Minnesota joined 10 other states, along with the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, in creating laws that require a transition to 100 percent carbon-free electricity—highlighting a trend of state-level action to act on climate, create local jobs, lower energy costs, and reduce deadly pollution. MN Representative Jamie Long, Majority Leader of the Minnesota House, and advocacy group Fresh Energy executive director Michael Noble played key roles in making 100 percent clean electricity the law of the land in the state. This resource includes an interview with them about the process leading to this new Minnesota policy. A big coalition of interest groups supportive of this policy was necessary for its passage. The bill passed full Democratic support and zero Republican support. The coalition included small business, families, family-supporting jobs and labor and trade unions, environmental justice groups, environmental groups, and traditional advocates for renewable energy.
What determines the success of movements today?
New research from the Social Change Lab offers key insights into the three main factors that lead to protest wins. First, nonviolent tactics are more likely to lead to successful outcomes relative to violent outcomes—experts consulted were reasonably confident that violence is a less effective approach and the literature supported their view. Second, size of protests is really key, with better-attended protests meaning a higher chance of policy changes and other desired outcomes. Third, favorable sociopolitical context like pre-existing public opinion, the response of the media, whether there are elites (like politicians or celebrities) who support the cause, as well as blind luck are helpful for facilitating successful political outcomes.
Campaign Communications Course
This free course is designed to help grassroots groups to understand the basics of public communications for building a convincing, winning campaign. It can support groups looking for skills on crafting targeted messaging and framing to move people towards social change. You might want to campaign to fight your opponents, convince new audiences, or mobilize audiences that already support your cause. Each of these objectives requires specific communication strategies. The course includes defining public campaigning, communications basics, campaign objectives (neutralizing, informing, persuading and mobilizing), reaching your target group and storytelling. This takes approximately 5 hours to review. Deep dive sections may add 3-4 more hours. Group discussion time may vary.
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.”
3 reasons local climate activism is more powerful than people realize
When people speak up and work together, they can spur powerful changes. Research and history suggest that local action is more powerful than many people realize. First, much of the policy change that can affect climate change is local rather than national. Second, local wins can become contagious. Third, local action can trigger national policy, spread to other countries and ultimately trigger global agreements. Yet, while 70% of American adults describe climate change as an important concern, only 10% say they volunteered for an activity focused on addressing climate change or contacted an elected official about it in the previous year. Polls show some people see how money from wealthy industries and individuals influences politicians and don’t believe politicians listen to the public, and others are distracted by arguments that can tamp down engagement, such as campaigns that urge people to focus on individual recycling, or ask why the U.S. should do more if other countries aren’t. A description of the book on which these argument are based can be found here: https://aronclimatecrisis.net/
What I learned building self-managing teams of volunteers at Sunrise Movement
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.
Risktaker Pulse: How Social Movement Leaders Fight for a Better Future
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.
Using Qualitative & Quantitative Research to Understand Rural Communities of Color
Rural voters of color need to see and hear from their local elected officials and candidates often, and not just before an election. They aren’t looking for pie in the sky plans; they want leaders to execute and to see results. When leaders deliver on priorities, it needs to be clear WHO delivered to get credit and build trust in the electoral process to make change. Unbiased, accessible candidate guides may empower these voters to participate. Motivating messages should reinforce their power to change things at the local level and reinforce community pride and the value of their opinions. We are not reaching these voters if we are not on social media and radio. This resource used both in-depth interviews and large-N surveys of Black, Latinx, and indigenous voters and nonvoters.
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.
Grassroots Guide: Navigating Turnover In Activist Groups
There are some key strategies that grassroots groups can employ to avoid dissolving. These are especially helpful for student-run groups, which can struggle to pass along the group's resources and knowledge to the next generation of student organizers, as many lack a permanence of structure. These strategies include: support and guide new members via training and upskilling; build institutional memory; create a blueprint for group operations; have strong onboarding and outboarding processes; institutionalize involvement; engage with the student association/body; get teachers to support your campaign(s); outline institutions in your school; get support from staff unions; and create solidarity with staff causes. This report describes these strategies in detail. Some specific challenges by student groups have included: divestment organizers were concerned about groups who won and didn’t know where to go from there; groups have been struggling to navigate online organizing; there are ongoing concerns related to general turnover and capacity when students graduate (particularly those who have been members of a group for a while; a lack of support from former members leads to more energy and time needed to restart after a high rate of turnover; anger towards the school administration leads to forgetting about turnover periods, thus the workload for the next semester is larger.