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As Earth Day comes and goes, don't let your green resolve slide. This year we all need to pitch in to make sure our leaders act on climate change at December's Paris summit. Here's a step-by-step guide to leading the charge.
You can’t change the world without mustering some inner mojo first. Best way to do that is to get a good dose of inspiration. Hot Docs is screening over a dozen enviro documentaries between now and May 3, including Fractured Land, Polar Sea 360° and How To Change The World (see Q&A). Scope out eco docs on Netflix like Chasing Ice and Mission Blue and hold a screening party of your own. Don’t forget to catch up on some must-read motivational texts: Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything and Sheila Watt-Cloutier’s The Right To Be Cold, to name two. Stay in the daily loop at desmog.ca, ecowatch.com and dailyclimate.org.
Shake off those cobwebs of disaffection by teaming up with like-minded souls. Virtually every environmental org on the continent is ramping up its campaigns this year and looking for helping hands. Passionate about fighting climate change? Toronto’s branch of 350.org would love to see you at their weekly planning meetings, and Greenpeace is always looking for volunteers. Prefer to help build a green roof, plant trees, fundraise or boost social media for an eco org? Check out the green volunteer (and job) listings at goodwork.ca or approach one of the eco orgs at oen.ca or rcen.ca to see if they need help.
Want to sharpen your change-making skills? Sign up for the Climate Reality Project’s free training weekend with Al Gore in July (climaterealitytraining.org). In the meantime, consider a workshop designed to develop the very know-how you need to change the world from the ground up. ToolsforChange.org, a project of OPIRG Toronto/York, Earthroots, Greenpeace Canada and the Community Action Centre of the Student Association at George Brown College, offers courses on non-violent communication, how to organize a workshop or direct action, as well as how to talk on camera and be a good spokesperson for your cause. Workshops range from $20 to $50 scholarships available.
Spend time pushing for a more ecologically enlightened planet and it’s easy to succumb to frustration or anger. If we want a world free from destruction, war and injustice, Indian philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti said, we’ve got to root out the seeds of aggression in our own minds. If we want peace, we’ve got to be the peace, in our thoughts, words and actions. It starts with fostering compassion for all (even our adversaries), flipping fear into fearlessness, anger into love. Sounds flaky, but more activists are tapping into that vibe as a powerful uniting force promoting positive change. Try a daily dose of meditation to keep you in that frame of mind and fend off the anxiety that can burn an earth-lover out.
This is the year of all years to make sure whoever gets elected federally is committed to steering us away from a climate-cooking dead-end economy. If you’re not actually running yourself, Stepupcanada.ca asks you to contact your MP and tell her or him you’re only voting for a party that commits to legally binding greenhouse gas targets. Leadnow.ca is working to make sure Canadians get behind candidates who can swing the vote away from the fossil fuel agenda. Sign up to help support their efforts. If strategic voting isn’t for you, keep an eye on GreenPAC (greenpac.ca), which is focused on endorsing, electing and celebrating strong green champs from all political parties. However you vote, we can’t change the world without changing Canada first.