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Reader’s Guide

tools for grassroots activists

Best Practices for Success in the Environmental Movement Edited by

Nora Gallagher & Lisa Myers


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introduction “We must tie our battles together under a grand overreaching vision of peaceful co-existence between human civilization and the whole wild diversity of native North American fauna and flora, a different vision than the world of malls and sleazy suburban development, clear cuts and parking lots that our opponents are offering. People of the entire continent need a new vision.” (p. 234). As Dave Foreman so eloquently states in his keynote speech, “Dancing Planet,” humanity is in dire need of a new vision that acknowledges our connection to the natural world and the stewardship that it requires. This vision, however, is threatened by powerful institutions and industries that work to maintain humankind’s exploitative relationship with the environment. Unfortunately for these forces, they must contend with a growing number of grassroots environmental activists who refuse to allow the natural world to be razed and ruined. These are the activists who protest against pipelines, fight for the establishment of national parks, and who work diligently to protect natural habitats and wildlife in regions both near and far. Patagonia published Tools for Grassroots Activists to assist these individuals in their many battles, and this Reader’s Guide was written with this same purpose in mind. Whether you are a seasoned activist, someone new to environmental activism, or a concerned citizen looking to contribute to the fight, the questions and activities in this guide should offer something useful. This guide has four sections that both individual readers and groups can draw from: discussion and writing questions, thematic questions and activities, research topics, and a related resources section. This guide will serve as a valuable companion as you navigate your own activist journey and work to create the new vision that our world so desperately needs.

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Discussion and Writing Questions These questions can be used to inspire individual reflection or group discussion.

Foreword 1

In the opening sentence of his introduction, Yvon Chouinard mentions several nature writers who have influenced him. Who are some nature writers who have influenced you? How did they affect you?

2

What two important lessons did Chouinard learn from Mark Capelli? How did these lessons influence Patagonia?

3

What do you think Chouinard means by his assertion that “Science without action is dead science” (p. xvi)? Do you agree or disagree with this idea? Why?

4

In what ways can activists learn from business people? Which particular skills do you think activists can acquire from them? What do you think about Chouinard’s statement that activists are businesspeople?

5

What lessons can environmental activists take away from the battle with the tobacco industry?

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Chapter 01: The Business of Changing the World

1

According to Vincent Stanley, why is it important to experience “the power of the wild” (p. 3)?

2

Stanley argues that grassroots environmental organizations are often more effective than larger organizations. Do you agree or disagree with this argument? What advantages does a small environmental organization have over a larger one?

3

“Marketing is just another word for self-presentation—and works to make as many friends as possible for your organization” (p. 5). If you are currently working within an activist organization, how would you describe the marketing efforts of the organization? Would you characterize them as effective? Why? Why not? If you are new to environmental activism, what sort of marketing techniques do you plan on utilizing?

4

“To show who you are, you have to know who you are. To know who you are forces your organization to ‘live an examined life’” (p. 5). Clearly and concisely, explain the identity of your organization. Collectively, who are you? If you are working alone, explain who you are as an activist.

5

“This information, this more frequent and pervasive news of systemic natural failure, is too close for comfort for most people yet feels so far away, except—these days—when a hurricane guts America’s tenth largest city or odd things crop up in the garden and familiar things won’t” (p. 6). When did systemic natural failure become apparent to you? What evidence of this failure can you locate in the natural environment around you?

6 In his keynote speech, “Keepers of the Door,” Brock Evans states

that he is still an environmental optimist. Are you? Why? Why not?

7

Why does Evans refer to those in the environmental movement as “Keepers of the Door”? Come up with your own creative name for environmentalists and explain its meaning.

8 “The third reason is the most important reason of all why we should

be optimists. And that is because we win. We win a lot!” (p. 10). What are some environmental wins you have accomplished as an activist? What are some environmental wins, in general, you can identify?

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Chapter 02: Campaign Strategy

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“Make sure your organization is crystal clear about the goal your campaign is trying to achieve. If you don’t have a very specific goal that everyone, and I mean everyone, in your campaign organization understands, you will struggle to develop a strategy for success” (p. 18). What was the specific purpose, or goal, of your most recent campaign? Have you implemented campaigns in the past that lacked a specific goal or had too many goals? If so, and if given the opportunity to re-focus these campaigns, how would you do so? Explain.

3

What is the difference between strategy and tactics? In general, does your organization typically separate the two or conflate them?

4

What two things does O’Donnell suggest that you take away from his discussion? What else particularly strikes you in this section?

5

In his discussion of the campaign to protect the Rocky Mountain Front, Bob Ekey discusses the “Values-Threat-Solution” formula (p. 25). What is this formula? Could your organization use this formula? How?

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Brian O’Donnell opens Chapter 02 with a story about an ineffective protest. What made this protest ineffective? How could it have been implemented in a more effective fashion?

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6 Apply O’Donnell’s campaign framework to Ekey’s campaign strategy

case study. Which elements of the framework are apparent? Which elements are absent?

7

In her keynote speech, “Taking Our Work to the Next Level,” Annie Leonard discusses the importance of talking to people “where they’re at, not where you’re at” (p. 31). Regarding the environmental issues you care about, do you feel you effectively communicate them to people “where they’re at”? If not, how can you get better at doing so?

8 “Dreaming big and bold not only gives us the best chance at a

healthy, sustainable future, but it’s also the best way to build our movement” (p. 31). Do you agree with Leonard’s statement, or do you favor a more incremental approach to environmental activism? Explain your reasoning.

9 Leonard mentions the importance of “moving beyond our consumer

self and re-engaging our citizen self ” (p. 32). What does this mean? How are these two selves different? How does “re-engaging our citizen self ” relate to activism? Which self are you most engaged with?

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Chapter 03: Marketing

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“The time people have to engage with new issues continues to shorten, and the number of messages we receive in a single day is staggering. In order to get an issue to break through the clutter in a compelling way, it seems we must become communication ninjas” (p. 38). According to Walker, how can you craft an effective message that reaches a particular audience? How do you assess your current audience-engagement efforts?

3

What is brand positioning? Why is it important? Do you feel your brand position is clearly articulated? Why? Why not?

4

What does Walker mean when he asserts that as an organization, you must establish “real empathy with your target” (p. 40). Do you feel your organization has accomplished this? Why? Why not?

5

What are Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)? If you currently have KPIs, assess and revise them if necessary. If you lack KPIs, draw from Walker’s discussion and generate several.

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According to Strick Walker, why should environmentalists care about marketing fundamentals?

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6 What are two or three important ideas you can extract from

Walker’s discussion? Why do they matter to you? How will you improve your own marketing efforts after reading this chapter?

7

Which principles of effective marketing are apparent in Patagonia’s Worn Wear program? What marketing lessons can you use from the program?

8 Review the images of 350.org events on p. 54. In what ways do

these images depict a marketing campaign that is creative, engages different audiences, and yet conveys a consistent message?

9 In his keynote speech, “Leaderless,” Bill McKibben states, “That’s

the kind of movement that is starting to arise. But it’s not exactly leaderless. Actually, a better word for it would be leaderful” (p. 55). What does McKibben mean here?

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Chapter 04: Organizing

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According to Bailey, why is effective organizing so important? Reflect on your previous activist campaigns. Do you feel they were organized effectively? Why? Why not?

3

Bailey writes, “An organizer’s job is evenly split between the inspirational and the mundane” (p. 60). What does this statement mean?

4

During their fight to stop the LNG project, how did the campaign reach out to supporters and bring them together? What lessons can you extract from the campaign’s outreach efforts?

5

Why is list building such a critical part of a community organizing effort? What are Bailey’s suggestions for list building? In your previous activist campaigns, what techniques did you utilize to collect contact information from volunteers and maintain their engagement? What will you do differently moving forward?

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In what ways does Owen Bailey’s story on p. 59 illustrate the power of an engaged, organized community?

6 “To win, we must organize. If we don’t mobilize, work the phones

and the farmers’ markets, if we don’t educate and inspire people to help us, we are alone” (p. 64). What are two or three organizing ideas/ principles you can extract from this chapter and implement in your own campaigns?

7

Visit http://beyondcoal.org to learn more about the activist efforts Mary Anne Hitt describes in her case study. How has the Beyond Coal campaign managed to organize their efforts and successfully challenge the coal industry? What can your organization learn from their campaign?

8 “Recent research has shown that people find climate change

especially disempowering because the solutions usually proposed seem pathetically small (change your lightbulbs) or impossibly large (reform the US Congress)” (p. 69). How can you, as an activist, effectively organize and direct your efforts toward a middle ground?

9 What larger point about leadership does David Orr make in his

keynote speech, “The Haircut”? How does his discussion of leadership relate to the environmental movement?

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Chapter 05: Fundraising

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According to Diane Brown, from where do nonprofit organizations obtain their money? What are the primary sources of your organization’s funds? Are there particular groups you would like to approach for funding? Who are they? How can you appeal to them?

3

Brown makes the important point that most people want to give locally. In what ways are your fundraising efforts aimed toward the local population? What can you do to engage a larger segment of the local population?

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How do you assess your organization’s current fundraising efforts? What works well? What do you want to improve?

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4

According to Brown, why are board members important when it comes to fundraising? Do your board members currently participate in fundraising activities and make personal donations? If not, how can you invite them to do so?

5

“When you fundraise, what you’re really doing is giving people an opportunity to accomplish things they can’t do by themselves” (p. 80). What do you think about this unique take on fundraising? How can you convey this idea of “fundraising as opportunity” through your own fundraising efforts?

6 Brown discusses several fundraising activities on pp. 81–83. Have

you tried any of them? Which ones were successful? Which activities would you like to try moving forward?

7

What factors have contributed to the success of the Salmonid Restoration Federation’s fundraising campaign?

8 In her case study, Karen Gardner writes, “You’re more likely to

find many of our board members at the bar, talking about the reintroduction of beavers or the latest water bond with other salmon lovers” (p. 87). In what ways does your organization maintain this authentic, personal connection with financial contributors and the larger community?

9 In his keynote speech, “Saving the Sacred Headwaters,” what larger

point does Wade Davis make about language and its relationship to environmental advocacy?

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Chapter 06: Communications

2

According to Kristen Grimm, how do “tactics” differ from purpose?

3

Why does Grimm argue against targeting institutions as audiences? Do you agree with her argument? Why? Why not?

4

“Remember, your audiences are real people who have real concerns that affect their everyday lives and their families” (p. 101). During your previous campaigns, did your communication efforts reflect an acknowledgement of your target population’s concerns? Explain.

5

According to Grimm, which emotions should your communication efforts trigger? Which emotions do you typically try to provoke?

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“Jargon and sterile words and phrases lull us into complacency, while evocative words stimulate and enliven issues—and us” (p. 99). What are “evocative words”? Examine your own language use. Does your communication consist of jargon or understandable language that engages the community?

6 What are the advantages of communicating with narrative instead of

relying on data? Are there disadvantages as well? If so, what are they and why are they considered negatively?

7

Which lessons from Grimm’s discussion on communication particularly resonate with you? Why?

8 In her case study, Grimm writes about how “campaigners quickly

decided that all of their activities would support a simple and consistent truth: ‘Environmental Restoration is Economic Recovery’” (p. 107). In what ways does this truth, and the larger campaign supporting it, serve as an example of effective activist communication?

9 One valuable lesson is that long-term change, a cultural shift in

society, begins at and grows from local communities to the national level” (p. 117). How does Lois Gibb’s keynote speech, “When We Change the Climate, We Change the World,” illustrate this point?

10 In her keynote speech, Gibbs uses the phrase “climate of opinion”

(p. 117). What does this mean? How do you seek to change the climate of opinion through your activist efforts?

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Chapter 07: Networking

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“The power of networks is apparent in field-level collaborative projects such as RE-AMP, a network of environmental organizations that have aligned their policy and advocacy efforts to reduce coal plant production” (p. 124). Visit http://www.reamp.org to learn more about the RE-AMP Network. What networking lessons can you take away from their coalition?

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“It’s no longer good enough to simply be an isolated entity on Facebook; you have to be a networked nonprofit” (p. 124). Imagine a networking scale; one end of the scale signifies isolation, and the other extreme represents extensive connectivity. Where would you place your organization on this networking scale? Where would you like it to be? Explain.

4

To build on the previous question, refer to the four stages Kanter discusses on p. 125. Think about your organization’s overall networking status and degree of proficiency with social media. Which stage does your organization occupy? How do you know?

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Beth Kanter opens this chapter with a discussion of three digital revolutions that have affected the work of nonprofits. What are these three revolutions? How have these revolutions affected your work as an activist?

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What do you think it means to communicate “through a network model, rather than a broadcast model” (p. 126)?

6 Does your organization currently have a social media policy with

guidelines and a manual (p. 127)? If so, how do you assess the policy’s overall quality and usefulness? If not, what would your social media policy look like?

7

On p. 128, Kanter lists a few of the most popular social networking sites. How many of these sites is your organization currently using? Are there other sites you would add to her list? Overall, do you feel that the sites you use allow you to effectively reach your target audiences? Explain.

8 Compare and contrast your organization’s networking journey and

practices with those of Grist, discussed on pp. 133–134.

9 Melinda Booth writes, “Film is one of the most engaging and

powerful platforms from which to tell a story” (p. 138). How has your organization utilized film? How would you like to?

10 In his keynote speech, Bruce Hill discusses the need to “let your

hands go” (p. 143). What does he mean? As an activist, do you believe you “let your hands go”? Explain.

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Chapter 08: Lobbying

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“Whether you want a county supervisor to vote against a zoning change or you want a US senator to introduce a wilderness bill, you need to make what we call an ‘ask’” (p. 150). What does this mean? According to Tim Mahoney, how can you make an effective “ask”?

3

Mahoney states, “All defensive campaigns are alike; every proactive campaign is different in its own way” (p. 151). What does this statement mean?

4

According to Mahoney, what is the right response when a member of Congress rejects your request? Do you agree or disagree with Mahoney’s advice? Why?

1

When I meet activists coming to Washington, DC, for the first time, they often tell me they feel intimidated by lobbying. They may believe it is beyond their capability, the province of high-powered lawyers spreading money and schmoozing senators at swanky restaurants behind closed doors” (p. 149). As an activist, are you intimidated by lobbying? Why? Why not? How would you describe your previous lobbying experiences?

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“The real power of the local activist as lobbyist flows from the personal bonds you make” (p. 156). What are two or three ideas from Mahoney’s discussion that you can implement in order to establish productive, personal bonds with elected officials?

6 What are some ways you can include both logical and emotional

appeals in your communications with elected officials?

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In general, how can you become a more effective lobbyist?

8 What lobbying lessons can you learn from Ryan Henson’s case

study on pp. 159–160?

9 In his keynote speech, “Epiphany,” Denis Hayes poses a profound

question: “What, I, wondered, would the world look like if industrial civilization had been designed in concert with fundamental principles of ecology?” (p. 166). Answer his question.

10 In “Epiphany,” Hayes also discusses the journey that led to his

environmental epiphany, or awakening. What was the environmental epiphany that drew you to activism? As Hayes did, describe the journey that led you to it.

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Chapter 09: Working with Businesses

2

As an activist, how do you feel about working with businesses? Do you tend to view them as allies or adversaries? Do you actively attempt to establish beneficial relationships with businesses? How so?

3

According to Sterling, why should environmental groups ask businesses for support?

4

On pp. 173–174, Sterling discusses what businesses can offer environmental groups and what these groups can offer businesses. What can you offer businesses in exchange for their support?

5

Sterling poses two important questions: “(1) What companies should you approach? (2) What element of your work should you ask the company to support?” (p. 174). Draw from his subsequent discussion and answer these questions.

1

In what ways is John Sterling’s opening story on pp. 171–172 a cautionary tale?

6 Which of Sterling’s tips on pp. 175–177 do you find particularly

striking? Why?

7

What can you learn about working with the business community from Brent Fenty’s case study on pp. 181–182?

8 In her keynote speech, “Sowing Seeds of Hope,” what does Dr. Jane

Goodall say gives her hope?

9 “It may be true, as some scientists maintain, that it is too late to

reverse the progression of shrinking freshwater supplies, pollution, climate change, species extinctions, and population growth” (p. 187). How do you maintain hope in the face of these incredible challenges? What drives you to keep moving forward as an environmental activist?

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Chapter 10: Utilizing the Economics of Conservation

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Ben Alexander writes, “In effect, the economy of the West has shifted from a largely natural resource–based economy to a knowledge-based economy. This development mirrors changes in the United States economy as a whole…” (p. 194). What does this mean? How does this shift relate to your work as an activist?

3

According to Alexander, what is the connection between “protected land and robust economies” (p. 198)? Why should this connection matter to environmental activists?

4

Is it possible to support economic well-being and the environment, or are these two things mutually exclusive? What would Alexander say? What do you think?

5

“Whenever possible, link solid research to compelling personal, business, or community stories to show how real people benefit from environmental protection” (p. 199). Is this something you consistently do? If not, how can you make this a more central part of your activist campaigns?

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“Even though the West of our childhoods no longer exists, by and large as a society we pretend it does” (p. 194). What does this statement mean? What are the implications of this statement for both industries and the conservation community?

6 Alexander includes a number of “guideposts” on pp. 199–200. Which

guideposts are you particularly struck by? Why?

7

What lessons can you learn from Nathan Small’s case study on pp. 205–206? Moving forward, how can you better highlight the economic benefits of the natural world in your environmental campaigns?

8 How does Terry Tempest Williams utilize compelling storytelling in

her keynote speech, “Ghost Deer”?

9 In her keynote speech, Williams speaks of “two opposing worldviews”

(p. 211). What are these worldviews? How can we bring them together?

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Chapter 11: Visualizing Data

2

According to Birch and Tuxen-Bettman, what is Google Tour Builder? As an activist, how could you use this online tool in your environmental campaigns?

3

Birch and Tuxen-Bettman mention a number of Google apps in their discussion. What are some of these apps? How could you use them?

4

What is Google for Nonprofits? Head to http://google.com/nonprofits and explore. What seems particularly useful to you?

1

According to Tanya Birch and Karin Tuxen-Bettman, “Spatial visualization is a key component to any environmental campaign. You are trying to save a place and nothing shows it better than a map, a video, or pictures� (p. 216). Which of these tools do you commonly use in your environmental campaigns? How do you use them?

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5

In their case study, Lilian Pintea and Shawn Sweeney discuss The Jane Goodall Institute’s (JGI) use of Google Earth Tour Builder. How did JGI use this online tool? Does JGI’s story give you any ideas related to the use of online tools such as Google Earth Tour Builder?

6 Pintea and Sweeney also mention mobile apps, smartphones, and

tablets in their case study. How could your organization utilize mobile technology as a tool of activism? Explore online and locate several mobile apps that could assist your organization’s activist work.

7

In her keynote speech, how does Shoko Tsuru illustrate the disastrous environmental effects of the Arase Dam?

8 In general, in what ways are dams environmental threats? 9 In his keynote speech, “The Dancing Planet,” Dave Foreman

writes, “So more than one hundred years later, here we are. We need that green fire in the land. We need it in our own eyes. We’ve got to communicate that to the people of America” (p. 235). What is the green fire? In what ways can its meaning and importance be communicated to others?

10 According to Foreman, what new vision does humanity need?

What can you, as an activist, do to nurture and sustain this vision?

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Thematic Questions and Activities This section features questions and activities that connect with several of the book’s central themes.

Being and Doing Change: Vision, Strategy, and Marketing

Use this activity to help sustain your connection to what you are ultimately fighting for: the natural world. To enhance this activity, have other members of your organization participate as well. To begin, locate a natural setting that is unscathed by human activity. Spend some time in this location and answer the following questions in writing while you are there:

• Where are you? • What do you notice about your surroundings? What does each of your senses reveal? • What living organisms do you notice? • How do you feel in this setting? • Compare/contrast this location with your daily surroundings.

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“It is easier in the wild to feel awe in the presence of a force greater than ourselves, though hard to explain to someone who has never felt the power of the wild why it is so essential to life. Anyone who has felt that power has no quarrel with a deep, lively impulse to preserve it” (p. 3).

Come together with other members of your organization and share and discuss your writing. What similarities and differences do you notice? Ultimately, how does your identity (and your organization’s collective identity) as an activist stem from your connection to the natural world?

2

Read back over Brian O’Donnell’s discussion of campaign strategy in Chapter 02. Next, apply his discussion to your current (or most recent) activist campaign by responding to the following questions: What is the goal of your campaign? Does your campaign have a specific target? Is your campaign driven by a clear strategy? Which tactics does your campaign employ? Why were these tactics chosen? Which individuals are involved in the campaign? What are their specific roles? After you have responded to these questions, draft a campaign plan (see p. 21). Discuss and edit this plan with other members of your organization. Overall, use this activity to effectively workshop a campaign.

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3

Chapter 06 includes Jim Little’s excellent discussion on the creation of print materials. For this activity, begin by re-reading pp. 110–113. Next, apply Little’s print material guidelines and editing principles to your own digital creations. You can either re-create a few of your print materials in digital form, or you can start from scratch. Either way, consider using these resources as you design engaging digital content:

• F  ree web resources such as Canva (http://www.canva.com) and Over (http://madewithover.com), and programs such as Microsoft Publisher and GIMP (https://www.gimp.org), can be used to create eye-catching digital images and documents. • Free online resources such as http://piktochart.com and http://easel.ly can be used to design infographics. An infographic is a visual representation of information that features short sections of text and multiple charts, graphs, and other visuals. • Captivating presentations can be created through the use of Prezi (http://www.prezi.com), Google Slides (http://www.google.com/ slides/about/), or Microsoft Sway (https://sway.com).

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Effective Activism through Organizing, Fundraising, and Communicating

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If you are a student activist or someone new to environmental activism, this activity can serve as an introduction to basic activist work. To begin, team up with several other like-minded individuals and get organized. Next, select a local environmental issue that would benefit from your group’s activist efforts. Research the issue to determine the history of the problem, its main contributors, ways to address the issue, and other important items of information. Finally, take action. Some suggested forms of activism include:

• U  se a website such as http://www.change.org to start an online petition. • Write op-ed articles and send letters to the editors of local newspapers. • Staff an information booth to inform the campus/outside community about the issue. • Use free resources such as http://www.wix.com, http://www. weebly.com, or http://sites.google.com to design a website related to the issue. Promote the website through social media in order to publicize the issue and connect with other activists. • Use free resources such as http://www.canva.com or http://docs. google.com to create engaging fliers and brochures to be distributed to the public.

• S  creen related films to the community and follow up with audience Q & A. • Create and distribute ’zines (self-published “magazines”). You can design them by hand (see http://www.wikihow.com/Make-aZine) using recycled materials, or you can create them via free online resources such as http://zinepal.com. • Use social media to organize public demonstrations.

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2

Diane Brown discusses the importance of effective fundraising in Chapter 05, and one funding source mentioned in her discussion is grants. As your organization seeks funding to support its various environmental campaigns, access the following sources to learn about and apply for grants (be sure to refer to Brown’s helpful grant proposal writing tips on p. 82 as well):

• h  ttp://www.patagonia.com/grant-guidelines.html Patagonia provides grants to small, grassroots activist organizations. They accept one proposal per group, per fiscal year, and the typical grant size ranges from $2,500-–$15,000. • http://www.conservationalliance.com/grants/ The Conservation Alliance works to protect threatened wild places in North America for their recreational values and habitat. They provide grants to nonprofit organizations working to protect wild lands and waters, and they accept grant requests up to $50,000. • http://www.rootsandshoots.org/minigrant Dr. Jane Goodall’s organization, Roots & Shoots, provides minigrants to help U.S. educators start, support, or celebrate service campaigns. Mini-grants are awarded in amounts of $200 or $400. • https://www.google.com/grants/ Google Ad Grants provides free AdWords advertising to help eligible nonprofit organizations promote their missions. If you are a qualifying nonprofit, you will receive $10,000 in in-kind AdWords advertising each month.

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Melinda Booth writes, “Film is one of the most engaging and powerful platforms from which to tell a story” (p. 138). Use film to communicate your own environmental story that will educate citizens and engage them in your cause. To begin, consider how you could create a video that will draw attention to one of your current campaigns. Visualize the natural locations you will feature in this video, the people you will include, the way you will narrate it, and the methods you will use to distribute it. Next, plan your shots, shoot, edit, and share your film. Consider the following as you do so:

• Y  ou can likely use your own smartphone to film. Most smartphones now include apps that can capture both images and video. If these default apps don’t work for you, look online for others. • Apps such as Periscope and Facebook Live can be used to live stream your content. • You can use an app such as iMovie or a program such as Windows Movie Maker to edit your footage. • Create your own YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com, upload your film, and share it via social media.

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1

Transformation through Networking, Lobbying, and Business Collaboration

Draw from Beth Kanter’s discussion of networking and social media in Chapter 07 and create a new media strategy for your organization. Use Kanter’s POST (People, Objectives, Strategy, and Technology) framework on p. 127 and craft a clearly defined strategy. Pay close attention to the social networking sites mentioned on p. 128, and specify why and how you will utilize them in your activist work moving forward.

2

Re-read Tim Mahoney’s insightful discussion of lobbying in Chapter 08. Next, using the guidelines and tips included in Mahoney’s discussion, select an elected official (or several) and plan your approach.

• C  onsider the following questions as you do so: What is your overall goal? How will you attempt to persuade this elected official to support your cause? How can you establish good rapport with this official? How can you make it clear that this official’s constituents also care about your cause? What is your backup plan in case you are unsuccessful? • Locate contact information for US Senators and Congressional representatives at http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov. • To learn about others who are lobbying our elected officials, visit http://www.opensecrets.org.

3

Read through John Sterling’s discussion of working with businesses in Chapter 09 while paying special attention to the “Getting Started” section on p. 174. Sterling frames this section with two questions: “(1) What companies should you approach? and (2) What element of your work should you ask the company to support?” (p. 174). Work with other members of your organization, answer both of these questions, and craft a detailed plan for approaching a business in order to establish a relationship with them and enlist their support. Implement your plan. Afterward, reflect on your experience. What factors contributed to the success or failure of your approach?

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Research Topics These topics provide individual readers and groups with opportunities for extended investigation and analysis. 1

“It’s time to stop scaring people with visions of an unavoidable apocalyptic future, and to start inspiring them with the conviction that, together, we actually can turn the corner on climate disruption” (p. 69). Become inspired by examining some of the environmental movement’s greatest wins. Perform research and locate several cases of activist groups successfully challenging and winning against forces that threaten the natural world. For each case, identify how these environmental groups triumphed against a larger, better funded adversary. Also, consider the lessons you can take away from these successful battles and the ways you can communicate these victories to others in order to sustain hope and galvanize fellow activists.

2

Perform research and investigate successful activist campaigns outside of the environmental movement. For example, what can you learn about successful activism from the civil rights movement? What about the LGBTQ rights movement or the recent Moral Monday movement in North Carolina? What drove these activists? How did these activists get organized? Overall, what can you learn from these social movements that you can incorporate in your environmental activist campaigns?

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3

In her inspirational keynote speech on pp. 228–230, Shoko Tsuru discusses the removal of the Arase Dam in Japan. Perform research and identify other activist campaigns in countries other than the United States. What strategies and tactics are these foreign environmental activists employing? How are their approaches different from those of activists here in the United States? Overall, what can you learn from these foreign activists?

4

On p. 125, Beth Kanter shares a crawl-to-fly spectrum that describes the degree to which an organization is networked and utilizes social media. Perform research, select two or three organizations, and place them on Kanter’s spectrum. Where are these organizations on the spectrum? How do you know? From your examination of their networking practices (or lack thereof), which of their practices should you utilize? Which practices should you avoid? In general, what can you learn about the activist implications of social media from your research?

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Related Resources The resources below relate to Tools for Grassroots Activists and its many themes and subjects.

Further Reading

Fight & Win: Brock Evans’ Strategies for the New Eco-Warrior By Brock Evans

Organizing for Social Change: Midwest Academy Manual for Activists By Kim Bobo, Jackie Kendall, and Steve Max

Building Powerful Community Organizations: A Personal Guide to Creating Groups that Can Solve Problems and Change the World By Michael J. Brown

The Lobbying Strategy Handbook: 10 Steps to Advancing Any Cause Effectively By Patricia J. Libby & Associates

The Fisherman’s Son By Chris Malloy

Oil and Honey: The Education of an Unlikely Activist By Bill McKibben

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Related Films

DamNation http://damnationfilm.com/

Defined by the Line http://www.patagonia.com/new-localism/bears-ears.html

Jumbo Wild http://www.sweetgrass-productions.com/jumbo-wild/

Mni Wiconi: The Stand at Standing Rock https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FDuqYld8C8

The Fisherman’s Son https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VMMrUzOhIk

Worn Wear: a Film About the Stories We Wear https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z20CjCim8DM

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About the Author of This Guide Chris Gilbert is a former high school English teacher and current doctoral student who lives in the mountains of North Carolina. He is also an avid writer. His work has appeared in The Washington Post’s education blog, “The Answer Sheet,” NCTE’s (National Council of Teachers of English) English Journal, and he has also written a number of resource guides for Penguin Random House and Patagonia. He is a 2013 and 2015 recipient of NCTE’s Paul and Kate Farmer Writing Award.

Copyright © 2017 Patagonia Works

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copyright 2017

Tools for Grassroots Activists Reader’s Guide  

Patagonia published Tools for Grassroots Activists to assist these individuals in their many battles, and this Reader’s Guide was written wi...

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