Protests are great for getting attention and building connections, but we need concrete actions ASAP — so Climate Pledge Collection is always working to turn attention into actions both big and small.
At yesterday’s Fridaysforfuture at Queen’s Park, we tried a poster-size version of our pledge system with prizes, surprises and noises — carnival style.
The best thing about this approach is that it is easy to replicate.
This is all you need:
- A few simple, but significant, challenges.
- A poster board and a marker.
- A way to make some noise and get attention.
- Modest Prizes. (even a high-five is good enough)
- Resources to make it easy for people to complete your challenges.
Think of things that people can do to help build the climate action movement. You could ask them to reduce their own footprint. You could ask them to put up posters or hand out pamphlets in their school or at a local church or library.
In our beta-test, we used:
The pledge sheets were – surprisingly to me – the most popular, but that might be because they were the ones that came with a cupcake. Yum!
Calling elected reps was the least popular — which is too bad, because it’s important. People may be nervous about talking to a politician — but there’s nothing to be afraid of. If you stumble, you will have a bigger impact because the office manager will hear your honesty and recognize that you are an ordinary citizen who is worried about the future, rather than some polished, professional lobbyist.
We didn’t get as many pledges as we hoped yesterday, but failing fast and often and then reiterating is what we’re all about at Climate Pledge Collective. Our mistake was not asking for time in the schedule. There was a full program of speeches and songs at the event, so we didn’t have much time to talk to people. But the ten or fifteen minutes before the speeches showed us that we have the right idea. Especially for engaging passers-by.
Next time, I think I will also replace following social media accounts with asking people to share one of Greta Thunberg’s speeches on social media.
Not much to explain here. We made a big poster, wrote the pledges on them and then tallied up who took up the challenges. We used foam core for the poster and brought an easel to keep it from tipping over or blowing away. Or you could just tape it to a wall.
Luckily for this project, I have an ornate conch which I bought in China 15 years ago, before I stopped flying. Because it’s unusual, it doubled as a prize. You could use any kind of instrument, a boom box, a chant. Juggling, dancing, magic tricks. The goal here is to get people’s attention and gather a bit of a crowd. People seem more inclined to participate when there’s a crowd. If they walk past one by one, they’ll pretend they didn’t see you.
For whatever reason — perhaps because we are so used to shopping — having prizes makes people think through the exchange and realize how easy the challenges actually are. We offered high-fives, hugs, a chance to sound the magic conch and vegan cupcakes with peanut butter icing. Recipes for both are down below.
I brought resources to make it easy to turn people’s interest into action. For example, I printed up a list of social media accounts to follow. We also printed copies of three posters — one about Fridays for Future, one about Climate Pledge Collective and one simply encouraging people to Talk About Climate (especially for use in your office or school). (Available as a PDF here)
We also handed out Pledge Sheets and pointed people to our online pledge system.
I noticed that the challenges where we could hand something out were the ones people were interested in. Next time, I will also prepare sheets with facts and talking points to help people out on their calls to elected representatives. Hopefully we’ll get a few more people pledging to call their reps.
One of the young speakers yesterday said that after the event was done, she needed all of us to go home and do more: plan more events, contact politicians, change our lifestyles. I like to think that a lot of people heeded her call, because she needs their help, but I worry they may not. People tend to act when prompted by phone calls or coupons or items in their schedule, so it is important to give people specific tasks if you want to call them to action. You can give them choices of course: put a poster in their hand and tell them to choose where to put it up.
If you try any of this out, get in touch with us on twitter and let us know how it went!
Vegan Chocolate Depression Cake Recipe
- 1 1/2 cups flour (all-purpose)
- 3 tablespoon cocoa (unsweetened)
- 1 cup sugar (all purpose sugar – Granulated Pure Cane Sugar)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda (make sure your baking soda is fresh)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 5 tablespoon vegetable oil (or canola)
- 1 cup water
(More great recipes at https://sweetlittlebluebird.com)
Vegan Peanut Butter Icing
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter (at room temperature is best)
- 1/2 cup vegan margarine
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoon soy milk (or any other non-dairy milk, but soy milk or coconut milk is best in this recipe)
Whisk or blend together using a mixer all of the ingredients until smooth and creamy, adding more or less soy milk to achieve the desired consistency.
Careful, though, as you don’t want to add extra soy milk too soon, and add just a 1/2 teaspoon or so at a time, otherwise you run the risk of your frosting getting too thin and runny.
Also, you might want to stick the peanut butter in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds or so, in order to make it easier to work with.
From Spruce Eats.