Climate Movement Grows
With the historic Forward on Climate rally was unfolding in Washington DC, Waging NonViolence writer Bryan Farrell asked the Center for Story-based Strategy to comment. Ferrell's final article includes coverage of the event, 350.org history, and the opinions of various experts (read the article here).
More from Patrick's interview:
Q. 350 is big on numbers (e.g. "'the most widespread day of political action" and "the largest civil disobedience action on any issue in 30 years)." Is that a good messaging strategy? Can it help build a movement? If so, how?
A. #1 A. First of all, 350 are great and their meme has spread far and wide, across language and cultures globally, offering a huge organizing success to build upon. But ultimately, to grow the movement to the next level, the conversation around parts per million (ppm) - framed abstractly in the atmosphere - needs to be brought down to the ground. Science is only one part of the public debate and, for better or worse, the least important part. Which is why the latest evolution on their work to "connect the dots," emphasize extreme weather, and organize around impacts has been so important and successful. This points the direction for future movement building and organizing where climate impacts connect with people's lives - in our economy, energy choices, weather, agriculture, water, and increased militarization.
Q. Climate Forward is being called the largest climate rally in history. Is there any danger in making such a claim?
A. There's always a danger in letting your impact be reduced to just numbers or escalating superlatives. The most important thing to communicate is that this movement is growing, and that everyday citizens are willing to step out of their comfort zone in order to be seen and heard. 350 and the other organizations have been very successful in building this momentum. The challenge is to make sure that all of our actions - from DC mobilizations to the ongoing resistance in fossil fuel impacted communities and along the pipeline routes - tell a larger, inviting story. To build the climate movement our times demand, our actions must add up to more than the sum of our parts, and offer many different entry points to join the common effort of transitioning our society off fossil fuels.