Welcome to #TRVSTLOVES. We curate news, ideas and inspiration from across the world which demonstrate how real action can accomplish a positive social impact. This time we’re looking at the collective action of people coming together to challenge the climate crisis.
Climate cafes create a “thinking and feeling” space for people to come together and share how climate and ecological breakdown is affecting them. With a couple of cafes now open in London and also one in Oxford, this initiative invites people to “Meet your friends. Speak your #ClimateTruth”.
Eco-anxiety is a growing problem, and so as a response, these cafes provide an opportunity to share intimate fears, anger and worries; the focus is entirely on the emotional response to climate change, rather than the practicalities. One of the main guidelines for a successful session encourages attendees to “Take risks. Say what you really, actually feel. Whatever that is”.
Talking therapy with a professional therapist is a proven way of tackling anxiety, and whilst this is a slightly different approach, the ability to share anxieties and fears openly, without fear of judgement, can be a very inclusive and reassuring process. On top of the mental health benefits, it’s also important for us all to talk about climate change, because the more we acknowledge and discuss the nature of the problem, the more we learn, and can collectively start to take action.
Avantika is an 18 year old girl living in Hyderabad, India. As a young climate activist, she, like so many of us, has a lot of anxiety over climate change and the consequences for the future. Young Indian people, as you’d expect, share similar global wide concerns; that there isn’t enough action, that people in power are ignorant, and the idea that climate change is a future generation’s problem.
But young people are the future generation, and many in India have turned their anxiety into action. They are vocal about their anger, their fears and frustrations.
And they’re taking practical action too, for example, Ronnan, a 22 year old from Goa is involved in the Save Mollem Wildlife initiative, opposing government projects which put endangered animals and surrounding habitats at risk.
Having a voice is such a powerful tool because it’s only by talking, discussing and debating these issues that we’re likely to see any real change. It’s especially poignant coming from the up and coming generation who will have to take the reins in this crisis as we move forward.
Linked to the post above, we have a lot of admiration for young people willing to speak out about climate change; they’re full of determination to make their voices heard. Being able to take their eco-anxiety, which can cause feelings of powerlessness, isolation and fear, and turn it into something positive is highly admirable and inspiring.
Force of Nature is a youth-run NGO for 16-25 year olds that gives young people the opportunity to take action. Made up of ”next generation of climate leaders'', it includes vehicles such as “The Vine”, an online community of change-makers, “The Dais”, a speaker's agency to platform youth voices, and “The Bloom”, a blog for young people to come together and share their thoughts and feelings.
The NGO will take action by following three main steps: developing educators, supporting businesses to become leaders, and working with non-profits. We think this is such a fantastic initiative, and hopefully, one that will continue to grow. It creates an inclusive and supportive space for young people to feel like they’re making a difference, that they aren’t alone, and perhaps most importantly, that there is hope for the future.
In the UK litter picking is synonymous with a school day out. But actually, it’s becoming increasingly common for groups of all ages to come together and clean up an area, made even easier now thanks to CleanupUK, where you stick your postcode in and find a local “LitterAction” group to join.
If being on the water is more your thing, then there’s also the opportunity to join a paddle clean up on your nearby waterways, or the website provides guidance on how to set one up yourself if there isn’t one close by. Clear Access Clear Waters is a particularly informative website, providing stats to support their campaign and a petition template to send to local MPs.
Coming together to love and care for the local area can be good for us in so many ways as we are reminded of the importance of an engaging community. This collective action can help us to feel supported, connected and give us the power of influence, which is rather relevant when it comes to keeping our green spaces, beaches and riverways clean.
This Ted Talk was filmed a few years ago now, but wow, it still packs a real punch. With a focus on the power of people making a difference, the brief but powerful talk is led by Alison Barrable, a 10 year old school girl, making an apology on behalf of the human race for the way we’ve treated the planet. The talk is all the more meaningful as it’s coming from someone so young, someone who is going to grow up dealing with the effects of climate change. Alison’s focus is on the small things we do as individuals, and how collectively they can cause environmental damage.
There are many reasons as to why individual action is powerful. To begin with, we “become the change we want to see”; by acting in a way that supports our values, we’re given a sense of pride, and far more likely to stand up for what we believe in.
Also, doing something in a different way shows others that it’s possible too: for example, if you see a colleague cycling to work regularly, maybe it might encourage you to do the same. Any change we make on an individual level can help to create wider system changes, so we should never feel that positive actions won’t make a difference.