The coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to dominate global headlines as its spread continues and everyone is urged to follow World Health Organisation (WHO) guidance. Mass climate strikes planned for April and many other public events are now cancelled as the world locks down to slow the spread.
A WHO official just released these guidelines, relating specifically to mass protest gatherings and youth-led climate strikes. Covid-19 is deadly serious, so please read and consider these guidelines, we will update this blog regularly as new info emerges.
We can’t solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis and we must unite behind experts and science.
This of course goes for all crises.
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) March 11, 2020
Look up the public health guidelines in your area, to see if there are specific restrictions, advice or quarantines in place. Being up to date with the situation will help you make decisions that keep people in your community and elsewhere safe. This is paramount.
If you feel shaken and anxious about the current crises we’re in, you could try the steps suggested in this resource on Finding Steady Ground (their first tip is to make a conscious decision about when and where you’ll get your news, and what you’ll do with it).
While we fight to bring the same level of urgency to the climate crisis, we cannot encourage people to take part in mass public gatherings at the moment – our focus is on helping people everywhere to develop resilience and skills to look after the most vulnerable in society and ensure justice-based solutions are front and centre in these scary times.
We’ve compiled an initial list of ideas below on how to organise creatively whilst practicing self-isolation or on lockdown. More guidance, training and tools are coming soon to the globalclimatestrike.net site specially for climate activists looking for guidance on ways to keep taking action in light of April’s Global Climate Strikes being mostly cancelled in the streets.
Building systems of community resilience now will also support us during other catastrophes down the road. Climate breakdown all but ensures there will be more disasters in the months and years ahead. Having a connected community will help you through it all.
The world is reacting fast to the coronavirus with huge creativity, solidarity and care. Over the past few days, thousands of mutual aid projects have sprung up around the world.
600+ #COVIDー19uk Mutual Aid groups sprang up this weekend to support/protect the most vulnerable in society.
— 350 dot org (@350) March 16, 2020
There have been vibrant displays of the human spirit from some of those hit by total lockdowns.
Share links and examples below of amazing community responses you’re seeing from different parts of the world where you all are!
This 🎶🎵🎹🎼🎻🥁🎷 from 🇮🇹 Italy 🇮🇹 over the weekend is ❤️ https://t.co/KAP8qnIbVY
— 350 dot org (@350) March 16, 2020
With many people home-bound over the next few months, why not use this strange time to educate yourself and others further about climate science, justice and action; about campaigning tactics; how to talk to the media; or learn more about social movements? There are a number of helpful online trainings available to get you started.
We all need to get better at telling compelling, engaging stories about the struggle for climate justice and 350.org is working with youth strikers and others to bring these stories together, create spaces for climate strikers to collaborate more easily online whilst on lockdown, and help the movement continue its momentum in this crucial year, but safely.
Consider offering your own online webinars, livestreams and connect with other movements across different geographies who share similar campaign targets and a vision for the future. Use this time to plan ahead for what you can do when restrictions are lifted. To help get you started in learning more about organising on your own, we recommend these online skill-ups.
Online & solo tactics
In areas with lockdown restrictions or quarantines in place, these are some tried and tested tactics that don’t involve large public gatherings:
- #ClimateStrikeOnline: Have people take a photo or video of themselves and share on their own social media with the hashtag (#ClimateStrikeOnline #FridaysForFuture) and a location tag. This can include inviting people to download and print a sign, or make one with their own message. Encourage people to get creative whilst at home, using whatever medium they like — now is the moment to delve back into your artistic skills. Organizers will compile and display all the posts and share them in creative ways if you tag them with #ClimateStrikeOnline #DigitalStrike.
Seattle has the coronavirus endemic in our community, so my son @solo_syn_ has been digital striking his #ClimateStrike from home. #digitalstrike #fridaysforfuture Stay Safe everyone! 💚💪🏽 pic.twitter.com/WVWuoR0nzA
— Dr. Heather Price (@huprice) March 11, 2020
- Create art: Using whatever medium you choose, you can make #Art4Climate and share it online using social media, or physically fasten your creations to your apartment door or in your windows to show your solidarity and action.
- Window & door signs: As with the #Art4Climate, consider putting placards and posters somewhere visible outside to show your neighbours and community that the #ClimateStrike continues!
- Cacerolaza: Bang on pots and pans as loud as you can (or make music) out of windows, balconies, or on the street in plenty of space at a set time with your community. Cacerolaza has been used around the world to deafening effect — in Puerto Rico, Lebanon, Ireland, Iceland, Quebec and across Latin America.
- Virtual Protest: Ask those who in normal times would have attended the protest to write a sign and take a photo of themselves with friends or family. Organisers can collate and print out these photos to be displayed publicly. For example, they could be laid out in front of your targeted bank or city hall with a sign explaining that for public health reasons people are protesting at home. Check out this virtual protest in the Philippines using photo wands in 2018, where organizers projected images of would-be march participants who couldn’t attend for security reasons. Globalclimatestrike.net will feature trainings on these creative tools and more ahead of April.
- Call in, email in: Mass calls, texts, emails or faxes to your local bank or other campaign target can be extremely effective in getting results. Youth strikers in Japan have been targeting their banks over coal financing this way with their Moshi Moshi campaign.
- Social media barrage: Being stuck inside is hard, but it might give you more time on your computer to get creative. Post comments about the climate crisis on various target’s social media profiles. Organise a coordinated take-down of various publicly reviewed products and brands to apply pressure on a corporate target, or organise everyone to flood a target’s Twitter or Instagram. Team up with other climate strikers who are stuck inside in different parts of the world and support the many online campaigns that are emerging.
- Get your campaign online – if you usually strike outside, leaflet and hand out flyers on the streets, consider getting your campaign information up online, starting or signing online actions, and reaching out to people who should know about your story.
- COVID-19 seems to be affecting older people the most (but not only the elderly!) If your group is younger, think about ways that you could support older people in your community who may be feeling isolated and in need of community, while also respecting sanitation and physical distancing. For example, young people in Rome have started offering to deliver groceries in their neighbourhood.
What happens next?
Over the next months, 350.org will be monitoring the situation very closely, bringing out more updates and guidance. This blog will be updated regularly – and you can also find more information on our Coronavirus and Climate Organizing site.
We are working closely with youth strikers and groups around the world to provide creative ways for us all to keep striking for climate justice and raising up the stories the world needs to hear, whilst also focusing our attention of the safety of the most vulnerable through this health crisis. Keep an eye on globalclimatestrike.net in the coming weeks for all the above.
If you have ideas for other creative online actions or would like to volunteer time to developing these with us, please fill out this quick survey and sign up.
Stay safe, look after each other and keep washing those hands.
The 350.org climate strikes team