climate protest with picket signs

How to Get Involved in Climate Activism

Steve Russell - June 6, 2024

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Many people are so eager to do what they can to create a better future that they pursue climate activism. Getting started is easier than many planet-conscious individuals might think. 

Determine the Commitment Level

Although some people have enough free time to attend weekly climate marches or other gatherings of like-minded activists, others have much less flexibility. How much or little a person can commit does not necessarily reflect their devotion to climate activism. Becoming involved is not a contest of who can do the most to indicate their seriousness. Climate activists focus on the planet’s sustainability but must also find sustainable ways to participate. 

The best results happen when people take various forms of collective action and work together toward common goals. A sustainable way to become a climate activist is for the person getting involved to determine what they can feasibly do while managing their other responsibilities and not becoming overwhelmed. 

Climate activists must also remember that their commitment levels may vary over time, and that’s okay. Life includes relaxed and more hectic periods, and people will be more likely to become long-term activism participants when they choose commitments that presently make the most sense. There’s no harm in adjusting their participation amounts later, as the situation requires. 

Decide on the Approach 

Activism ranges from peaceful to violent. Efforts to address climate change have been fairly peaceful so far, but that might change as urgency intensifies. Consider how some people throw food on famous paintings to raise awareness about oil companies or other entities harming the planet. Others sit in front of company gates, holding signs to emphasize their views. 

Anyone getting started as an activist should think carefully about how far they want to go in putting pressure on those partially to blame for the climate crisis. They should also consider their willingness for possible arrest and how such an outcome might jeopardize their current careers or prospects. 

Getting advice from long-time activists is an excellent way to become more informed about what to expect. Activism events can be extremely dynamic, changing from largely calm gatherings to highly emotionally charged ones in minutes. 

Regardless of the approach someone chooses, they must stay aware of limitations that might put them at greater risk. For example, someone who has trouble running due to a disability may want to stay on the outskirts of larger protests to avoid getting crushed if things go wrong. 

Getting involved in a less direct way is also possible. A person who cannot attend a climate march could still show support by delivering food to the attendees or donating money to their causes.

Choose a Focus

Climate activism encompasses many types. Some people use their bodies to physically block and disrupt fossil fuel projects or other initiatives likely to harm the planet. Divestment-related activism is also increasingly popular. It involves activists urging institutions to cut ties with unsustainable companies or industries. 

Legal action against the companies responsible for climate change is also increasingly popular. One 2024 case involves a Belgian farmer suing the energy and petroleum company TotalEnergies due to the climate change impact on his profession. The case sets out a path for progressively reducing gas and oil production, culminating in a 75% cut in those activities by 2040. This is the first case of legal climate action taken in Belgium against a multinational company. 

Finally, one of the older but still effective forms of climate activism involves exerting political pressure on those in power through protests, boycotts, lobbying, and awareness-raising events. Even people with only an hour or two to spare per week can contact their local legislators by email or phone, expressing their displeasure about specific recent decisions or stating their views. 

Many people participate in more than one of these activism types. However, it’s best to choose one to prioritize based on comfort level, time availability and other aspects. They can always branch out into additional methods when suitable. 

Find a Climate Activism Group

Involvement in activism can sometimes become overwhelming, but that’s less likely to happen when people have the support of a community. Beginning activists should look for local, regional, and national groups operating in their areas and get information on how to join. 

People living in areas without active climate groups may still find welcoming communities by turning to the internet. Platforms such as Zoom, Reddit, and Discord allow users to connect with others, get advice, and share stories from wherever they are. 

When getting to know a new group, people should be as upfront as possible about aspects of themselves or their situations that may affect their climate activism involvement. If someone does not have a car and is unable to drive or has a disability that makes it difficult or dangerous for them to participate in crowded protests, everyone should know those things as soon as possible.

Many groups use messaging and scheduling tools to inform everyone about upcoming events or other relevant news. Then, people can continue participating regardless of their location. 

Connect Climate Activism to What You Know

Many people assume they can only become activists after first learning specific skills. However, activism can start when individuals speak passionately about what matters to them. 

They can also look for permissible ways to blend activism with their work. A kindergarten teacher could encourage sustainability in students by managing a class garden and having kids plant seeds. The manager of a small local business might get approval to offer customers reusable bags instead of disposable ones. Those are small but meaningful steps toward a greener planet. 

Although some activism efforts capture international attention, plenty of less noticeable actions make a difference, too. The easiest option is to fit activism into everyday life in the most seamless ways. 

If you lead a book club, why not suggest that the next title relate to climate change or those affected by it? The issue is more likely to move people by encouraging them to think beyond their previous perceptions and experiences. 

View the Future With Hope

Deciding to pursue climate activism can cause excitement and uncertainty. As people grapple with these emotions, they must remember that they’ll work alongside those with similar values, taking collective action to bring a greener, more hopeful future for the Earth’s current and future inhabitants. 

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About the author

Steve Russell

Steve is the Managing Editor of and regularly contributes articles related to wildlife, biodiversity, and recycling. His passions include wildlife photography and bird watching.