If you find yourself feeling anxious about the climate crisis and you want to do more, there are plenty of ways you can get involved in climate activism and demand change. Taking action is one of the best ways to handle feeling overwhelmed about climate change.
There is a place in the climate movement for everyone – you just need to find the type of activism that’s right for you. Find some ideas below for getting more involved in climate issues, from things you can do at home to attending or organising a protest.
In this article:
- Start small: How to get started in climate activism
- Get involved: Joining climate groups
- Get active: Joining a climate protest
Start small: How to get started in climate activism
If climate activism is new to you, it can be hard to know where to begin. Climate change is such a far-reaching topic, and trying to understand the solutions can be overwhelming. The best thing to do is start small with actions you can manage, and decide from there if you can take anything else on.
Raise awareness about climate change
One of the most effective things you can do when it comes to raising awareness about the climate crisis is to have conversations with family and friends. You don’t need to have all the answers to start a conversation about climate change – chances are, the person you’re speaking to won’t understand everything either. Instead, share the things you feel most concerned about, or bring up something new you learned like a fact about climate change and have a conversation about it. The more conversations you have, the higher the chances are that the people you’re speaking to will start to think about the issue more, and maybe take action themselves.
There is a chance that the conversation won’t always go well. If you speak to someone who believes climate change isn’t real or it’s not as bad as everyone says it is, remember it’s not your job to change that person’s mind. You can continue to engage in the conversation if you want to, or choose to spend your energy speaking to people who want to listen instead.
Online climate activism: Signing petitions and sending emails
If you’re looking for things you can do from home, there are a few ways you can get involved online. There are plenty of climate activism groups on social media you can follow to keep up to date with the latest climate news, and many of these groups will also share online petitions you can sign and recommend issues to contact your politicians about. This is a way to let your elected representatives know that you care about climate issues, and that you’re watching how they respond to these issues.
Here’s some advice for contacting your local politicians about climate change and contacting businesses about their climate policies.
Vote on climate issues
If you are eligible to vote in Ireland, you can use your vote to make a statement about the climate crisis. Take a look at what each party and politician has to say about climate and environmental issues, and what action they plan to take. You can use this information, alongside the other issues that you care about, to decide who to vote for.
If you are not eligible to vote in Ireland, you could talk to those in your life who can vote to make sure they get out there and ask them to consider candidates who will work for our planet when they’re in the polling booth.
Get involved: Joining climate groups
Joining a local climate group can be a great way to meet others who care about the same issues as you and make a difference.
Local climate and environmental groups
Many local communities will have a network of residents who want to keep their area looking well and protect the local environment. Ask around if there are any groups doing things like litter clean-ups or other projects like allotments for growing vegetables or advocating for things like cycling lanes. If there are no groups in your area, you could consider starting one of your own – all you need is a few people who want to make a difference, and you can start small. Learn more about taking climate action in your local community.
Climate-focused youth groups
Young people are leading the way in climate action, and there are many youth groups across the country that deal with climate issues. This ranges from organisations offering training, education, and support with climate-related projects, to groups organised by young people themselves with their own range of activities and actions.
Find out about climate-focused youth groups in Ireland.
Climate networks in Ireland
If you want to move beyond the local area, you could join one of the many climate networks across Ireland. These groups are often the first to respond to climate news in Ireland, like Stop Climate Chaos, Not Here Not Anywhere (protesting fossil fuel projects), and Climate Case Ireland. If you’re interested in climate policy and what’s happening at government level both nationally and internationally, then one of these climate networks might be for you.
Get active: Push for change
There are a number of ways you can push for change at a local, national or even global level.
Joining a climate protest
If you want to do more, then joining a climate protest is one way to really get out there and make your demands heard. Look out for protests organised by climate groups in Ireland, keep an eye out for school strikes organised by Fridays for Future groups, or find out if Extinction Rebellion are planning any activities in your area. If you can’t find any protests in your area, consider organising one of your own.
Attending a protest is the most visible way you can show the government that young people want action on climate issues, and they won’t be looking away any time soon.
Challenge local or national policies or laws
One way to demand action from the government or local authorities is to challenge them to change their policies or reform laws by accessing free legal advice and even taking legal action against them. There are a number of cases around the world where young people have taken their governments to court over their lack of action on the climate crisis. In 2020, a group called Climate Case Ireland took the Irish government to the Supreme Court for their failure to take adequate action on climate change, and they won their case.
However, your action doesn’t have to be as big as that – you can also look at environmental issues affecting your local area like air pollution, flooding or water quality, and take these issues up with your local authorities.
You can access free legal advice through the Centre for Environmental Justice, who hold free clinics every month. They can also provide training and information for community groups, and work to reform policies and laws.
It’s okay to take a break
Remember, climate change is an overwhelming subject, and you don’t need to be engaged 100% of the time. It’s okay to take a step back every now and then, or decide to focus on smaller actions that are easier to fit into your daily life. Small contributions can still make a big difference to the overall movement. Read more about looking after yourself if you have climate anxiety.