New Internationalist

Don’t panic: take action!

Issue 419

Greenpeace have bought a piece of land slap bang in the middle of the proposed third runway site at Heathrow near London. If the UK is to have any hope of meeting climate emission targets this project must not go ahead. You can help stop the runway getting built by signing up for your own bit of land – at no cost to you. Find out more.

30,000 people could be forced from their homes as climate refugees if the plans for a new coal fired power station at Kingsnorth in Kent get the go ahead. On current trends, an estimated 10 million people will be forced to leave their homes permanently by 2050 because of the UK’s overall contribution to climate change. Start taking action to prevent this by telling Ed Miliband to say no to new coal and Kingsnorth.

Be ambitious

The time for politely advocating incremental reform is past. In order to move rapidly to a zero-carbon society, we need to be demanding massive changes. Ignore all accusations of hopeless idealism. Things that seem impossible will stay impossible if no-one asks for them.

Be strategic

You are part of the bigger picture: people like you all over the world are taking action for climate justice too. Work out where you fit in. Think about the principles for climate justice: rich take responsibility; leave the fossil fuels in the ground; fair and effective solutions; and equal access to resources. What is most urgent where you are? What campaigns are already running? What interests, skills and enthusiasm can you contribute?

Be effective

Who’s most responsible for climate change near you and how can they be stopped? You have a range of tactics at your disposal. What will have the biggest impact on your target? Consider direct action. Join in with a mass civil disobedience event – such as a climate camp (see below) – to find out whether it’s for you.

Be collective

Warning: never attempt to stop climate change by yourself. It will give you a nervous breakdown, and the planet doesn’t need that right now. Get together with a group of people and organize something – you could find an existing local group (see below) or a few friends and see if there’s something you can do together.

Be audacious

What’s the big battle in your country or region? Coal mining, new power stations, airport expansion, deforestation, oil from tar sands, mountain-top removal? Get involved. Never doubt the power of a big iconic campaign – its ripples travel much further than you may imagine.

Have fun!

Climate change is serious: but in attempting to stop it, it often helps to be silly. Humour draws in new people, disarms those who may otherwise be affronted, and gets you noticed. Most importantly, it can help keep you going. Costumes, music, stories, parties, games and bad banner puns all have a crucial role to play in the battle to save humanity.

Useful links

There are hundreds of organizations and groups across the world working on climate justice, and many of them are now part of the new international ‘Climate Justice Now!’ network.

How to get active: You will have to do your own research to find an active group or campaign to get involved in near you, but here are some good places to start:



New Zealand / Aotearoa


Copenhagen 2009

The climate talks in Copenhagen in December will be a huge focus for the media, for politicians, for business and NGOs – and for the climate justice movement. The deal currently on the table will not deliver climate justice. Rich countries must commit to much deeper emissions cuts and drop their insistence on doing it all through carbon trading and offsetting, and Majority World countries must get a much better deal.

  • Get involved in campaigns pushing for radical changes to the Copenhagen deal over the coming months.
  • Plan to be there! Huge protests are already being organized. It’s shaping up to be the biggest, most important mobilization for the global justice movement since Seattle. If you live in Europe, put it in your diary.

More information on plans for the mobilization at:

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This article was originally published in issue 419

New Internationalist Magazine issue 419
Issue 419

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New Internationalist Magazine Issue 436

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