Campaign to prevent climate change?
Many non-environmental organisations believe that it isn’t their job to advocate on climate change. But if you judge that the threat of unrestricted climate change to your cause is significant, you could opt to campaign for bigger carbon reductions as one element of achieving your mission.
A social justice issue
The growing understanding of the link between climate change and social justice could persuade more voluntary and community organisations (VCOs) in the UK to integrate calls for lower carbon emissions into their existing advocacy, as many international development agencies working in poorer countries now do. They have already witnessed the impacts of climate change on people in other parts of the world, and how it exacerbates the poverty they aim to alleviate. As a result, climate change has become a core part of their campaign strategies. Organisations working on social justice and community resilience in the UK are also increasingly likely to consider this option, as the impacts of climate change become more pronounced here.
The decision for VCOs about whether to campaign on climate change is becoming more pressing. This is because of the consensus that the world is reaching a tipping point after which it will be become virtually impossible to prevent global temperatures escalating. So campaigning action to encourage carbon reduction is needed now.
If your organisation feels it has a mission-based case for taking on advocacy work in this area, there are several options to consider. For example, you could:
- encourage your service users, partners or peers to reduce their carbon footprint and become climate champions themselves
- make the case for why preventing climate change is relevant to your issue and lobby audiences such as your supporter base or even the general public to step up to the challenge
- integrate calls for greater carbon emission cuts into the discussions you have with decision-makers, such as your relevant government department
- join a collaborative campaign such as Stop Climate Chaos or the Energy Bill campaign (focused on energy efficiency in homes and fuel poverty)
- sign up to the Third Sector Declaration on Climate Change.
The campaigning effectiveness section of this website provides information and advice on devising, planning and delivering campaigns.
However your organisation opts to respond to climate change, it’s your decision. Your responsibility remains to put the needs of your beneficiaries or cause first, while acting sustainably.
The Charity Commission's Going Green: charities and environmental responsibility gives an overview of how charities can address green issues within the context of their mission and as a way of ensuring their overall efficiency and effectiveness.
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