Beyond Changing Light Bulbs: 21 Ways You Can Stop the Climate Crisis

Rivera Sun, syndicated by PeaceVoice, has written numerous books, including The Dandelion Insurrection. She is the editor of Nonviolence News and a nationwide trainer in strategy for nonviolent campaigns.

Here’s the good news: The debate is over. 75% of US citizens believe climate change is human-caused; more than half say we have to do something and fast. 

Here’s even better news: A new report shows that more than 200 cities and counties, and 12 states have committed to or already achieved 100 percent clean electricity. This means that one out of every three Americans (about 111 million Americans and 34 percent of the population) lives in a community or state that has committed to or has already achieved 100 percent clean electricity. Seventy cities are already powered by 100 percent wind and solar power. The not-so-great news is that many of the transition commitments are too little, too late. 

The best news? The story doesn’t end there.

We can all pitch in to help save humanity and the planet. And I don’t mean just by planting trees or changing light bulbs. Climate action movements are exploding in numbers, actions, and impact.  Groups like Youth Climate StrikesExtinction Rebellion#ShutDownDC, the Sunrise Movement, and more are changing the game.  Join in if you haven’t already. As Extinction Rebellion reminds us: there’s room for everybody in an effort this enormous. We all make change in different ways, and we’re all needed to make all the changes we need.

Resistance is not futile. As the editor of Nonviolence News, I collect stories of climate action and climate wins. In the past month alone, the millions of people worldwide rising up in nonviolent action have propelled a number of major victories. The University of British Columbia divested $300 million in funds from fossil fuels. The world’s largest public bank ditched fossil fuels and said it would no longer invest in oil and coal. California cracked down on oil and gas fracking permits halting new drilling wells as the state prepares for a renewable energy transition. New Zealand passed a law to put the climate crisis at the front and center of all its policy considerations (the first such legislation in the world). The second-largest ferry operator on the planet is switching from diesel to batteries in preparation for a renewable transition. Re-affirming their anti-pipeline stance, Portland, Oregon city officials told Zenith Energy that they would not reverse their decision, and instead would continue to block new pipelines. Meanwhile, in Portland, Maine, the city council joined the ever-growing list endorsing the youths’ climate emergency resolution. Italy made climate change science mandatory in school. And that’s just for starters.

Is it any wonder Collins Dictionary made “climate strike” the Word of the Year?

Beyond planting trees and changing lightbulbs, here’s a list of things you can do about the climate crisis:

1. Join Greta Thunberg, Fridays for the Future, and the global Student Climate Strikes on Fridays.

2. Not a student? Join Jane Fonda’s #FireDrillFridays (civil disobedience is the latest workout fad; everybody looks good saving the planet).

3. Take to the field, like the students who disrupted the Harvard-Yale football game to demand fossil fuel divestment. You can’t play football on a dead planet, after all.

4. Stage an “oil spill” like these 40 members of Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard (FFDH) and Extinction Rebellion. They staged an oil spill in Harvard’s Science Center Plaza to call attention to the university’s complicity in the climate crisis.   

5. Get in the way with city-wide street blockades like #ShutDownDC. People from an alliance of groups blockaded the banks and investment firms in the nation’s capital to protest the financing of fossil fuels, and the ways the banking industry drives the climate migration crisis while profiting from the devastation.

6. Rally the artists and paint giant murals to remind people to take action, like this skyscraper-sized Greta Thunberg mural in San Francisco.

7. No walls handy? Print out a scowling Greta and put it in the office to remind people not to use single-use plastic.

8. Crash Congress (or your city/county officials’ meetings) demanding climate legislation, climate emergency resolutions, and more. That’s what these climate justice activists did last week, protesting legislative inaction and demanding justice for people living on the front lines of the crisis. 

9. Occupy the offices: Sit-ins and occupations of public officials offices are one way to take the protest to the politicians. Campaigners occupied US Senator Pelosi’s office and launched their global hunger strike just before US Thanksgiving weekend. In Oregon, 21 people were arrested while occupying the governor’s office to get her to oppose a fracked gas export terminal at Jordan Cove.

10. Organize a coal train blockade like climate activists in Ayers, Massachusetts. They made a series of multi-wave coal train blockades, one group of protesters taking up the blockade as the first group was arrested. Or rally thousands like the Germans did when they gathered between 1,000-4,000 green activists, made their way past police lines, and blocked trains at three important coal mines in eastern Germany.

11. Shut down your local fossil fuel power plant. (We’ve all got one.) New Yorkers did this dramatically a few weeks ago, scaling a smokestack and blockading the gates. In New Hampshire, 67 climate activists were arrested outside their coal power plant, calling for it to be shut down.

12. Of course, another option is to literally take back your power like this small German town that took ownership of their grid and went 100 percent renewable.

13. Like Spiderman? You could add some drama to a protest like these two kids (ages 8 and 11) who rappelled down from a bridge with climbing gear and a protest banner during COP25 in Madrid.

14. Ground the private jets. Extinction Rebellion members went for the gold: they blockaded a private jet terminal used by wealthy elites in Geneva.

15. Sail a Sinking House down the river like Extinction Rebellion did along the Thames to show solidarity with all those who have lost their homes to rising seas.

16. Clean it up. Use mops, brooms, and scrub brushes for a “clean up your act” protest like the one Extinction Rebellion used at Barclay’s Bank branches.

17. Blockade pipeline supply shipments like Washington activists did to stall the expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline. 

18. Catch the eye with a Red Brigade Funeral Procession like this one during the Black Friday climate action protests in Vancouver.

19. Tiny House Blockades: Build a tiny house in the path of the pipelines, like these Indigenous women are doing to thwart the Trans Mountain Pipeline in Canada. 

20. Make a racket with a pots-and-pans protest. Cacerolazos – pots and pans banging protests – erupted in 12 Latin American countries last week. The media focused on government corruption and economic justice as the cause, but in many nations, including Chile and Bolivia, climate and environmental justice are included in the protesters demands. 

21. Share this article. Action inspires more action. Hearing these examples – and the successes – gives us the strength to rise to the challenges we face. You can help stop the climate crisis by sharing these stories with others. (You can also connect to 30-50+ stories of nonviolence in action by signing up for Nonviolence News’ free weekly enewsletter.)

Plus! Here’s a bonus idea from friends at World Beyond War: Connect peace and climate, militarism and environmental destruction, by pressuring your local government to divest from both weapons and fossil fuels, like Charlottesville, VA, did last year, and Arlington,VA, is working on right now. 

Remember: all these stories came from the Nonviolence News articles I’ve collected in just the past 30 days! These stories should give you hope, courage, and ideas for taking action. There’s so much to be done, and so much we can do! Joan Baez said that “action is the antidote to despair”. Don’t despair. Organize.

 

Latest posts

Kuttab Brothers Debate the Future of Palestine

June 28, 5:00 PM Jerusalem time, 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Kuttab Brothers Debate the Future of Palestine:

Where are We Now and Where are We Going?

Register Here!

The situation in Palestine is becoming increasingly dire. Daily ferocious and deadly attacks on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip continue, alongside the blockade of humanitarian aid and medical care for those most in need. In the West Bank and East Jerusalem, ongoing violence from settlers and the Israeli army against Palestinians persists, including harming civilians, land confiscation, and destruction of property. In Israel (1948 territories), Palestinians are facing unprecedented levels of discrimination and violence. 

Public declarations and positions by Israeli officials are undermining efforts not only for a ceasefire but also for a genuine and viable solution that ensures peace and security for all residents of the region. Subjugating the Palestinians seems to be the only solution offered by these politicians and there seems to be wide support for them.

Additionally, many experts warn that the Palestinian Authority is on the verge of collapse, rendering it even more powerless than before to provide for its population and protect it from these relentless attacks and violations, even in statements of condemnation.

The ongoing struggle has left many around the world with questions about the future of Palestine and the nonviolence resistance movement.

The Crucial Questions:

  • Where is the Palestinian movement for liberation standing now?
  • What is the future of the Palestinian political leadership?
  • Is there any viable solution to the occupation and what does it look like?

Joining us to answer these questions and many more are two brothers who have dedicated their lives to Palestinian liberation and peace.

Featured Speakers:

Jonathan Kuttab: Jonathan Kuttab is a leading human rights lawyer. In 1979, he co-founded Al Haq, the first international human rights legal organization in Palestine. Later, he co-founded the Palestinian Center for the Study of Non-Violence (now Nonviolence International) and also founded the Mandela Institute for Prisoners. Jonathan is a Palestinian Christian, past chair of the Bethlehem Bible College, and serves on the board of the Sabeel Ecumenical Theology Center in Jerusalem. Jonathan was part of the 1994 legal team for the Cairo agreement that resulted in the Oslo II Accord. He was a visiting scholar at Osgoode Law School at York University in Toronto in the Fall of 2017 and is a founding director of Just Peace Advocates Mouvement pour une Paix Juste, a Canadian-based international law human rights not-for-profit. Jonathan is a resident of East Jerusalem and a partner of the Kuttab, Khoury, and Hanna Law Firm in East Jerusalem.


Daoud Kuttab: Daoud Kuttab is a Palestinian journalist and media activist. He is the former Ferris Professor of Journalism at Princeton University. Daoud Kuttab is currently the director general of Community Media Network (CMN), a not-for-profit media organization dedicated to advancing independent media in the Arab region. CMN is registered in Jordan and Palestine and administers Radio al Balad in Amman and ammannet.net. He is a regular columnist on Palestinian issues with Al-Monitor, Arab News, and writes frequently in the Washington Post, LA Times, Al Jazeera, New Arab, Newsweek, The New Republic, and other publications.

Born in Jerusalem in 1955, Daoud studied in the United States and has worked in journalism since 1980. He has received several international awards, among them: the CPJ Freedom of Expression Award, the IPI World Press Freedom Hero, the PEN Club USA Writing Freedom Award, the Leipzig Courage in Freedom Award, the Next Foundation Peace in Journalism Award, and the Japanese Peace Award for producing Shara'a Simsim, the Palestinian version of Sesame Street.

Join us for an insightful and compelling discussion on the current state and future of the Palestinian movement, political leadership, and the quest for a viable solution to the occupation. We will be taking a limited number of questions from the participants. 

Register Here!

Direct Action by Solidarity Activists to Break the Siege

 

https://youtube.com/shorts/yD8V3kn-UKE?si=bGj0edTBl51e5Fst

 

 As we witness the daily horrific attacks against the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip, we also see the global movement calling for a ceasefire and an end to Israeli genocide grow with protests taking place across every major city in the world today. Taking this activism a step further, many are also engaged in direct action to break the siege of Gaza that has lasted for over 17 years and intensified in the last 8 months. People that are ready to put their lives on the line to save others. These people represent us, the global nonviolence movement, coming together from different parts of the world and from different ethnic and religious backgrounds.These are the ones who said, in the face of the impossible, we want to do something.

This will be hosted by Sami Awad. Our impressive speakers updated us and answered our questions!

Freedom Flotilla-Ann Wright

Rabbis for a Ceasefire- Ilana Sumka

Host- Co-Director of Nonviolence International, Sami Awad


Register Now!

Stop Arms to Israel

NVI is supporting efforts to pressure governments, most notably the USA, to halt its weapons transfers to Israel so as not to contribute to further war crimes and human rights abuses.

Control Arms (which has recently spun-off from NVI) issued a statement that calls on governments to abide by the Arms Trade Treaty.  US Pres. Trump withdrew from the ATT and the Biden administration has shamefully refused to re-sign.  NVI is proud to have supported Control Arms and the Arms Trade Treaty and encourages all to support this valuable citizens' network and this humanitarian disarmament treaty.

May 2024 - #Stop Sending Arms - Control Arms Statement on the Israel - Palestine Conflict

1. Control Arms, in partnership with the Ceasefire Now coalition of 688 NGOs, calls attention to the role of transferred weapons, parts, and ammunition in facilitating the atrocities taking place in Gaza, and demands a halt to these transfers and the immediate establishment of a ceasefire.

2. Israel’s bombardment and siege are depriving the civilian population of the basics to survive and rendering Gaza uninhabitable. Today, the civilian population in Gaza faces a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented severity and scale caused by systematic, deliberate destruction of the basics of life. Palestinian armed groups have indiscriminately fired rockets into Israel without concern for the protection of civilians and with open disregard for international humanitarian law (IHL). 

3. We have witnessed more than six months of relentless Israeli attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure in Gaza, including the use of starvation as a weapon of war. The International Court of Justice has ruled it is plausible that this could amount to genocide. All States have an obligation to prevent atrocities. In these circumstances, the Arms Trade Treaty is clear: any transfer of weapons, ammunition, parts and components that are at risk of being used in Gaza is likely to violate international humanitarian law and therefore, must cease immediately. 

4. The four Geneva Conventions and customary international law obligates all states to ensure respect for international humanitarian law. By ending their supply of items that are at risk of being used in the conflict, major arms exporting states can help to bring an end to serious violation of IHL and most importantly to the suffering being witnessed in Gaza. As close partners to Israel, the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom shoulder a distinct duty in this regard.

5. Despite the United States and its allies repeatedly urging Israel to protect civilians in Gaza, the United States has decided to provide over US$14 billion in further military support without any new conditions to protect human rights. This aid includes expanded authorities for arms transfers and subsidizing Israel's defense industry. The U.S. should withhold this assistance or enforce existing laws, such as Section 620I of the Foreign Assistance Act, which prevents aiding countries that restrict humanitarian assistance. Failure to act risks prolonging civilian suffering in Gaza and escalating regional tensions.

Here is another coalition Letter to US State Department calling for a Halt of Weapons Transfers to Israel

For more information on Control Arms, here is a link to Control Arms work seeking to halt weapons transfers to Saudi Arabia for its war in Yemen. Otherwise, one can go to the website Controlarms.org

Nonviolence Can Heal National Traumas, by Jonathan Kuttab

Dear reader,

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and more generalized trauma are not only personal and individual in character but often afflict whole nations and peoples. Frequently historical in nature, trauma can be passed down intergenerationally. 

One of the greatest examples of such trauma afflicting  humanity is that of the Holocaust, compounding the historical experience of centuries of persecution, hatred, and discrimination against Jewish people. This is a trauma that made it easy for many to succumb to the doctrines of Zionism, offering Jewish empowerment via Jewish supremacy in a Jewish-dominated state as the only cure for their ongoing suffering. It has made many easy prey for fascist doctrines, of belief in the value of violence and military overkill as the only path to survival. It has also made it difficult for many to take seriously any path towards peace and reconciliation that is not firmly rooted in their military power and supremacy. And while many cynically exploit the traumas of the Holocaust for political ends, there exists a genuine phenomenon of authentic fear that cries out for healing and needs to be addressed.

That rabbit hole of domination and “deterrence” will likely doom Israeli Jews to eternal strife and enmity with their neighbors, leading to ever increased militarization since in their traumatized state no amount of military power will ever be sufficient, and any attempt by Palestinians to resist that domination is only likely to reinforce the trauma. Similarly, all peace efforts will be viewed with deep suspicion and reticence, particularly if they require concessions that seem to reduce Israeli military domination or appear to make Israel weaker or more vulnerable to the risk of future attacks.

As a Palestinian, I am keenly aware of these traumas. I realize, however unjust it is, that our liberation is tied to the healing of our oppressors from the traumas of the past, for which we are the current victims.

Rubble from a destroyed school in Palestine

I am also aware that armed struggle by Palestinians, however legitimate under international law—and even if it were directed solely at armed soldiers and settlers—still risks reinforcing rather than healing the trauma.

In addition to this, we cannot forget that the Palestinians also have a long history of trauma, are now being traumatized, and are in great need healing, especially when the current genocide stops and the difficult process of rebuilding Gaza commences. Tens of thousands of orphans, bereaved families, over 70,000 wounded, and millions who have lost their homes require not only justice but also time and space to undertake a long process of healing.

I am also deeply conscious of how attractive the call to violence can be for oppressed and traumatized peoples. The events of October 7—apart from the attacks on civilians at the music festival and the kibbutzim as well as the taking of civilian hostages, which are properly to be condemned in no uncertain terms—were also viewed by many Palestinians as a brilliantly successful military operation whereby resistance fighters armed with primitive hand held weapons simultaneously breached the sophisticated walls imprisoning Gaza in 30 locations, captured two army bases, including the headquarters of the Gaza Battalion, killing 340 soldiers and capturing about 40 others, and carried the fight into the territory held by their enemies (rather than their own). Despite the massiveness of the Israeli retaliation and the utter destruction of Gaza, the events of that day will likely hold an appeal to those who preach armed resistance for many years to come.

So we clearly need to resist the siren call for violence, especially in our pursuit of justice. But what can we do to bring about some measure of healing to these deep traumas that are currently feeding the cycle of violence and without the healing of which, no peace is possible?

NVI's fiscal partner, Holy Land Trust along with FOSNA held an extensive series of trainings, attended by over 70 Palestinians in the West Bank, to work on the process of dealing with ongoing trauma. We are also committed to pursuing such healing globally. 

Another conversation between NVI's new Co-Director, Sami Awad and Gabor Mate “From Pain to Healing: Healing Collective Trauma in Israel/Palestine” deals with this problem as well. It is this healing process that is urgently needed by all sides, and it is one area that supporters of nonviolence, can be part of the solution.

Peace,

Jonathan Kuttab, Co-Founder and Board Member

P.S.The Gaza Freedom Flotilla is delayed in Turkey, but another boat is headed from Sweden and is currently near Eurovision raising awareness of the ongoing blockade and siege of Gaza.

 

(Art Credit - Kayla Ginsburg - from CJNV)

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