the first step

what does this community need?

– Seth Godin

This quote is in ALL CAPS and circled in my notebook next to my thoughts on today’s topic: climate change action. I have no idea where I read the quote, most likely Seth’s amazing daily blog, but I do know why I wrote it down.

Like many people I know, I’ve been awoken from my slumber, if you will, by the recent shake-ups happening in our government. There’s a lot of disturbing news, but rolling back climate change progress scares me the most. For example, one recent Trump administration leadership selection: a man currently suing the EPA will now run the EPA. Makes sense. (Aside: SNL joked this weekend that he was selected to protect us from the environment. Humor always helps)

What scares you the most? No matter the issue, I think the best first step is to consider Seth’s question above – what does the community of people out there working on this need? What’s their strategy? Do you agree with it? Do they just need donations or is there something you can personally do to help them? Can you lead them in some way?

I’ll start by listing out organizations and doing research on what they’re doing over time. Then, once the community is understood, hopefully I’ll be able to answer Seth’s question.

Union of Concerned Scientists

The Union of Concerned Scientists was founded during the height of the Vietnam war during a teach-in at MIT to protest the US government’s militarization of science. Initially, the group was concerned with nuclear proliferation and energy issues, but over time has shifted its focus to sustainability. Today, the majority of the UCS’s areas of advocacy focus on climate change.

The group is responsible for groundbreaking research on sustainability standards for vehicles and the disastrous affects of climate change.  Along with other groups such as the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, the Union of Concerned Scientists has been integral in refuting those who claim climate change is a hoax. The UCS also produces reports on how the fossil fuel industry and other private interests profit from inaction on climate change. (source – Bill Moyers) was founded with the goal of uniting climate activists into a movement, with a strategy of bottom-up organizing around the world. Activists in 189 countries have organized’s local climate-focused campaigns, projects and actions. In India, for example, organizers have mobilized people to speak out against the country’s dependence on coal for growth. In the US, the group has campaigned to divest public institutions — such as municipalities and universities — from the fossil fuel industry, and to stop the Keystone XL pipeline. (source – Bill Moyers)


Since its founding, the organization’s priority has shifted from nuclear proliferation to confronting climate change. But their strategy of peaceful direct action with an international focus has essentially remained the same. (source – Bill Moyers) Their website says their investigations expose environmental crimes and the people, companies and governments that need to be held responsible.

Via Wikipedia, they focus their “campaigning on worldwide issues such as climate change, deforestation, overfishing, commercial whaling, genetic engineering, and anti-nuclear issues. It uses direct action, lobbying, research, and ecotage to achieve its goals. The global organization does not accept funding from governments, corporations, or political parties, relying on 2.9 million individual supporters and foundation grants.”

Climate Truth

These guys “fight the denial, distortion, and disinformation that block bold action on climate change”, “push major institutions to cut ties with climate deniers and come clean about climate solutions”, and “lift up the voices of those most directly impacted by climate denial and delay.”

World Wildlife Fund

DC non-profit working to conserve natural habitat for endangered species. Their strategy “puts people at the center and organizes their work around six key areas: forests, marine, freshwater, wildlife, food and climate”.

Climate Central

An independent organization of leading scientists and journalists researching and reporting the facts about our changing climate and its impact on the public. Climate Central surveys and conducts scientific research on climate change and informs the public of key findings. Their scientists publish and their journalists report on climate science, energy, sea level rise, wildfires, drought, and related topics. Climate Central is not an advocacy organization – they do not lobby, and do not support any specific legislation, policy or bill.

The Risky Business Project

The Risky Business Project, founded in 2013 by former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson Jr., and climate activist Thomas Steyer. Risky Business quantifies and publicizes risks to coastal property, infrastructure, crop yields, and labor productivity, so businesses know just how much they stand to lose from an unstable climate. And, as many U.S. corporations are global in reach, they are also paying attention to their risks and costs in other parts of the world, notably sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

Friends of the Earth

Sierra Club

United States Green Building Council

Idle No More

Natural Resources Defense Council

Years of Living Dangerously

Yale Project on Climate Change Communication

Conservation International

The foundation of CI’s work is “science, partnership and field demonstration.” The organization has scientists, policy workers and other conservationists on the ground in more than 30 countries. It also relies heavily on thousands of local partners. CI works with governments, universities, NGOs and the private sector with the aim of replicating these successes on a larger scale. By showing how conservation can work at all scales, CI aims to make the protection of nature a key consideration in economic development decisions around the world. (Wikipedia)

Global Green

From their website:

Global Green USA is the American affiliate of Green Cross International, founded by President Gorbachev to foster a global value shift toward a sustainable and secure future. For 20 years, Global Green USA has been a national leader in advancing smart solutions to climate change that improve lives and protect our planet.

We create transformative model projects and advance new policies that build sustainable and resilient communities and affordable housing. We help local governments, schools, and public agencies integrate sustainable design, clean energy, and water reduction measures and we help people reduce waste, live better, and act more sustainably today–and in the future.

Climate Disclosure Project

Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) is an independent not-for-profit
organisation aiming to create a lasting relationship between
shareholders and corporations regarding the implications for
shareholder value and commercial operations presented by climate
change. Its goal is to facilitate a dialogue, supported by quality
information, from which a rational response to climate change will
emerge. (source: Nifty Homestead)

From their website, they’re “helping persuade companies throughout the world to measure, manage, disclose and ultimately reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

Protect Our Winters

Next place to look:

Climate Change Organizations

Key activities/methods

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