Introduction to Climate Action groups

Are you a Friends of the Earth local group passionate about fighting climate change? Read on to find out how your Friends of the Earth local group can interact with the Climate Action campaign and Climate Action groups in practice.

04 Aug 2021

What is Climate Action?

Climate chaos is in the news more than ever, and people are increasingly aware that time is running out to save the planet from irreversible destruction. Many communities are already taking action, from schoolchildren going on strike to groups like Extinction Rebellion engaging in acts of civil disobedience.

But there are also many passionate people who haven’t found their place in the current environmental movement and are at a loss as to what they can do to solve the climate crisis.

Some may not be comfortable with direct action methods, while others might not feel that the traditional group structure of environmental organisations is the right fit for them.

Instead, they’re looking to join forces with other people in their community similarly driven by a desire to do something to stop runaway climate change. They want to create local solutions to climate chaos and demand big systemic changes from politicians. They just need a little support and a clear roadmap to be confident campaigners and ensure they’re all pushing in the same direction. 

That’s where Climate Action comes in. Anyone, whether they’re already part of a community group or have never done anything like this before, can start a Climate Action group to campaign on climate change. We’ll be the support system and bring them all together at key moments to pressure decision-makers.

Friends of the Earth local groups will have access to more support, resources and training opportunities to help with their climate campaigns as well as an increased number of groups across the country to link up with to push for big systemic change. 

We’ve already got hundreds of Climate Action Groups across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. And we hope your Friends of the Earth local group will get involved!

How Friends of the Earth local groups can get involved

The following scenarios illustrate the most common ways Friends of the Earth local groups can get involved in Climate Action.  Multiple factors are likely to determine which option is best suited for your group, so if you’re still not sure which works best for you – get in touch!

1. Your local group would like to campaign on Climate Action

If you’d like your Friends of the Earth local group to take on the Climate Action campaign, we suggest you start by hosting a kick-off event. This will enable you to reach people in your community who are interested in taking action on climate chaos and might want to join your local group. We also recommend you brand the event as ‘Climate Action (location name)’ rather than Friends of the Earth, as it’s likely to attract a different and bigger audience.

If you’d like some advice and support on hosting a kick-off event, do get in touch with your regional staff contact or read our guide on hosting a Climate Action kick-off event.  

Once you’ve hosted your event and recruited some new people to take part in climate action, make sure to register your local group as a Climate Action group. There is no need for your group to change its name, just register as a Climate Action group under your current local group name, e.g. Liverpool Friends of the Earth.

You’ll then be invited to join regular webinars on a variety of climate-related subjects as well as our online messenger platform which allows you to link up with other Climate Action groups. And you’ll also get access to a whole host of Climate Action resources to support your campaign.  

Climate Action work could then become the main focus for your group or just one of the campaigns you work on alongside other existing campaigns (e.g. plastics, fracking etc).

2. Your local group helps set up a separate Climate Action group

If your group would prefer not to work on Climate Action but would like to help the network grow, why not help set up a separate Climate Action group in your area? 

Similarly to option 1, you can host a Climate Action kick-off event to find people near you that are interested in taking on the campaign. During the event you can identify people that seem like they’d be up for organising the Climate Action group going forwards. 

These organisers can then go on to coordinate a separate group, which they’ll register as a Climate Action group. This new group will therefore have a different name to that of your local group (e.g. Climate Action Liverpool).

3. A Climate Action group emerges nearby to your local group

It could be that someone in your area hosts their own kick-off event to start a new Climate Action group. Whether or not your local group is also Climate Action group, this is great news – it just means more local people passionate about climate chaos and putting pressure on decision-makers to act. 

The chances are that as a Friends of the Earth local group, you’ve got great local knowledge and insight thanks to your campaigning experience in the area. We suggest reaching out to this new Climate Action group to introduce your group and offer to support them and collaborate on common goals. That way, you can align your asks to decision-makers and put even more weight behind your demands. 

This new Climate Action group could be an entirely new community group, or it might be an existing one that has taken on the Climate Action campaign (just like your group could!). So their name could be a variety of things (e.g. Climate Action Liverpool or Transition Town Liverpool).

4. You want to cooperate with other campaigning groups under the banner of Climate Action

Maybe you’re working with other groups across a larger area to apply pressure to decision-makers at that level of government. In this case, you may want to form a Climate Action group constituted of multiple other more local groups (be they Friends of the Earth, more local Climate Action groups, or other campaigning groups). 

For example, a few different groups across London might want to form a London Climate Action group to lobby the Mayor of London.