Quantcast
Popular
Campact / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

Dear Activists: Your New Year’s Resolution Should Be to Throw a Better Party

By Jennifer Luxton

Hey, activists: By building art and play into your work, you bring energy and fun to your movement and encourage stronger bonds among participants. Song, dance and visual props make your direct actions memorable and inviting.


The Pacific Northwest-based Backbone Campaign trains budding activists on how to do that. Here are lessons from their Localize This! Action Camp:

1. Have a Pre-Protest Planning Party

Pre-event coordination invites people who can't take part in the action to still be a part of the movement. And it lets participants get to know each other without the stress of protest day.

2. Do More Than March

Bike, kayak or rappel into your action. It's high visibility, and by using different means of transportation, you're also making a statement against our reliance on cars. Ask local rental shops to borrow equipment at discounted rates—better yet, invite them to get involved, too.

3. Get Crafty

Wheat Paste Recipe

1. Combine 1 part flour and 4 parts water in a saucepan.

2. Heat to just below a boil until it's the consistency you need it.

3. Whisk constantly to prevent clumping.

This has a shelf life of just a few days, so only make as much as you can use right away.

Papier-mache or inflatable puppets get your message seen above the crowd. They can become a mascot for your action and a defining feature in photos afterward. Get creative—but consider the weather.

How to Make a Papier-Mache Puppet

1. Use clay, foam, or bunched-up and taped plastic grocery bags to form the shape of your model.

2. Then, cover the form in plastic wrap to prevent your paper from sticking to it and layer strips of paper grocery bags dipped in paste to form the shell.

3. Cut the shell in half to remove it and papier-mache over the seam to fuse it together again. Add structural reinforcements as needed.

4. Use acrylic or water-based house paint and seal it with something waterproof for wear and tear.

5. Take a lesson from theater makeup and use high contrast colors for viewing at a distance.

6. When you're marching for miles, weight is everything. Go for light materials and keep your puppets hollow.

7. Find an old external frame backpack and cut off everything but the shoulder straps. Mount your puppet to it with PVC pipes and zip ties so you can wear it instead of carrying it.

8. PVC pipes are your best friends for building on a budget. To create curves, use a heat gun and bend them once the pipes are malleable.

4. Have a Post-Protest Deconstruction Party

Municipal trash cans stuffed with protest signs are bad public relations. Recycle them. Invite participants to join you to disassemble props and make them available to allied movements.

5. Small Direct Actions Count, Too

If big demonstrations and marching shoulder to shoulder for miles isn't your scene, get sneaky: Use light to project messages onto the sides of buildings. Get personal: Perform your own song with a portable speaker in a public space.

Make art about your movement and paste prints around town.

Reposted with permission from our media associate YES! Magazine.

Show Comments ()
Sponsored
TAFE SA TONSLEY / Flickr

Worldwide Clean Energy Investments Hit $333.5 Billion Last Year

Global investment in renewable energy hit $333.5 billion in 2018, the second-highest on record, according to a new analysis from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

That's a 3 percent jump from 2016 and 7 percent short of the $360 billion record set in 2015.

Keep reading... Show less
Renewable Energy

How Blockchain Could Boost Clean Energy

By Jeremy Deaton

Bitcoin, the much-hyped cryptocurrency, made headlines recently for driving a surge in power use. Around the globe, digital entrepreneurs are 'mining' bitcoins by solving complex math problems, using supercomputers to get the job done. Those supercomputers use a ton of power, which largely comes from coal- and gas-fired power plants spewing gobs of carbon pollution.

But while hackers wreak havoc on the climate, blockchain, the bleeding-edge technology behind bitcoin, could one day help clean up the mess. Climate wonks say blockchain has a role to play in the clean-energy economy, helping homeowners sell electricity, allowing businesses to trade carbon credits, and making it easier for governments to track greenhouse gas emissions.

Keep reading... Show less
Abdallah Issa / Flickr

Post-Fire Landslide Problems Likely to Worsen: What Can Be Done?

By Lee MacDonald

Several weeks after a series of wildfires blackened nearly 500 square miles in Southern California, a large winter storm rolled in from the Pacific. In most places the rainfall was welcomed and did not cause any major flooding from burned or unburned hillslopes.

But in the town of Montecito, a coastal community in Santa Barbara County that lies at the foot of the mountains blackened by the Thomas Fire, a devastating set of sediment-laden flows killed at least 20 people and damaged or destroyed more than 500 homes. In the popular press these flows were termed "mudslides," but with some rocks as large as cars these are more accurately described as hyperconcentrated flows or debris flows, depending on the amount of sediment mixed with the water.

Keep reading... Show less
The most notable observation from the count was DeMartino's sighting of the golden crowned kinglet, but in general volunteers found the same species they normally do. (Photo above is of a golden crowned kinglet, but not the one DeMartino spotted.) Melissa McMasters

Birders Get a First Look at How 2017 California Wildfires Affected Wildlife

By Matt Blois

A neighbor knocked on Rick Burgess's door at about 9:30 p.m. to tell him a fire was coming towards his home in Ventura, California. When he looked outside he saw a column of smoke, and the hills were already starting to turn orange. He loaded up his truck with a collection of native plants he was using to write a countywide plant guide, and barely had enough time to get out.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
A learning garden from Kimbal Musk's nonprofit called Big Green. The Kitchen Community

Elon Musk's Brother Wants to Bring #RealFood to 100,000 Schools Across America

Kimbal Musk's nonprofit organization, The Kitchen Community, is expanding into a new, national nonprofit called Big Green, to build hundreds of outdoor Learning Garden classrooms across America.

Learning Gardens teach children an understanding of food, healthy eating and garden skills through experiential learning and garden-based education that tie into existing school curriculum, such as math, science and literacy.

Keep reading... Show less
Drilling fluids spilled into Ohio wetlands during construction of the Rover Pipeline in April. Sierra Club

Rover Pipeline Spills Another 150,000 Gallons of Drilling Fluid Into Ohio Wetlands

Energy Transfer Partners' troubled $4.2 billion Rover pipeline has spilled nearly 150,000 gallons of drilling fluid into wetlands near the Tuscarawas River in Stark County, Ohio—the same site where it released 2 million gallons in April.

The 713-mile pipeline, which will carry fracked gas across Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio and Michigan and Canada, is currently under construction by the same Dallas-based company that built the controversial Dakota Access pipeline.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

Large Dams Fail on Climate Change and Indigenous Rights

Brazil has flooded large swaths of the Amazon for hydro dams, despite opposition from Indigenous Peoples, environmentalists and others. The country gets 70 percent of its electricity from hydropower. Brazil's government had plans to expand development, opening half the Amazon basin to hydro. But a surprising announcement could halt that.

Keep reading... Show less
Jim Henderson / Wikimedia Commons

World's Largest Money Manager: Companies Must Respond to Social and Climate Challenges

The world's largest publicly traded companies must take a more active role in solving social issues or face blowback from investors, the CEO of BlackRock said Tuesday.

"To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society," Laurence Fink wrote in his annual letter to CEOs of companies in which BlackRock invests. BlackRock is the world's largest money manager, with more than $6 trillion in assets.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!