Equals, Not Elites: A New Model to Stop Global Warming

One-on-one, face-to-face outreach

Emotional support Listening Turns and Support Groups

Horizontal Discussions, Action Groups and Spokescouncils

Eliminating Racism in our Movement and Other Oppressions

Volunteerism, Not “Environmental Professionals”

Global warming threatens our species. Fortunately, most people now recognize the danger and about 25% in the United States are “concerned” or “alarmed.” Moreover, there are excellent organizations taking action to stop global warming, from the many local Transition Towns supporting individual lifestyle changes to the Citizens’ Climate Lobby advocating a tax on carbon (with all proceeds returned to tax payers) and 350.org taking more direct action including civil disobedience and a campaign to university to divest themselves from fossil fuel, not to mention dozens of environmental groups nationally like the Sierra Club and Greenpeace, and locally like the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. The question is not so much what policy to seek, but how to get more people active in more effective ways. For a full critique of existing models, please see “Elites vs. Equals” under the Drop Down Menu labelled “Equals Model” .

One-on-one Outreach

Our first priority here at the National Institute for Peer Support (NIPS) is to identify these potential activists and get them involved effectively in the climate change movement. We have learned in the peer support world that the most effective form of outreach is one-on-one, personal contact, “attraction, not promotion.” We need to ask our family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, co-religionists–all our contacts: “What do you think about global warming?” and “What are you doing about it?”

Emotional Support

To begin with, reaching out to our friends and close contacts can be embarrassing. NIPS provides training and support for you to do continued one-on-one outreach to build a movement big and strong enough to take the steps to stop global warming like those advocated by the organizations listed above.

Unfortunately, getting someone interested in taking action is not enough. Activism is stressful and stress often makes us ineffective. Outreach embarrasses us. The crisis discourages us. We get angry at our coworkers. We fail to cooperate.

Peer support deals with the emotional stress of activism and helps us work together as equals. Please join our Climate Support Group and provide each other with peer support for outreach and effective climate action at the local level at the most crucial movement in human history.

Horizontalist Discussions and Action Groups

The peer support world also offers egalitarian models for bottoms-up discussions across organizational boundaries, ongoing Action (Affinity) Groups and Spokescouncils to coordinate these Action Groups. We have organized successful Groups in Tucson, AZ, and now Washington, DC. We would love to help you do the same in your community.

Just email us at JimDriscoll@NIPSPeerSupport.org and we will get you started. We offer weekend workshops, one-on-one Listening Turns, Topic Discussions, Action and Support Groups in person, on the phone or over the Internet. Descriptions of these activities can be found on this page under “NIPS Model.”

Eliminating Racism and Other “Isms”

Historically, racism and other isms have been used to divide and undermine social change movements, especially in the United States. Peer support provides an effective approach to dealing with the inevitable attitudes and behaviors we all pick up along the way. We use classes, ongoing action groups and support groups to encourage white activists in particular to become effective allies to people of color leading in climate and sustainability–and building the resiliency of their communities which feel the impacts of climate change disproportionately.

 

 

 

3 Responses to Equals, Not Elites: A New Model to Stop Global Warming

  1. Ellie Whitney says:

    I’ve been a climate activist since 1979. I have fought coal-burning power plants in Florida, written six years’ worth of columns on environmental (most climate) issues in the Tallahassee Democrat, lobbied my reps in Congress, etc., etc., etc. I am exhausted and scared. I hate to admit it, but I am feeling defeated. I hope this is a temporary low, because I don’t want to drag the rest of you down. I want to support your efforts.

    Ellie

  2. A prescient article that could be citing our peer support networks:
    “An example of this is the national project that brings people together in facilitated small groups to discuss their responses to climate change and make reductions in their carbon footprints. Conversations about loss, grief, anxiety, ambivalence and identity weave their way around practical considerations of how to reduce one’s impact on the world. The combination of truthfulness, support and challenge are key.”
    http://aeon.co/magazine/psychology/rosemary-randall-climate-change-psychoanalysis/

  3. Great idea! Thanks for creating and sustaining it :)

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