Organising
Guide

This is a step-by-step guide to help you organise a #RiseForClimate event on 8 September.

What is Rise for Climate?

On September 8, we’re planning thousands of rallies in cities and towns around the world to demand our local leaders commit to building a fossil free world that puts people and justice before profits.

No more stalling, no more delays: it’s time for a fast and fair transition to 100% renewable energy for all.

Real climate leadership rises from below. It means power in the hands of people not corporations. It means economic opportunity for workers and justice and dignity for frontline communities that are the hardest hit by the impacts of the fossil fuel industry and a warming world.

We are at a crossroads. 2020 is a threshold for meeting global targets to tackle the climate crisis. By acting together, we can end the era of fossil fuels and save the climate we all depend on.

Why 8 September?

This September, cities, states, businesses and civil society from around the world are gathering in California for the Global Climate Action Summit.

The Summit has invited every mayor, governor, and local leader in the world – whether they’re at the summit or not – to make a bold climate commitment to help the world reach the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.

We know what those commitments need to achieve: a fast, fair and just transition to 100% renewable energy and an immediate end to new fossil fuel projects.

We will mobilise ahead of the Summit, to tell the story of what real climate leadership is: we can’t afford another meeting opened with empty promises and bold speeches not followed by action.

City by city, neighbourhood  by neighbourhood, we’re going to build the future that we need.

What will Rise for Climate look like?

Rise for Climate will be a huge coordinated push for local leaders to take climate action, with local events everywhere on a global day of action! It aims to showcase the strength of people power all over the world – from our neighbourhoods, communities, towns and cities up.

It is a decentralised day of action: we mobilise together, and in a way that is going to work for you locally. The idea is for you to focus your efforts on a local institution that will make an impact locally if they respond to your demand for real climate leadership. It could be a business, a municipality, a city council, a university, a place of worship, or other important local institution committing to end their support for fossil fuels or start working towards 100% renewable energy for all.

Rise for Climate intends to bring the fight for a just and fair future for all where it matters most: locally. Whether you are an individual looking to make an impact, a brand new group seeking specific changes in your community, or a seasoned local organisation, Rise for Climate is a moment you can use to make an impact where you live and on a global stage.

What are the key demands for this mobilisation?

We will frame and popularise the definition of real climate leadership as committing to: a fast and fair transition to 100% renewable energy and an immediate end to new fossil fuel projects.

Some groups will also have a focus on finance – asking their local institutions to publicly cut their financial ties with the fossil fuel industry.

I want to participate

You can join an existing event – find them on the map! https://riseforclimate.org/

If there are no events in your neighbourhood, city or town, you can also register one – we’ll be here to support you. This is what this organising guide is about!

What if I can’t join an event & can’t organise one myself?

No problem! We need lots of people to help us support local groups in their organising efforts – and you can do that remotely! Contact us here.

You can contact one of the organisations involved in the Rise for Climate mobilisation.

You can amplify what is happening:  follow #RiseForClimate on social media and create/share your own stories, photos, tweets, videos etc using these resources to help spread the word between now and September 8. Here is some sample content and a visual guide. 

Step-by-step guide to organising for September 8

1. Bring together a coordinating team

Bring together a core team of people with the necessary skills or expertise that you require for your action ideas. Think about how you are trying to grow the local movement, and in which direction. Remember to involve partner organisations who can either be part of your core team or will be tactical allies with whom you share ideas and information.

2. Invite People to join you and organise a recruitment day

Invite your friends, neighbours, and local organisations to assist in organising, mobilising their members and participating in the action. Knock on doors, flyer, get petitions signed. Reach out to any local place of worship, labour/trade union, sports team, university, or arts cooperative that would be interested in getting involved in the issue.

Make a plan to reach out. Set a goal for how many people you’d like to see at the event and try to create a plan for reaching far more than that number. Ensure that you register your event – putting it on the map, so others near you can find it and join you.  Here’s a more detailed guide on using your Event Host tools once you’ve registered your action. Invite and link up with partner organisations interested in your action.

Putting up posters around town, sending emails through listservs, getting a public service announcement on the local radio, sharing on social media, sending out emails, writing editorials for local newspapers, getting on community calendars, asking organisations to include the action information in newsletters and bulletins are other ways to spread the word. Here are 5 things anyone can do to help spread the word. 

We don’t want to replace one unjust energy system with another – we want a new, fair, clean energy economy that works for everyone by supporting community-led energy solutions. To do this the communities most impacted by climate change and by fossil fuel industry must be leaders in demanding change. We’re stronger when we’re together. From farmers, to workers, parents, young people, people of colour, to those living in energy poverty or suffering pollution, identify these groups in your area, and see if you can support their agenda and find common goals to act together.

Local action can be articulated with international solidarity. Your neighborhood, your town or your city might not be heavily impacted by climate change – but there are likely many people living here who are connected to communities and countries heavily impacted by climate change. You can try and get in touch with them & build a mobilisation that would aim at shedding light on how you can stand in solidarity with people impacted by climate change on another continent, in another country, etc.

Download the Recruitment Day Guide here (coming soon)

3. Plan with your team

Be realistic: don’t be too ambitious, but don’t underestimate your capacity. Choose your tactics and your target (or the place where you’ll do your action) based on your capacity to mobilise, your goals, etc. We have action ideas below.

Actions don’t need to be big to be successful, just well thought out to demonstrate and call for real climate leadership at the local level. A good action helps reach your goals, helps onlookers to pick a side, helps build the power of the group, creates energy, and is within your capacity to deliver.

Your action could involve:

Check out this page full of Action Ideas for more inspiration

What phase is your campaign in?

Your goal will help to determine the tone and shape of the demonstration. Tone is important, because what you accomplish might depend on how the action is viewed. Will your action help the onlookers to pick your side?

Here is a session to help you plan your action.

4. Logistics

Decide on a specific time. When can your target hear your message? When will the people you want to attend be free? How will the timing symbolise the goal and tone you’re setting? You could think about actions that start at dawn rising with the sun. Decide on a location. How will people reach the action? What symbolic meaning does the location hold, do you need a permit to gather there?

Take care of all logistical details as soon as you can, including the timing of the action, directions, transportation, bathrooms, water and snacks for the organising group, sound system, spokespeople, permits for use of public spaces, and any legal briefings or trainings (eg. in direct action) if you need them. What is your plan B in case things don’t go to plan? What will you do to keep the action safe? Will you need to make the action a safe space for families, people with disabilities, and those on low incomes?

Think about roles in the run up and on the day. Who will check out the event space beforehand, take photos, hand out flyers to join the campaign, explain why you’re there and what you’re doing, steward group safety, do press and social media coverage, carry and hand out banners/placards/creative props, liaise with authorities, etc. Giving volunteers specific roles can help build your movement! Hold a briefing with your group so everyone knows what to do on the day.  And keep your registered participants updated along the way using your Event Host tools.

Make sure that in good time before your action that you share all the news of how people can join your event – it inspires confidence and helps ensure attendance.

Here is a rough timeline for planning your action.

You can contact the Rise for Climate team for support and advice.

5. Create your visuals

An image can be worth a thousand words. Think about how you can clearly show what you are rising for on 8 September in a single image or phrase. This will make sure that everyone who sees your action, including the media, hear exactly what you are trying to say.

To show we are unified across the world in our demands, we’re asking people to organise an event locally that include the visuals of the Fossil Free orange cross (for what we want to stop – fossil fuels) and the sun (for what we want to build – solar power, wind power, people power!).

You might also want to think about incorporating a “Rise” component in your action – standing up, lifting up images and banners, raising your voices – let your imagination run! Here are some examples. Can you adapt them to better suit your local context? For instance, the Pacific Climate Warriors will show the power they want to build with these local pinwheels made of coconut leaves, planting them outside their target institution: places of worship.

Think about hosting an event or two to paint banners and signs before your action, and invite volunteers to come. Build ongoing communications with your RSVPs into your timeline in the lead up to 8 September –- creating art together is a great way to help people get to know each other and build community! You can use your Event Host tools to email an invite to registered participants who RSVP’d to your event through the map.

6. Amplify your action

It’s important to contact local, state, and national media to make sure they report on the Rise for Climate actions in your area. Think about what print, radio, television, and online sources you’d want to have cover your event and start getting in touch now!

Use the hashtag #RiseForClimate and post about your action on social media too, tagging relevant local media, your local target and anyone else who can help amplify your voices.

It’s also crucial for everyone joining to amplify and share about the action on their own social media channels. Remind participants to post and use the hashtag.

Check out the Media Toolkit here.

Check out this guide on using social media for storytelling and recruitment around your action.

7. Take Action

The months of planning culminate in your big moment on 8 September! Publicise your success, sometimes the audience that isn’t there is the most important! Take photos and video and share them on Facebook and other social media such as Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag: #RiseForClimate. Share them with your friends and press contacts too. (We will provide an additional guide on action coverage soon)

Have a fun and meaningful day, knowing that you’re part of a rapidly growing global effort creating the pressure and momentum needed to solve the climate crisis. Aim to use earth-friendly products and materials, and to leave a positive footprint. Remember to be very gentle with the people interacting with you during your action – the public, public official, the police, etc. You’ll change more people’s minds by being respectful and having engaged conversations.

Have volunteers whose role it is to go round chatting to and welcoming anyone that attends, with flyers with contact info for your group, and a clipboard to ask if they’d like to put their email address to get information from you in future.

Remember to celebrate with your group, and to plan a next meeting to debrief the action and discuss next steps.

There is often a strong link between extractivism of the fossil fuel industry and colonisation, oppression and dispossession. If you’re organising your action or event in a place that has been colonised, grown on the backs of colonisation or discrimination, or whose native inhabitants have been evicted from their land and territories, we recommend that you open your event or action with acknowledgement of those that have been oppressed or the traditional native inhabitants of this land, territory or place.

8. Report Back

This part is very important: As soon as your action is over, be sure to select your best photo, video footage and written stories from your action and share with the people that attended to thank them. You can email all your registered participants through your Event Host page  

Don’t forget to also share them on social media using #RiseForClimate and to submit them through this site (page coming soon). This will enable the communications team to deliver the strongest possible message to the media and to the world’s decision makers.

Follow up with the intended target of the action by continuing to bring up the issue, and referring to the action as evidence of public support for your demands.