This blog is part of How to Take Climate Action, a series that unpacks what we can each do to influence the systems around us and reverse the climate crisis.
Our power comes from the roles we play in our households, at work, as participants in financial markets, and as members of local, national, and global communities.
In this chapter of the Climate Action Playbook, we break down how to take action in the country where you live.
The World is in the Midst of Twin Crises
As the world slowly emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, governments are looking towards recovery. Building back economies, restoring and creating jobs, and bolstering future resilience will require unprecedented global investment.
We can use this moment to bail out fossil fuel companies and finance short-term solutions that treat the climate crisis as an afterthought. Or we can choose to use global recovery funds to transition to a green and inclusive society.
Studies show bold climate action could generate $26 trillion in net global economic benefits by 2030. But G20 governments are spending in the wrong direction, earmarking $277 billion for fossil fuels, compared to $240 billion for clean alternatives.
Charting the course to a truly green recovery will require public support, political will, and private sector cooperation. This guide to national-level climate action unpacks the key components of a green and equitable recovery and how you can push for meaningful action in the country you live in.
What is a Green COVID-19 Recovery?
What does a green recovery mean, and how do we measure success? To create a clear framework, UN Secretary-General António Guterres proposes six ways to build back better:
Green Transition: Spend recovery dollars to deliver new jobs and businesses aligned with the transition to a greener, cleaner society.
Green Assistance: Use taxpayer money to support businesses that create green jobs and other sustainable economic growth.
Economic & Social Resilience: Increased spending to make societies and people more resilient throughout the transition to a green economy.
Sustainable Investments: Invest public funds in projects that benefit the environment. Stop subsidizing fossil fuels and charge polluters.
Holistic Planning: Incorporate climate risk and opportunities into all of our financial systems, policymaking, and infrastructure decisions.
International Collaboration: Build global cooperation to meet the extent of this existential threat.
Recovery efforts must also prioritize environmental justice, elevating the voices and concerns of vulnerable and disenfranchised populations disproportionately impacted by the climate crisis.
It’s a tall order, and a once-in-a-lifetime chance to dramatically transform our shared trajectory. Here are six ways you can build support for a green recovery.
6 Ways to Advocate for Green Recovery
1. Educate Yourself
Clear goals, ambitious leadership, and public-private sector collaboration in times of difficulty took us to the moon, and they can help us build back better from COVID-19. Rather than a burden, green recovery spending is an opportunity to make our world more sustainable, equitable, and resilient.
But seizing the moment will require unprecedented global alignment, and to be an effective advocate, you’ll need to understand the bigger picture. Take a couple hours to dig into green recovery priorities, visionary proposals like the Green New Deal, and global agendas like the UN’s 17 Global Goals to understand how sustainability, social equity, and economic resilience are intertwined.
2. Talk to Your Community to Build Support
We’ve all been affected by COVID-19, and national recovery efforts can be an emotionally-charged topic. Talk to members of your household, workplace, and community, and genuinely listen to understand their hopes and fears for the future. Make the connection between green recovery principles and an individual’s values when relevant, and share your vision for a sustainable and equitable future in return.
Nervous? Boost your confidence with our top tips for climate conversations. And remember, the world changes when we take action together. When a friend, colleague, or loved one shows interest, encourage them to take citizen climate action alongside you.
3. Pressure Your Representatives to Vote for Green Recovery
Political will determines whether green proposals become policy or fizzle on the voting floor. As constituents, we can band together to let our representatives know inaction isn’t up for debate.
Investigate Your Elected Officials
Environmental voting records reveal whether politicians are likely to stand up for a green and equitable recovery – or stand in its way. Investigate your representatives with these tools:
United Kingdom: TheyWorkForYou provides parliamentary and assembly MP voting records broken out by issue.
European Union:VoteWatchEU reveals MEPs voting records and party loyalty data.
Canada:OpenParliament provides MP voting and speaking records and social media activity.
Don’t see your country? A quick Google search for voting records in your governing body should do the trick!
Turn up the Heat
Get Vocal: Organize calling blocks, letter-writing campaigns, and email petitions to deluge offices with constituent calls to support green recovery measures. Get involved with mass political actions organized by groups like 350.org, Sierra Club, and Sunrise Movement.
Show Up: Attend town hall meetings and/or climate committee meetings and urge these groups to back green recovery-aligned initiatives.
Lobby: Join your local Citizens Climate Lobby and get trained to lobby senators and representatives on climate issues in person.
4. Support Climate Coalitions
Some of the most powerful movements in history united individual groups under a shared cause. National green recovery efforts will require individual environmental groups - and those working on interconnected issues of justice and equity - to band together under a unified agenda. By combining their collective resources and reach, these climate coalitions will have greater ability to impact public support and political will for a swift and green transition.
If you’re a member of an organization: Make the case for how your primary cause is connected to the greater goals of a green recovery and work to identify groups with whom you can collaborate.
If you’re not involved – get involved!:Volunteer with existing environmental groups and coalitions, donate money to groups and politicians fighting for climate-conscious policy, sign and share petitions, and attend local and virtual events and demonstrations centered around green recovery issues.
5. Pressure the Private Sector to Make Commitments
Bold climate goals, like the United State’s recent commitment to halve emissions by 2030, demand private sector participation. Success hinges on cooperation, collaboration, and competition between the state and private actors to spur innovation, reduce pollution, and create opportunities aligned with national goals.
Government incentives and regulation are essential. But, as individuals, we can leverage our influence too, and demand bold commitments to the public-private climate agenda.
Demand Divestment: Clean energy is key to a green global recovery, that’s why we must stop financing fossil fuels. Learn how to get your money out of fossil fuels and pressure megabanks and other financial institutions to divest.
Take Action at Work: Petition your employer to divest from fossil fuels, adopt sustainability practices, and make commitments aligned with green recovery goals. Our guide to workplace climate action can help!
Live Your Values: The private sector responds to shifts in consumer mentality, and studies show individual lifestyle change can spark systemic change. Take action in your household to be more sustainable and watch your values rub off on those around you.
6. Support the Projects that Matter Most
Don’t wait until 2050 to achieve net zero targets. Transitioning to clean energy is only part of a green recovery. We’ll also need to support projects that remove and reduce existing carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.
Joro’s Net Zero Membership allows you to automatically draw your footprint down to zero while funding a carefully-curated portfolio of high-impact offset projects. Become a Net Zero member today and align your own footprint with our national targets, today.
Start with the Emissions Within your Control
The global COVID-19 recovery will determine whether we continue to barrel full-throttle toward climate chaos, or seize the opportunity to nourish our planet and the life it sustains.
We need to change our collective mindset. This starts by examining our lives and the systems we’re a part of, educating ourselves and others and banding together to push for change.
Take control of your personal carbon footprint and develop an intuition for the climate choices that matter most. Join Joro today to take your first steps towards national-level climate action.
Stay Tuned: The climate crisis knows no borders, so last in Joro’s climate action playbook – we’ll teach you how to change the world.