Thanks for listening to our little intro. The following section contains a couple of extra thoughts I couldn’t get into the relatively compact text I prepared for the live stream.
The climate crisis is a complex issue and also cannot be seen in isolation. Shutting down the coal industry, as desperately needed as it is, obviously has other implications - I don’t particularly care for the future of the corporations and their shareholders, who have, for decades have extracted enormous amounts of money from the country without giving much back to the communities, cities and villages they destroyed or being particularly good shepherds to the arid landscapes left by brown coal surface mining. But of course there’s some workforce needed to do all of this and given that, just a couple of decades ago we’ve phased out black coal mining with probably a similar if not bigger workforce, we roughly know what’s at stake. But as often as “but jobs” is used as an excuse by politics to not hurt CO2 intensive industries, as much of a moot point it is. Of course we need to figure out something for the people who lose their jobs due to this - But that can not and should not stop us from doing what is necessary to literally save our civilisation - Because what good is a saved job if that means that we will fail our future generations. It might help temporarily, specifically at the ballot box, but history will not look down favourably at you.
That being said, I think it is important for the climate movement to address the worries and issues of workers and to get unions and other workers agencies on their side. Fighting the climate crisis always needs to mean fighting climate injustice, and with that, social injustice. Right now, unions too often oppose climate protection policies, because they underestimate the impact the climate crisis will have on their workers and overestimate the risks these policies will have. This will need time and persuasion, but it needs to be done.
If you want to help making change happen, on an abstract level I only have one advice, which in german would be “Bildet Banden!” and can be roughly translated as “create gangs”. Organise. Find like minded people. Protest. Protest again. Do not focus too much on individual change, although it can be helpful for self reflection. Direct your anger and your fear at those who take the majority of the blame: The number of corporations responsible for for the majority of all climate gas emissions is surprisingly small. The politicians who have, for decades now bent tho their will in the hopes of getting lucrative jobs on one or many boards of directors after leaving politics.
Of course, there are tons of organizations all over the globe that already do the good work. Find one that seems to fit your bill, go to some meetings (yes, I know, Covid and all) or participate in a local protest. Give money to these organizations if you can. If you can, do me a favour and consider organisations that understand their fight as a fight not only for a narrow lowering of emissions but also for global climate justice - because it already becomes clear that those who, historically not only had some of the lowest share of CO2 emissions but also have been exploited the most by colonialism and neo-colonialism, and I’m obviously talking about the global south here, are those who are going to be hurt most by the impacts of the climate crisis. The Netherlands and Bangladesh are sitting on comparable sea levels with comparable threats of sea level rise but guess which one will be somewhat fine in a hundred years and which one will probably have ceased to exist.
Following is a list of organisations and movements, put here in no particular order and without any particular judgement on their impact - We are all together in this fight and like I said, you have to find out for yourself what will work for you. I am still finding my place, too. The list contains a couple of international orgs but also a lot of german ones. A bit of googling should find you some local orgs.
You may feel that you don’t know enough about the climate crisis to be able to go into action straight away - That’s totally fine. Neither our educational systems nor our media does a particularly good job of portraying the climate crisis with the necessary urgency and clarity. Here are some recommendations for material:
more pretty good book recommendations here on this rather old buzzfeed article
Here are the sources for the figures and facts I used in the intro: