Activism vs. the Pandemic

There are many reasons for which this time of year awakens the idea of new beginnings. From resolutions you may or may not keep, to the gym membership you forced yourself to buy, it’s a time for saving and adjusting to life as normal again after the merry, consumer madness of December. 

This is precisely why it couldn’t be a better time of year to really get into Climate Activism. 

Usually, people associate activism with loud groups walking down streets and yelling things with signs – still a valid form of activism. However, there is much more to it from the little to the large things you can stand up for. Regularly people use boycotting as a form of activism, such as refusing to buy fast fashion or plastic-wrapped fruit. Additionally, simply having a conversation or changing someone’s viewpoint in favour of doing more on behalf of the climate is a form of positive influence activism. It could even be cycling to university or having a reusable coffee cup in your bag that makes a difference. 

It’s also an important way to place value on activism. So often we may feel like we aren’t doing enough as individuals when in reality we are doing everything we can but are limited by certain systems or institutions.

You are making a difference. The idea of even trying to change your own lifestyle or educate those close to you about changes is a form of activism. In lieu of the pandemic and the recent lifting of restrictions, it’s clear that activism in a pandemic is limited and can often be frowned upon. But this doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist or makes any less of an impact. 

Recently I attended a climate talk that highlighted the necessity for unified action and pointed out the importance of action by us (students). Many of the major fights for justice across history weren’t achieved by legislation or institutional action but by groups of ordinary people banding together to have their voices heard and demanding action. 

The other thing that was stressed was the lack of time we have to demand that action and how there is no time like the present for demanding climate justice. Demanding an end to fossil fuel permits issued by the government. Demanding better public transport. Demanding to be listened to instead of promising change at climate conferences that promise much and give nothing in reality.  

So, in that spirit, despite the pandemic and the burnout most seem to feel at the prospect of resuming life as it once was, now is the time to act. No matter how small the action, be it changing to a clean energy provider or buying seasonal produce, it’s the collective thought that counts most in inspiring a movement that may determine our future on this planet. 

Image via Arch Daily