1) Learn More: Curiosity is everything! Never stop wanting to learn more about giant old trees, streams, rivers, oceans, tidepools. Experiencing their interconnections will develop your abilities in ways far more powerful than just reading the written word. Do you have a fascination with the origins and functions of your own biology, the ecosystem that you really do live in? Is that your passion? If you can get that much of it the rest is easy (with the exception of doing outreach with those who don’t really get that part of it.)
2) Spread the word: When it comes to outreach everyone needs to hear a different message, a different tone, a different style. And when people hear presentations that fit them, that’s when you have a chance to get ‘em excited enough that they share what they learned with friends and family. That will always be the most powerful communication tool of all! The word of mouth medium is always much, much more powerful than what you’re reading on your computer screen.
3) Be part of the land you live on: Explore your neighborhood! Where are the closest vacant lots? Where is the nearest, largest area of unimproved real estate? Keep track of the patches of “vacant” land near you. Find out who owns them, what there interests are. Find ways to nudge it all towards preservation and restoration instead of destruction. Then take it a step further and study the least invasive ways to encourage a regrowth of native biodiversity. It has to do with learning the history / planning for the future of the landscape that surrounds you. How can you bring truth and reconciliation to it? How can you be part of what keeps the land growing, what keeps it from being cut down, polluted and covered over? Key to this is solidarity with that which has been, or is being oppressed. Issues related to oppression: racism, sexism, classism are interconnected with how our ecologic reality declines or recovers.
4) Be honest, yet sensational: We’re all completely oversaturated with info. We’re overloaded. Yet if something unique and original comes along, if something that’s way beyond what we’ve ever experienced before. That’s what gets our attention! And to the extent we have to process that gets peoples attention is the extent to which we have a chance to raise awareness.
5) Show your support: The death of so much life as simple matter-of-fact economic progress: It’s what causes so many environmentalists to give up! It takes so much out of us to see wild land cut down or built over. To see it happen again and again. To be the ones who files the formal complaints, the formal comments, the appeals, the lawsuits, the fundraising for the attorneys… When a community supports such efforts, when they rally around the efforts, that’s when we really are beginning to heal and repair Earth’s living systems. It’s happening more and more often everyday too. And it’s so much more than just writing checks to mainstream enviro groups. It’s about making friends with your local eco-defender and figuring out how you can get involved / spread the word / support the campaign. Essentially what all this means is: be life’s urge for self–protection.
6) Practice critical thinking: Be discerning in how you interpret advertising claims of eco-consciousness. We still live among the credulous in ignorant times. For example the world’s #1 rated ecologically certified wood group FSC often certifies non-native mono-cropped hybridized plantations that eliminate entire ecosystems when they are planted. It’s the exact opposite of what biodiversity is! Biodiversity is something that’s indigenous, restorative, and most of all it responds best to an accumulation of life rather than a reduction of it. So with every environmental issue it’s extremely important to be discerning. There are so many activists who work tirelessly to help you to be more discerning. Find them! Reach out to them! Recognize that they are out there and they need your support just as much as you need theirs.
7) Respect those you disagree with: It’s impossible to not feel crazed contempt for an opposition that ensures the demise of your campaign. And as easy as it is to be mad at their callousness, it’s also important to keep in mind the bigger picture. Those who make enormous profits destroying the earth in the short-term are the Enrons of the world. Sooner or later they get found out. So it’s our job to ask the right questions, to help them get found out. And in the long run… extensive documentation of land use activities which disrupt ecological services is what ultimately stops the destruction. Remember, how you treat your opponent back in the days when you always lost will in part be paid back to you when you eventually start to win. So be skillful
8) Do your homework: First and foremost ask the right question to the right people. Asking questions to your opponent is always more effective then just simply telling them that their wrong. Always back up your facts with solid data! Be thorough in formulating strategy. Think through as many strategies as possible before you choose the one that’s worth your focused commitment. Plan for the unexpected! If you can be flexible about your plans you’ll find more opportunities to be effective. Get to know the personalities of the decision makers who are associated with your campaign. Read Lao Tsu’s art of war. It explains how important information gathering about your opposition is. Lao Tsu teaches how all conflicts / victories / losses are first and foremost based on your ability to get information about the motives / abilities / psychology / culture of your opponent. He teaches how wars never even have to occur when both sides have lots of detailed knowledge of their opponent’s abilities.
9) Sustain yourself: Don’t let any one particular campaign bring you down, keep focused on lots of campaigns, stay connected to other campaigners so you can share in their victories, so they can share in yours. Activism is a life-long marathon not a one day sprint!