Humanist Guide to Organizing a Community Event

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

–Dr. Margaret Mead, Anthropologist and humanist

Individual climate action is exciting and inspiring, and spreading that inspiration to your community amplifies that effect. Research shows that discussing the climate crisis with family and friends reinforces that the problem is real and the science unequivocal. Yet, nearly two-thirds of Americans say they rarely or never have those conversations. Community is a broad term, but your community can be as broad or as tight as you wish it to be. It can involve family, friends, neighbors, etc. Once your goals are shared with your community, it will begin to reach other communities. Small actions focused on talking and working with your community are crucial in furthering climate action in our communities and in society.

Why Organize a Community Event?

As humanists we have a duty to create a better present and future environment for all who call Earth home. Mobilizing is an overwhelming concept, but it doesn’t have to be! It can be as simple as starting a conversation to using your already built groups to promote action. Once you start small and have these conversations, you’ll be inspired to do something bigger, which is great! Again, you can start small. Get-togethers will lead to inspiration from those people who will then tell their friends who will tell their friends. Your small event could lead to large changes in the people it reaches and the environment as a whole.

Where Do I Begin?

Creating a plan or starting a conversation is often overwhelming, and it is easy for creativity to be stunted. No worries, we are here to help! Follow these steps to begin bringing your community together for climate action!

  1. First things first: talk about it! Conversations with those in your community about climate change and action is an informative experience. Be inspired by sharing your own and hearing others’ experiences. This could involve you sharing with your neighbor how you started a compost bin, or how you started volunteering with a local food rescue. If you want to learn more about composting – check out our toolkit here!
  2. Plan an Activity: If you want to go further, come up with an activity or event that involves something you are passionate about regarding climate. You can even use a group that is already in place! Possibilities are endless: mobilize your walking group to also pick up trash on their route, get your book club to read a book about environmental justice, or create a date to plant trees in your neighborhood park.
  3. Inform members of your community or use a group that is already in action! You can dedicate a day to pick up trash in your neighborhood with your walking club or dedicate a day to plant a tree with your members of your extended family. It’s ok to start small! Likely, as you invite people to help ignite change, more will follow.
  4. Spread the Word! Posting about what you are doing on social media, posting signs in your neighborhood, or just spreading via word of mouth are all great ways to show your community how you are getting involved, and how they can join the effort too!

Want more ideas on activities you can plan? The State of Michigan has created a guide with ideas of activities involving community improvement, education and mentoring that you can look to for inspiration! Find this list here.

Worried about social distancing? Community and climate action don’t have to end with coronavirus. One way to get creative with coronavirus restrictions is to initiate an event that is outside and confined to your family, roommates, or the people you are staying home with. Organize a plan with your broader community to all pick up trash in their neighborhood on a specific day or eat vegan for a week. See how our diets affect our environment here.

With a little bit of extra effort in conversations and planning you can help strengthen your community ties and incite climate action on a local level, that will hopefully inspire change on a broader scale.

Share Your Story

One of the most important things you can do to fight climate change is also one of the simplest: talk about it! After mobilizing with some of your community – continue to spread the word by sharing what you are doing with other community members about how you have been getting involved!

Let us know how you plan to make more sustainable life choices. Tell us what changes you will be making in the name of sustainability. Use the power of social media and personal conversation to share your progress and get others involved!

Sample Social Media Posts:

  • “I just pledged to start living more sustainably by combining my family walk with a trash cleanup! Check out the #HEREforclimate Mobilizing Your Community Toolkit and learn how you can make more sustainable choices and build community relations! [URL Link]”
  • “We all have a personal responsibility to combat the global climate crisis and live more sustainably. Learn how you can take a personal action with the #HEREforClimate Mobilizing Your Community Toolkit!”

Additional Resources

Looking for inspiration?

  • Greta Thunberg, now a household name, started advocating for climate change alone, now she has a whole movement behind her. If you’re looking for an inspiring story, check out this article on her story!
  • If you’re feeling stumped on where to begin, check out this article to see how you can make changes at home, work, and in your community!

Looking for more? Find a full list of resources regarding climate action and sustainability here.