09 Dec Be a change-maker not just a world-worrier
When it comes to the climate crisis we are faced with, we need to make hope possible not despair convincing. Join us in moving from using up our precious time and energy being world-worriers and problem-proclaimer to being focused, strategic and kind change-makers.
I’m receiving more and more emails and direct messages on social media from people asking how they can use craftivism to tackle the injustices they see in our fragile messy world. One lady wrote to me about not knowing what to say to her 7 year old daughter about the climate crisis. One person who is house-bound wanting to know how they can be part of the change they want to see in our world. One person just wanting to give up and stay in bed because they couldn’t see how they could make a difference. sadly I can’t reply to all of the requests I receive. So here are my top 5 ways that the Craftivist Collective can help you be a strategic, effective and healthy changemaker:
- Remember that: You are one piece of the solution
You are not the whole jigsaw puzzle but you are an essential piece for real change: Read this short blogpost I (Sarah) wrote as The Activist Whisperer about where to start in your activism journey so that you harness your skills and work within your own context as best as you can to be part of a happier, healthier and more harmonious world for all without aiming too how or too low.
2. Start with some Inner Activism craftivism projects:
Footprint and Stitchable Changemakers to reflect on what you can do in small ways each day to live out the solutions you want to see others living too. This poem by an unknown Monk 1100AD explains more beautifully the power of role-modelling your ideas and the importance of having your footprint and Stitch-able Changemaker at home as a physical reminder to practice what you preach:
When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world.
I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation.
When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town.
I couldn’t change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family.
Now, as an old man, I realise the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family.
My family and I could have made an impact on our town.
Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.
3. Wear your Heart on Your sleeve as a form of intriguing activism
Take part in this project I created to support The Climate Coalition. Make one for yourself using the time to reflect on what you love and how you can protect it from the climate crisis as a constituent, consumer, colleague, and human being. Wear it and you may be surprised what lovely conversations you can have with people about what they love and how they can be part of protecting what they love. Dont use the opportunity to create panic or be judgemental. Ask questions dont preach answers. Once you have made one for yourself you can go on to make more for local power-holders by finding out what they love (is it their children, grandparents, wine, home or something else?), making them their bespoke heart that they would like to wear (incorporate their aesthetic style not your own) proudly and encouraging them to be part of protecting our world. They could be local business leaders who could improve their environmental impact, Head Teachers, your local politicians to sign up to a Citizen’s Assembly on Climate and Ecological Justice. More strategic advice on giving gifts to power holders are in this short TEDx talk which lead to the board-members increasing the wage of 50,000 staff to be in line with the Living Wage.
4. Be a critical friend not an aggressive enemy: Our ‘Don’t Blow It’ handkerchief kits are making real change with local decision makers.
Don’t be tempted to make one for a prime minster or present. Be strategic and engage decision makers where you have power as a local constituent. Our kits include top tips and strategies, suggested messaging that is non-violent and encouraging. And our 3 #Crafterthought questions inside your kit are vital to reflect on whilst stitching to help your hanky be effective. Finola Jackson is a Primary School teacher who used our project. You can read about her inspiring results here. Also, Joanne crafted a bespoke, humble, positive and thoughtful handkerchief for the Mayor of Bristol and wrote to me saying:
“Hi! I just met the Bristol Mayor and we had a really good chat together. Through the hankerchief and letter, he visited my kids school and afterwards I got to meet him and talk through the air pollution/traffic congestion around the school. He told me how much impact the hankerchief and letter had on him as he had never received anything like it. It felt like a positive foundation has been put in place and he encouraged me to stay in touch. I had made him a pompom to symbolise this positive connection and he got his assistant to take a picture of us together as he held it up. He described how it felt to recieve an act of craftivism and its powerful! Thank you so much for your advice and support xx”
5. Thread gentleness through your activism – it’s not only more engaging with others, it’s also more sustainable for your own health. And it works!
Gentleness is the strongest power in your craftivism. I spend a huge amount of time trying to help craftivist’s improve their craftivism objects (whether it’s our projects or their own) and I never get through all of the requests sadly (just not enough time in the day!). The biggest stumbling blocks I see in people’s craftivism work is either
- Message: Please don’t start with what message you want to say or express. Focus on what message would have the most connection to the decision makers or public you are trying to engage that is relevant to them, connects to their own personal passions, context and actions and offer realistic solutions they can be part of not just scare them into despair or anger.
- Motive: Activism needs to be your priority to serve and craft your tool not your taskmaster. Your motive should always be to serve the cause you care about. If the focus is on your voice or your crafted object you risk people discrediting your activism and motives. Humility is the key.
Download our manifesto for free and use it as a guideline for your own craftivism project. And for more information our handbook How To Be A Craftivist: the art of gentle protest is full of our methodology, how to do craftivism alone or communally in the most effective ways, practical projects and their honest results. Available worldwide and you can order it free from your local library too.
Little by little we travel far: We learn by doing not over-thinking. I’m often a world-worrier and over-thinker. I get distracted easily or I forget that complaining isn’t actually helping our fragile planet or my own personal health. Our projects have been created, tweaked after years of improving them and they do work. I really encourage you have a go and learn as you go with them. They might not be as quick, easy and fun as other activities available to you but it’s in the hard work and heart work you put into them that the transformational power is created. Not convinced? Have a go (or read all our testimonies in our book!;p)
More resources available here
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