Join Canary Craftivists: a climate campaign for Crafters

04 Jun Join Canary Craftivists: a climate campaign for Crafters

We’re helping our planet by campaigning for a cleaner and greener world for all.

Dear quiet, creative crafter, are you worried about global warming and not already part of a climate activism group? If so, this is for you.

If you are a confident and kind climate activist we would also love your help reaching out to and supporting quiet crafters for this new Gentle Protest…

This summer, we’re running a new #CanaryCraftivists project that takes a gentle, positive approach to climate activism. We need your help to show the UK Government and media that a diverse community is concerned about the climate crisis and want faster, greater action to be taken to tackle it.

Come join us and combine your care for the world with your passion for handicraft and together we can help tackle the climate crisis before it’s too late.

It’s a crucial time for climate campaigning with the UN Climate Conference COP26 attended by world leaders being held on home turf in Glasgow this November and hosted by the UK Government.

Carbon emissions need cutting drastically and we need bolder action from politicians than ever before. We want to seize this opportunity and encourage the UK Government to show leadership in their important role at COP26 through this unique campaign.

Come join us and let’s make Canary Craftivists take flight this summer.

A bit about us…

Since 2009, the Craftivist Collective has helped change laws, policies, hearts and minds around the world with quiet, compassionate and visually attractive activism using handicrafts.

So what’s #CanaryCraftivists all about?

#CanaryCraftivists uses the soothing, thoughtful process of craft to help us channel feelings of sadness, anger, anxiety or powerlessness into proactive, encouraging action. Rather than projecting despair – which can cause inaction, our quiet actions are attractive and encourage politicians to be part of helping our home flourish for all.

We’ll be flocking to our planet’s cause from June to September 2021, in the run-up to COP26 creating a powerful platform for us crafty,  non-typical climate change activists to voice our concerns.

And how will it work?

Together, we’ll engage our MPs as critical friends (rather than aggressive enemies) with acts of thoughtful Gentle Protest. We’ll be staging quiet, intriguing and crafty gatherings by much-loved and recognisable landmarks in our hometowns over the summer months to gain local media attention that politicians and their staff will read about. We’ll also be sending our MPs small handmade canary gifts in the first week of September after their summer recess. These will be thought-provoking, gentle reminders to do more for our world’s welfare and ask the UK Prime Minister to be bolder in his climate commitments. 

Other brilliant climate charities and groups will be planning plenty of events and actions that you can take part in across the autumn but we believe it’s the summer months when gentle craftivists can make the biggest splash with our intriguing happenings. 

Our strategy will be to keep the climate conversation in the local news this summer – that we know UK politicians read and are influenced by – and popping up where you’d least expect to see climate activism. Gathering in small flocks of friends and making canary gifts for MPs might not seem like the biggest of acts but they are humble, heartfelt, super-strategic and therefore effective steps that can really count. Whatsmore, they won’t leave you feeling burnt out, anxious in public after lockdown, or like you’re losing too much of your valuable summer downtime.

Why Yellow Canaries?

For us, the yellow canary is the perfect symbol for this project. They need clean air to be able to fly high in the sky and far afield. In years gone by, they used to accompany coal miners into the mines and give warning signals when the air was too toxic to work in. Miners often called their canary partners ‘colleagues’ and cared so much for them that they wanted to protect them from harm, sometimes more than themselves. 

Just as canaries were effective warning signs then, our Gentle Protest will be a kind, encouraging warning for Members of Parliament now. It will remind them that they can help nature, wildlife and humans flourish before it’s too late.

Fiona Dear, Head of Campaigns, The Climate Coalition:
“It’s so important to show our politicians and the diversity and scale of support for protecting the things we love from climate change. The Canary Craftivists project brilliantly captures imaginations. Strikingly visual, unusual and memorable, your beautiful yellow canaries are a vital way of engaging politicians’ hearts and minds in a powerfully gentle way.

Here’s how to take part 

Now lovely crafters, there’s two ways you can get involved in #CanaryCraftivists.

  1. Make a yellow cape, or wear yellow clothing, and gather as a small flock (2-12 people ideally who are new to climate action) at a local landmark politicians and residents recognise and treasure and capture in photographs for local media. You can fly away after a few minutes of getting your shots or enjoy a ‘crafternoon’ making a  canary for your MP. Or, simply enjoy a picnic in the sunshine knowing that your Gentle Protest will have a positive ripple effect.

Share your images with your local media (you can fill out this press release). Share your images and #Crafterthoughts on social media showing politicians and the public that the climate movement is more diverse and larger than they might presume. Don’t forget to use #CanaryCraftivists and tag @Craftivists when you do to help us gain national media and share with our growing Craftivist Collective community to inspire and empower them to join in solidarity too.

  1. Craft a life sized yellow canary (no more than 14cm tall) by hand to send to your local MP along with a handwritten letter (template here) compassionately outlining your climate concerns and encouraging them to do more and faster to address this urgent threat. Use whatever craft you enjoy most as long as your canary fits into your MP’s palm and has had time and care in making it. This delicate handmade creature will make them feel all warm and fuzzy when they receive it. 

And don’t worry,  we’ve done the hard heart and head work for you:

Useful resource list:
1. FAQs
2. Local press release template and tips
3. Crafterthought questions
4. Crafterthought playlist (instrumental)
5. Climate Podcast playlist to craft to
6. Template letter for your MP (coming in July – email Sarah if you want an alert email)

Free patterns
1. Upcycled cape pattern
2. Beak pattern by Sarah Corbett
3. Feather collar pattern by Momtaz Begum-Hossain
4. Knitted canary pattern by Tahlita Senfield
5. Upcycled canary pattern by Barley Massey
6. Cross-stitch canary pattern by Mr X Stitch

7. Crochet canary pattern by DippyCatCrochet

Your handmade yellow canary should not look like it is dead or in pain. It’s a humble, friendly and a respectful warning to your MP of the danger climate change poses. This colourful, creative surprise gift is positive and encouraging and can create a little surge of dopamine which will make it even more memorable for your MP to receive. Whenever they see their friendly canary in their office it will be a powerful reminder of the role they can play in protecting our beautiful fragile world and that quiet world-worriers like us are asking for their help. For a power holder, this will be a disarmingly thoughtful gift to receive and therefore all the harder to dismiss.

* (Please use recycled or earth friendly materials whenever possible.)

We can’t wait to see all of your handmade canary creations, #Crafterthoughts and flock photos in front of your local landmarks. Please share your gentle craftivism with us @Craftivists using #CanaryCraftivists on social media. 

Our ‘Canary Craftivists’ campaign is part of Climate Action: Race to Zero. Together, we’re racing towards zero carbon emissions by 2050 or sooner.

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