Join Canary Craftivists: a climate campaign for non-activists and crafters

30 Aug Join Canary Craftivists: a climate campaign for non-activists and 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…

We are 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 especially with the UN Climate Conference COP26 attended by world leaders being held on home turf in Glasgow November 2021 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.

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 are flocking to our planet’s cause creating a powerful platform for us crafty,  non-typical climate change activists to voice our concerns.

And how will it work?

Together, we are engaging our MPs as critical friends (rather than aggressive enemies) with acts of thoughtful Gentle Protest. We are staging quiet, intriguing and crafty gatherings by much-loved and recognisable landmarks in our hometowns to gain local media attention that politicians and their staff will read about. We are also sending our MPs small handmade canary gifts. These are 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 are delivering plenty of events and actions that you can take part in that are very different to this campaign. This project is to reach people who have not done activism or climate actions before and may not get involved in more traditional or louder forms of activism.

Our strategy is to keep the climate conversation in the local news – that we know UK politicians read and are influenced by – and popping up where you’d least expect to see climate activism (ie Conservative-led constituencies in towns and villages). Gathering in small flocks of friends and families 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 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 happy (not dead!) 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. Email to send local journalists 3 days before your flock gathering
3. Local press release template and tips
4. Crafterthought questions
5. Crafterthought playlist (instrumental)
6. Climate Podcast playlist to craft to
7. Template letter for your MP

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
8. Felt Canary pattern by Emma at Studio7t7

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.

Stay in the loop

  • Tina hemmings
    Posted at 16:13h, 30 June Reply

    Could you let me have a copy of the sample letter when it’s formulated please

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  • Charlotte Matthews
    Posted at 12:08h, 31 August Reply

    Is the Canary Craftivist template letter available ? I have signed up for the newsletter but heard nothing yet. My canary is ready and waiting …

    Many thanks

  • Tracey Hume
    Posted at 15:47h, 20 September Reply

    Hi, do you know of anyone else in North East England taking part? We are thinking of doing something, possibly at the Angel of the North at the end of October but don’t want to clash with other local plans.

    • Craftivist Collective
      Posted at 13:56h, 21 September Reply

      Hi Tracey 🙂 I think a photograph of your small flock (2-12 people) in yellow handmade capes, beaks or just yellow clothing would be a brilliant image for the local media and social media (I would love to share the image with our audience please) at the end of October. I don’t know any other local plans happening but the best way to find out is to join our Facebook Group ‘Craftivists (set up by Craftivist Collective as a place to connect)’ and post on the group wall your plans and see what responses you get. Also if you want to check your local press release or plans with me I ‘m more than happy to help – I have just emailed you 🙂 Sarah x

  • Maree Murphy
    Posted at 15:42h, 07 October Reply

    Is it too late to make the canaries ?

    Or do you have another imminent project ?

    • Craftivist Collective
      Posted at 17:20h, 07 October Reply

      Hi Maree 🙂 It’s not too late to make a canary for your Member of Parliament. It would be great if you could make your canary, handwritten letter and package them off to your MP before 1st November please when COP26 happens. This is our priority project so would love your help. Any questions you can email me or find me on social media or here. Please read this post for all the links to the templates and tools you need 🙂 Sarah x

  • Blyth Brentnall
    Posted at 15:18h, 26 October Reply

    Hi, I’m a journalist getting in touch form Smiley News – would anyone from this project be able to send a quick quote to me explaining what positive impact you hope it will have?

    • Craftivist Collective
      Posted at 18:29h, 27 October Reply

      Hi Blyth 🙂 Thanks so much for getting in touch. I’ve just emailed you a quote and my number if you need to call me for more info. Thanks so much for covering our project

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