(continued from my previous blog post)
When Nynne Holm and I came to realize that Denmark was (as of October 2007) without a popular movement against global warming, we decided to take on the challenge of starting one ourselves, despite feeling quite insecure due to our almost total lack of experience.
Role of a Climate Movement
We (together with a few more people) started by envisioning what the role of a new Climate Movement would be, i.e. the niche that it would occupy — which turned out to be a pretty damn big niche.
- A broad popular movement, open and welcoming to all
- laypersons and experts
- all ages, genders, and classes
- non-partisan and not bound to any political ideology (Denmark currently has eight parties in its parliament, ranging from far-right nationalists to the left revolutionary Red-Green Alliance through liberals and social-democrats)
- Constantly seeks to grow
- grows in numbers
- grows in commitment
- reaches out
- to all parts of the country, not just the traditional environmental bastions (e.g. the capital, Copenhagen)
- to constituencies not traditionally associated with environmental concern
- mobilizes all the currently climate-conscious Danes
- increases climate-consciousness in others
- Transfers energy
- from the personal, where many citizens are already committed to "contributing"
- to the common and political, where much of that energy could better be used
- Time horizon:
- Medium-term milestone: The Copenhagen Climate Summit in December 2009 (to replace the Kyoto agreements) i.e. 2 years from the Climate Movement’s inception
- Long term: 2030, by which time annual emissions of greenhouse gasses must be reduced to more or less 1 ton CO2eq per person, if we are to avoid runaway global warming.
We then identified "internal", or "organizational" goals, first addressing the issue of growth:
- A movement that grows in numbers year after year
- end 2008: 1000 members
- end 2009: 5000 members (Copenhagen Climate summit)
- end 2010: 10000 members
- end 2011: 25000 members …
- These goals seemed extremely ambitious – remember that Denmark has a population of roughly 5.5 million, i.e. quite a bit smaller than the largest US cities
- A movement that spreads geographically (The initiative started in Copenhagen, the nation’s capital)
- Establishment of many local groups within our first year of existence
- in the large cities (Århus, Odense, Aalborg… large by Danish standards!)
- in smaller towns
We also had to address the "internal" issue of growing commitment. What principles would guide us in order to ensure that a large portion of members become active, and not just have a tiny, isolated, hyperactive leadership with a large body of passive supporters with declining interest?
- A movement that allows and encourages members to become stronger and smarter
- climate-related science and politics
- building a popular movement
- through an continuous, active effort in
- Internal knowledge sharing
- Skill development
Then looking at "external" roles and goals, we identified:
- Organising activities aimed at:
- the Danish population
- dissemination of knowledge
- discussion and debate
- Cooperate with the current environmental organizations in the fight against climate change
- Contribute active members to their work
- Use the knowledge resources they have built
- Joint campaigns
- Link up with organizations from other countries
- Help spark the rise of popular Climate Movements in other countries
The resulting Climate Movement
The result of these envisioned efforts would be that:
- The Climate Movement is a growing force, which decision-makers have to take into account on many levels:
- in the media
- in political dialog
- in campaigns aimed at business
- on the street
- It will become less troublesome for decision-makers to adopt an adequate climate policy than to oppose or ignore the Climate Movement!
I have to note that in the discussions that led to the formulation of this vision and "grand strategy", I was quite inspired by Michael Albert’s writings (and talks available online), as some of you may have noticed from the concepts presented here.
In my next post, I will address how we went about implementing these ideas more concretely into what became the structure of the Climate Movement in Denmark (Klimabevægelsen i Danmark). This structure is continuously evolving, but it does contain some features worth noting, with some deserving praise, and some, critique.