How to Get into Activism and Advocacy
As the world burns and climate change deniers continue to, well…deny it, there’s an uprising in Millennials, Gen Z, and Gen Alpha to change and, hopefully, save (or slow the implosion) of our Earth. If you’re one of these tree huggers, activists, and/or a recently blooming conservationist then the advice and anecdotes below are perfect for your Earth Day or Earth Month work ( note, every day should be Earth Day).
We took time out to not only speak with long-time animal advocate and activist, John Oberg, but we also took inspiration from him and gave y’all some starting points for your own world-saving journey.
First, the video interview (with a special guest appearance from John’s adopted shelter dog Dakota) just in case you find articles to be TL;DR:
Secondly, these suggestions and tips are high-level and there are MANY more ways to get into activism and be an advocate (is there any coincidence Earth Day and 4/20 are in the same week?) but let’s start out with how you can start, or expand, your own earthtastic voyage on a singular scale.
While sometimes incessant or downright evil, social media platforms can be used for hella good too e.g. TikTok teens vs. Trump rally or how an animal shelter in Sacramento jumped from a 20% animal save rate to an 85% save rate in 2019 just by starting a Facebook page.
Share and save and save and share
Whether it be posts and tweets or pamphlets and paraphernalia. Just because you know, others might not, and vice versa if you have a solid circle of sharers. Play that algorithm right whether it’s online or in real life.
Make calls or send emails
Every government entity (state and city offices, schools, and national organizations) usually has a public directory with contact info.
Your time, money, and/or influence. You might have tons of each or just a little of one but any of them truly go a long way in your journey to further help make this world a better place.
You can also find ways to donate via Amazon Wishlists, monthly Patreon recurring support, local dropoffs, and GoFundMe.
Create Content and Art
Make content and art that speaks to the change you’re trying to make and showcase or share it. Shoot, you can even auction it off, sell it with a portion of profits going toward a cause, or donate it to further your impact – we’re talking zines, paintings, music, jewelry, clothes (make it double count if it’s from recycled products and secondhand materials).
Activism on a Larger Scale
Get Further Involved
This is where you try to get really involved with current volunteer and advocacy groups – a quick Google (or Bing if you’re held hostage by Microsoft) search can help you find many organizations in your area that need your help or a full-on resource like https://www.volunteermatch.org/.
Start Your Own Initiative
Can’t find any you like near you (and that’s okay, the more we enjoy a cause the more we’re willing to give to it)? You and just a few people you know can start your own initiative; clean up a local park once a month (most parks are underfunded and over-trashed), go meatless a few times a week at home at when eating out (support more places with fewer animals on the menu), recycle at home/work/school and get your family/neighbors/coworkers/and peers to join – many places in the United States have free recycling programs through their respective municipalities and unions.
Get Your Peeps Involved
Get your company, school, HOA, team, etc. so make it a point to volunteer monthly or quarterly at the tens of thousands of nonprofits around the country from animal shelters to facilities for the unhoused to tutoring/mentoring engagements, to cleanups and conservation, to equitable food planting/harvesting and drives – if time is a constraint but y’all are a for-profit jawn, spread some cash around and/or open up a way for others to donate too.
Use Social Media Even More
Circle back to the Individual Activism section above and to what John Oberg mentions in the interview for this article. With social media – love it or hate it –people are going to see what you’re doing and feel inspired (or at least guilty enough) to take some form of action of their own. Especially when your content and the advocacy work you’re doing is consistent, easily repeatable, and relevant to others.
Get the Public Involved in Easy Ways
do you have customers, visitors, patients, or coworkers that you see on the regular? Put out a donation jar with a little sign that says what it’s for a box to be filled up by the end of the month with clothes, food, hygiene products, blankets, and more (for both humans and animals).
Collaborate with Local Community Organizations
Collab in the community by utilizing your organizations to reciprocally uplift other organizations and non-profits – something like “$X from every order will be donated to the neighborhood shared garden”, “when you bring in a blanket for the local shelter we’ll give you 10% off your order”, “show us that you biked or took mass transit today to offset carbon emissions and get a free _____”.
Start a Protest or Rally/Join a Protest or Rally
Starting a protest or rally or joining a protest or rally is low/no cost and can be done completely digitally or with as few assets as flyers and signs (on recycled and recyclable paper and poster boards).
Making Activism a Career
Let’s say you’ve done all of the above (first off, pat yourself on the back and treat yo self while ya at it) but also it’s time to put all the good and kind hard work you’ve done into some fully-reciprocal use.
Talk to the Media
Reach out to sites and mediums like Broke-Ass Stuart and you could pitch us article ideas and have a far better-written piece published.
Make connections and get referrals from all of your volunteer work. Letters of recommendation are quite common and can help you land jobs in the world of activism.
Get a Job in Activism
Full-time or part-time work makes a difference (in your life and the world’s) big-time. It’s admirable, and quite the norm, to start out as a volunteer then move to a part-time position, and then segue that into full-time work. As advocacy organizations continue to grow and multiply, so do their needs.
Be Your Own Boss or Become an Influencer
Take what you’ve done and learned and start consulting for corporations or NPOs, freelance with any special skills you have, and take to social media with all of it to get those paid promotions, brand partnerships, and free earth-friendly swag.
Want to learn more or support John Oberg, or see more content like this on Broke-Ass Stuart? Check out ALL the resources below:
Official website: JohnOberg.org
Donations (via Patreon) Patreon.com/JohnOberg
Donations (via Donorbox): Donorbox.org/JohnOberg
General social media course: https://advocacycollab.com/mastering-social-media/
Twitter course: https://advocacycollab.com/mastering-twitter/
Instagram course: https://advocacycollab.com/mastering-instagram/
John Oberg is an animal advocate, influencer, and social media professional dedicated to making the world a kinder place for animals by utilizing the power of social media. In late 2018, he became an independent animal advocate, funded through individual donations, focusing on amplifying pro-animal content in the digital space. Previously, he served as Director of New Media for The Humane League and as Director of Communications for Vegan Outreach. In his decade of experience in social media advocacy, he has accumulated 250,000 followers, his posts have been seen hundreds of millions of times, and he has heard directly from thousands of people who’ve been influenced by his work. In alignment with his efforts to inspire other advocates to improve their efforts for animals on social media, he launched three online courses through the online educational platform, Advocacy Collaborative.