How effectively does the climate movement utilise tools for online campaigning, organising and communication? To what extent should the movement rely on the Internet to build the power required to transform our societies to a sustainable low carbon future? Do we spend too much time at our workstations and too little developing deeper relationships with members of our community?
The growth of the climate movement has been much more rapid and widespread than other social movements in Australia. In just a few years, hundreds of community action groups have been established. Tens of thousands of Australians are active members of community groups taking collective action on climate change. This rapid movement growth has been accompanied and facilitated by online communication. Websites, email communication, Facebook and other social networking platforms, Web 2.0 applications and other Internet capabilities have become defining features of climate change organising. Online communication in its many forms consumes and facilitates a significant proportion of the movement’s energy and other resources.
As part of our longer-term ‘Building the Climate Movement’ action research project, the Change Agency considered it important to critically examine the movement’s online dimension. The opportunity to take the research in this direction arose in June 2008 when tCA partnered with Friends of the Earth Australia to initiate this stage of our action research project. This stage included an online questionnaire, interviews with fifteen key climate movement organisers and a study of online movement building initiatives. The action research was funded by the Rechstein Foundation.
The report can be downloaded below. During September and October 2008, we’ll be convening forums in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney with climate activists. Check our online calendar for details of these forums.