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I just read the article “A Young Climate Activist Reflects on Lessons Learned” by Chloe Maxmin, the student leader of Divest Harvard, and I am so impressed!
Chloe clearly thinks deeply about herself and her activism.
My favorite of her points are #2, 3, and 6.
#2 Being thoughtful, even in a terrifying crisis, I have also written about, utilizing the example of the famous “marshmellow experiment”
#3 “Creating choice points” is also very true– and at the heart of the Pledge to Mobilize idea. Offering someone the Pledge creates a choice point, a clear and bright line: You either sign, or you don’t.
But I especially like # 6, “Don’t be afraid to evolve.”
Allowing myself to evolve has been central to my effectiveness as an activist. There have been times when I felt myself becoming ideologically attached to a certain theory of change. This made me reluctant to explore alternative avenues and perspectives. Now I try to remember that evolution is a necessary and natural part of life, including activism. It’s a process to embrace. I’ve felt frustrated and angry at the ideological rigidity of some activists’ and their refusal to entertain new ideas and strategies. Open and ever-evolving dialogue is necessary to grow a movement.
Being open to changing and growing, to constantly refining and improving one’s ideas– is critical for climate change activism, as in all life. In order to be as effective as possible, we must keep this in mind. We must push ourselves to question our beliefs and actions and relentlessly ask, “How can I be more effective? How can I do more? What am I doing or thinking that is holding me back from realizing my maximum potential to fight climate change?” Questioning oneself like that can be difficult, but it is so worth it! When one i open to evolving, ones mistakes become lessons and successes become stepping stones… An example of this in my life right now is that The Climate Mobilization has received some really excellent, challenging feedback about the emissions targets that the Pledge calls for. So, we are thinking about changing them. Its so important to stay open and flexible, even as we stay focused and dedicated.
Anyway, thanks to Chloe for the excellent article, and her excellent work at Harvard. Such reflection and growth has clearly paid off 🙂 Onward!