To change everything we need everyone

As Naomi Klein has brought up with her significant book – “This Changes Everything” we are in the midst of a climate crisis that is fueled by capitalism.

And so, with such urgent problems facing us, we need to work better than ever, across issues, in new coalitions.

She exhorts us – to change everything we need everyone.

So, at our Melbourne Campaigners Network meet at the end of June we decided to ask – Who is everyone?

We wanted to discuss who is currently close to us, in our networks, who have we got good relationships with, and who is missing… where do we need to build the bridges to the groups that we know of, doing good work, but we aren’t closely connected to.

So on a June afternoon in a chaotic session with a few small people running around, we started to unpack a small piece of the picture of where our movement sits.

MCN family friendly

Firstly, to share who was in the room – we have a group of core folks who are regular attendees of Melbourne Campaigners Network… an ongoing series of events and a loose network that has been operating in Melbourne over the last few years – initially convened by Holly Hammond – and then joined by Naomi Blackburn, and myself more recently.

We have a range of attendees, drawn from progressive politics, the union movement, a strong contingent of environmentalists, and folks from across the social justice sector… and typically the audience fluxes and changes depending on the topics which are varied and diverse.

This event, focused as it was on climate and extended networks, naturally drew an audience weighted more towards an interest in those issues – but we also had a number of graduates of “The Change Course”, a series of workshops I run for grassroots activists, in attendance as well as folks from the union movement, animal rights and various political parties and groups that work across issues, like GetUp.

We started with some initial discussion and reflection, and shared the preview for the upcoming documentary which is related to the book.

We essentially wanted to map “degrees of separation” to a range of both grassroots groups and non-government organisations in the environment and social justice sectors.

The rough areas we grouped people into (there could be many ways of doing this) were

  • Environment/Climate
  • Health and community
  • Human rights and social justice
  • Unions and workers rights
  • First nations and international solidarity campaigns
  • Animal rights
  • Other

The “first degree” was mapped with a yellow/orange sticky note.

These are groups we were directly involved with or members of.

The “second degree” was mapped with a pink sticky note

These are groups we have close connections to, or are one step removed from… folks we regularly collaborate with, might co-host events with or work on projects together with…essentially where there is some commonality

The “third degree” was mapped with a blue sticky note

These were groups we were aware of, that we know do good work, or that we aspire to have better working relations with.

We then allocated people to each sector group – who either worked already in that sector, or had an interest in developing better relationships there, and discussed some of the opportunities that could come about through collaboration with the climate movement/s, and also some of the barriers.

Notes from some of these groups are related below.

Separately, we also did a network mapping exercise with our participants in the room to see which organisations we were directly linked to amongst our group of around 30 or so people. About half the group participated in this exercise and returned cards to us with their connections mapped out.

Here is a word cloud of current memberships identified:

word cloud MCN current connections

The more detailed results of that are being shared with the participants directly, and we will also share these insights with folks working on the mass mobilisations coinciding with climate negotiations at COP21 in November.

Here are notes about our “degrees of separation” to each of these sectors, as well as some of the challenges and opportunities that relate to working in coalition or collaborating on climate related campaigns.

The rest of the notes are here: To change everything we need every one – compilation.

Our next Melbourne Campaigners Network is “Celebrating Creative Activism” on 29th August

Nicola Paris