The novel coronavirus pandemic has sent a shockwave through society, challenging our way of life and highlighting the fragility of the systems we depend on. In many ways, the effects of the coronavirus are unnervingly similar to the forecasted consequences of the climate crisis. It is challenging the resiliency of our society, our health system, and the economy. However, if there is one lesson we are learning, it is the need for emboldened social solidarity and community in this time of coronavirus climate organizing.
With so much uncertainty around the pandemic, CCAN is here in support of our community with reliable information. Here are six steps you can take to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, and remain active on climate:
1: Keep yourself healthy and informed.
We have all been affected by the coronavirus, no one is immune. While those able are working from home, many of us face insecurities — with jobs, housing, or food. Still more are wrestling with feelings of anxiety and grief. And then there are those of us who have been most directly impacted, by falling ill or having a loved one fall ill.
During this time we must listen to the science and respect the guidelines our local governments have put in place. Stay home if possible – especially if feeling unwell – wash your hands frequently, and physically distance yourself from those not in your household. We all must do our part to limit the spread of the coronavirus and ease the strain on hospitals and medical workers.
- For more information, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines:
WHO Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public
- Stay informed on what is happening locally in Maryland, Virginia, Washington DC, and your state
- Be aware of your own health and any symptoms you may have: Symptoms and Testing
- If you feel anxious about the current crises, take steps to calm your mind and spirit: Finding Steady Ground
2: Be there for one another
While these are trying times, they also offer us a chance to pivot and take stock of the value of what we have. Physical distancing does not prevent us from strengthening the bonds within our communities. Mutual aid networks are sprouting up everywhere, allowing the healthiest among us to support the most vulnerable, and creating a greater sense of community and shared purpose. The solidarity we are forming today, is hopefully one we can carry onward as we face the climate crisis together.
- Support the most vulnerable in your community through mutual aid: Mutual Aid networks
- During this time, many people have lost their jobs and face housing and food insecurities. Learn more about what you can do to help: How to help in the wake of COVID-19
- States are taking steps to support those in need: groceries, unemployment insurance, child care, and other efforts: Virginia Community Resources; Maryland Community resources; Washington DC Community resources
3: Take action — digitally!
Not all is grim. Policies once only dreamed of–universal payments, paid sick leave, and stays on evictions– are being passed into law. Communities are coming together. Companies are setting up telework systems that we can continue to adopt in the future to reduce unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions. Unprecedented stimulus bills reveal that we DO have the ability to act boldly in times of crisis.
While some aspects of society are slowing down, we can’t take a break from acting on the climate crisis. While we may not be able to come together in person at this time, there are digital ways to take action!
- Write a letter to your Congressperson asking them to account for the Five Principles for Just Relief in future stimulus packages
- Demand paid sick leave for every resident in America
- Tell your state officials: Vote by mail must be available to all voters
- Take the 2020 Census online
- Every Friday, take part in the Digital Climate Strike: share a photo or video of yourself on social media with the hashtag #ClimateStrikeOnline to keep pushing for climate justice
- Visit our Take Action page to support CCAN’s work across the region.
4: Train to Skill Up
Finding yourself with some extra time? Now could be the perfect time to participate in trainings.
- Take the “Climate Science Crash Course” for Virginia and Maryland
- Sign up for a live training on Zoom
- Learn more about using Twitter effectively for campaigns
- The Sunrise Movement’s guide to Slack
- Learn about organizing, movement-building, and climate change: 350.org’s Online Skill-Up Sessions
- Ebook guide to holding trainings, calls, and webinars online
Be sure to check back regularly for more training resources!
5: Stay informed
The pandemic shows us that early, deliberate action is far better at mitigating risk than reactive, delayed responses. Coronavirus, like climate change, manifests after a period of incubation. When we wait until we see symptoms, the virus has already spread, and the effects are far greater than can be perceived momentarily. This is why it is more important than ever that we continue to organize, and to prevent ourselves from returning to a business as usual scenario. If we are headed into a severe recession, or worse, it is the perfect time for the bold investments and policies that we need to transition to a carbon-free future.
Here are some articles we recommend:
- Climate Activism in the Time of Coronavirus
- Vox: Here’s how you can help people who’ve lost jobs or housing in the wake of coronavirus
- “We’re Not Going Back to Normal”- MIT Technology Review
- “That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief” – Harvard Business Review
- “Grieving the Losses of Coronavirus” – New York Times
Sign up for our email list and follow us on social media to receive updates and timely information.
6: Keep Fighting!
In these difficult times, let’s be compassionate, generous, and bold. Keep fighting for the future that we deserve. Now is the time for action.
- NYT coronavirus live map
- WaPo coronavirus simulator: “Flattening the curve”
- CDC Covid-19 website
- Doctors Without Border: Facts and Figures about the coronavirus outbreak: COVID-19
- Montgomery County Arts and Humanities Council Resource List
- Maryland coronavirus Information for Businesses
- Governor Hogan’s COVID-19 website, including press statements and state actions
- Accurate health and best practices information from Maryland Government.
- A list of all Maryland county based Corona hotlines.
- A grassroots collection of mutual aid resources, including links to established projects and guides on how to start up a project near you.
- The Red Cross website for finding locations to give blood near you.
- Donate to Richmond Mutual Aid: Venmo @richmondmutualaid; https://paypal.me/richmondmutualaid
- Find your local food bank
- Volunteer with Virginia Peninsula Foodbank
- Host a virtual food drive for Virginia Peninsula Foodbank
- Set up a fundraiser for Virginia Peninsula Foodbank
- Most needed food items at ANY foodbank or pantry