Organizing Sustainability

Justice and Empowerment in Environmental Advocacy

“Organizing Sustainability: Empowerment and Justice in Environmental Advocacy” is an 8 week course introducing the basics of community organizing for sustainability and environmental justice starting in late September. It is open to students, community members, and others interested in environmental advocacy.

Participants will follow an experiential curriculum focused both on learning the analytical and organizational skills required for environmental advocacy, as well as fostering safety and long term relationships among participants.

This program is free, and upon completion, with an 85% participation rate, students will get a Sustainable Concordia Certificate in Environmental Advocacy. Additionally, Concordia Students may have it added to their transcripts on their Co-Curricular Record.

Registration for this semester’s series is closed. Check back next semester for more workshops!

Winter Session will run from February 1st to April 5th on Wednesdays, from 5:45 – 8:00 pm. 

Program Modules

Module 1: Welcome and Introduction to Sustainability

In this module, students will get to know each other, and be introduced to the concept of Sustainability within a community organizing framework through a variety of games and activities. This module will set the stage for the rest of the program and empower students to take responsibility for themselves and each other throughout the duration of the program.

Module 2: Unequal Burdens of Environmental Degradation

This module will use activities to give students an understanding of the ways in which the impacts of environmental degradation are disproportionate across social divisions such as race, gender, class,  geography, education, economic status, etc. We will discuss the consequences of reduced access to decision making power with regards to ecological health, and the notion of individual and community empowerment to achieve just social relations.

Module 3: Roots of the Unsustainabili-Tree

The Unsustainabili-Tree is an activity which provides students with an analytical framework with which to understand and articulate varying levels of environmental issues. By understanding the relationship between the individual leaves down to the ideological roots of environmental issues, participants will be better able to conceive of effective campaign goals and messaging later in the program.

Module 4: Just Solutions to Environmental Issues

What are just solutions to environmental issues? Through case studies of existing organizations and ongoing campaigns, we will review key concepts while discussing the qualities of effective campaigns advocating just solutions to environmental issues.

Module 5: Campaign Planning

This module will introduce participants to the tools and concepts for doing an environmental advocacy campaign. Activities will emphasize the importance of bottom up movement building through the notion of political activation.

Module 6: Messaging and Media

This module builds on the campaign planning process, emphasizing the importance of crafting specific, goal oriented messaging arcs in the advocacy campaign process. Students will learn habits of effective messaging, and practice the ABC’s of staying on message.

Module 7: Facilitating Group Process

Bad meetings? Through group activities, participants will learn the fundamentals of facilitation. We will discuss the qualities of good facilitation, while emphasizing decision making and group dynamics.

Module 8: Organizing Sustainability

The final component of the course will introduce the basics of recruitment, retention, and mass mobilization for environmental campaigns. Through facilitated dialogue and activities we will reflect on what motivates us and others to engage in the work we do, and look at different techniques for building momentum and membership in fulfilling campaigns and organizations. Time will be made at the end to conclude the series and reflect on what comes next!