Posted by: Bob Morris at 1:57PM PST on August 28, 2010
Bob Morris, V.P. Activist Network
Major environmental advances take place when the popular voice demands them, regardless of the makeup of the administration or legislative branch at the time. Right now that voice is too small and too isolated to make it happen. More people need to be more vocal to make remedies for today’s environmental challenges an American cultural imperative. I wrote a book to fix that, but it turns out that The Owl and the Oakis no Silent Spring, and I’m no Rachel Carson. No one else has found a magic button to turn Sierra Club’s mission into a popular imperative, either. We have to do it the hard way: person-to-person contacts; organized for strength and powered by on-line tools for impact.
But you already know that. That’s why the Activist Network, despite testing new technology in new combinations and configurations and with virtually no outreach, has grown in eight months from 40 teams and 24 projects with 300 activist members into 172 teams and 168 projects with over 2000 activists. Congratulations! You’ve planted the seed crop from which popular action can grow across America. Popularly conceived and implemented grassroots initiatives supported by on line tools that increase organizing capacity and link participants to each other in a network of like-minded activists is a novel, unique and powerful concept. USA Today already calls the Activist Network “the environmentalists’ answer to the tea party movement”, and we’ve barely started to figure out what we’ve got and how to use it.
So how do we get to 20,000 activists in 1000 teams and 1000 projects by 2012? We need that kind of growth to demonstrate to our Sierra Club leadership, and to the larger community that you, organized and empowered activist citizens, can make the difference between fighting the good fight and winning that fight. The more people who are on the network, the more useful it gets and the stronger all of our voices become.
It starts with us. We’re the grassroots and we have to spread the seeds. By the end of September every member of this activist community needs to get two more people to put sierraclubactivistnetwork.org in their browser bar, click “enter” or “return”, hit the “join” button on the AN Home Page and establish a profile. That is the basic for continuing our growth. You can sign up two people in a month. They don’t even have to be Sierra Club members. Let’s get it done.
The organizing and networking tools also have to get better. The Communications Department has committed to improve what we have based on your input. By next summer we’ll have done enough tinkering with this version and we should be ready to move into a new platform of custom made on line tools. Keep working with what we have now. Each individual aspect is not as good as the best out there. This is the 1.0 version. But these tools really do work. By having our activist work, profiles and communications all in the network we build our activist community, strengthen all our voices and provide the basis for the new suite of tools being developed. As Teddy Roosevelt said, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are, now.”
Finally, we need more people to join the core group of activists building the activist community by building the Activist Network. No experience necessary, you’ll get that along with the rest of us along the way. Go tohttp://connect.sierraclub.org/Team/Movement_Buildersand help shape the network and build the movement.
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