On September 20th RSPB Scotland will be supporting the UK Student Climate Network alongside many other groups and individuals across the globe for the Global Climate Strike. In the lead up we will be posting some blogs about different ways you can get involved in campaigning.
RSPB Scotland’s Allie McGregor shares her experiences attending marches and rallies and gives some of her tips for making the most of it and staying safe.
Campaigning at rallies and marches
Despite being a long-time campaigner, it took me a while before I was confident and comfortable going to marches or other larger campaigning events. The prospect of crowds, noise, drawing a lot of attention and other elements are often intimidating to me, and most likely many others.
These kinds of actions might not be for everyone for these very reasons. If you are less able to take part, then there might be different kinds of campaigning that are perfect for you! If you are able to, we would love to see you at the Climate Strikes this Friday 20th September.
Below are some of the things I make sure to do in order to have the best experience possible:
Find a friend or group to go with
Even if you are more comfortable in crowds there are lots of reasons to go with friends or a group. Not only is it safer, but it’s fun! Being surrounded by people you are comfortable with and can chat to or chant with means you don’t need to feel lonely or lost on the day. Always look out for each other.
Even if you have a group, make sure to set up a meeting point if you get separated, and plan how you’re getting to and from the march or rally safely.
There’s some seemingly quite boring, but very useful, things to remember when you’re out marching. Things like water, snacks, sensible shoes, appropriate clothing, and a charged phone in case you need to contact anyone or film anything.
Plan your day so you have the best idea possible of everything you might need.
Share your message
Make a banner, wear a bold shirt, come up with a chant! One of my favourite parts of marches is seeing all the incredible signs and banners people create. It’s a fun and creative demonstration of passion for nature and climate. It can also help you come together with people beforehand to make your amazing banners!
Signs are powerful and they can tell a story which can reach people across the world.
Consider accessibility for yourself and others
What are your personal needs? I struggle with crowds and noise, so I ensure to march along the sides of a crowd and know as much about my route as possible so I can exit or take a break when I need to, and I carry earplugs.
The person who knows what you need most is you. Some marches have good accessibility measures in place to ensure all are welcome, others might be less prepared. Do some research beforehand, plan what you are able, let your friends know your needs and listen to theirs.
Only do what your feel comfortable doing and respect the limits of people around you!
Know your rights
Everyone has a right to peaceful protest. Most marches you attend will be organised in advance and have appropriate permissions. It is good to find out in advance what has been authorised so it can inform whether you choose to attend and what action you choose to take.
It may never come up, but when engaging in peaceful protest it is always useful to have an idea of what your rights and responsibilities are if anything escalates. You can find some helpful resources online or speak to event organisers to set your expectations.
Show your enthusiasm
This is what we’re passionate about! We are fighting to protect our nature and climate. Get involved in chants, cheer, create amazing art and make your voice heard.
Let’s make our urgent call for action impossible to ignore.
See you on the 20th…
You can find out more about the climate strike here
Read our other campaigning blogs:
Contacting your MSPsCampaigning with social media
Campaigning with Craftivism
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