BLOG: CCL BC Fills a Growing Niche in Climate Advocacy

Four Climate Advocate Trainings (CAT) have been held in BC already in 2019 with three new chapters started.


BLOG: CCL BC Fills a Growing Niche in Climate Advocacy

By Anni Holtby and Jan Inglis

Fresh from completing Eli Spark’s Climate Advocate Training, facilitators Dona Grace-Campbell and Anni Holtby offered their first training in Nelson in January. The 20 participants included members of the local CCL chapter (new and experienced) plus several community people wanting urgently to do something about climate change. We also Zoomed in 11 participants from Creston BC, an agricultural community of approximately 5,200 people, which has now started a local Creston CCL chapter.

Two more trainings were held in Victoria in March, facilitated by Jan Inglis and Anni Holtby. Initially, just one workshop was planned. But there was so much interest that we offered another session the following day with a total of 26 people attending the three and a half hour workshops. This chapter had been inactive for a few years and got going again after the 2018 BC lobbying week. It was the training though that really inspired increased engagement. Several new people signed up to join the Greater Victoria chapter and they had 15 participants at the next Saturday morning CCL meeting!

A fourth training was held in Kimberley, BC in April, facilitated by Jan Inglis and Anni Holtby with 10 people attending.  As a result of the workshop, this community of 7,400 is also creating a chapter to serve neighbouring East Kootenay communities.

The Nelson workshop followed the CAT training format closely. Then, through incorporating feedback from that workshop plus considering the needs and contexts of the next community groups, we adjusted the format for the trainings in Victoria and Kimberley. Our goals were first to provide useful general climate advocacy skills for anyone regardless of their interest and experience, and second, to provide a basic orientation to CCL if participants did wish to pursue their advocacy skills within this organization.

Plans are underway to offer trainings for new CCL chapters starting up in the Okanagan and Nanaimo and a training in Vancouver is scheduled for June 2.

With a rising number of people becoming aware of the severity of climate change and desperately wanting to learn how to “do something”, this format allowed the general public to share in a supportive learning environment and feel more empowered without feeling pressure to sign up to a group.  However, most participants did choose to become involved in a CCL chapter. They wanted the ongoing support network of a local group that is also part of such a larger supportive and proven effective international organization.

When presenting the CCL principles, practicing laser talks, writing letters to the editor and lobbying exercises, our workshops incorporated current provincial or federal policies and at times relevant local climate issues. In general, regardless of their previous skill, and experience levels, or struggles with cynicism, participants could see that if you wanted to create a climate-responsive democratic process, there was merit in approaching elected officials with respect. This could help keep the doors of communication open to nurture a trusting relationship, in order to build the political will for a liveable world.

All in all, the Climate Advocacy Training can provide a safe, engaging environment for people to either dip their toes in practical advocacy work or dig a bit deeper and join a chapter to sustain ongoing advocacy work.


Climate Advocacy Training in Kimberly, BC