How to mobilise your colleagues and employers to join the climate strike

Make your voice heard alongside thousands of others in a Global Climate Strike.

Article by
Emily Kratzmann
A man holds a sign saying 'Sorry, we're closed due to climate crisis' at a climate strike.

Want to join a climate strike but not sure how to go about it? Marching for climate doesn’t have to be radical or scary – anyone can join the cause. Here’s how you do it (without annoying your boss).

If you’ve never joined a climate strike before, the idea can seem a bit daunting. The important thing to remember is that marchers are ordinary people, just like you. They just want their voices heard.  

Striking for climate doesn’t have to be radical or scary, and there are plenty of good reasons to do it: to show solidarity, put pressure on decision-makers, stand with those affected by climate disasters, or simply find a sense of community. Protests are usually positive, safe and inclusive spaces, and there’s no expectation on you to storm the barricades or anything. It’s really just about turning up.  

Whether you’re completely new to marching or a seasoned activist, here are a few ways to join the climate strikes (and get your boss on-board, too).  

Tell your boss/manager you’re striking

It’s a good idea to let your boss know you’ll be out of the office for a few hours on the day of the strike (and why), but how you approach the subject of taking time off work to attend the climate strike will be different for everyone. If you have a great working relationship with your boss, you could have a face-to-face chat telling them you plan to strike, or send an email like this one:

Hi there, 

I’ll be out of the office for a few hours on [DATE] to attend the Global Climate Strike.

This is an issue I am passionate about, and I want to join thousands of people around the world to demand that our governments take climate change seriously, stop using fossil fuels, and fight for people not profit.

The strike will last for a couple of hours, and I’ll ensure my to-do list is up-to-date before I leave work. I’ll also make sure I’ve got an out-of-office message set, so any clients/customers know where I am, and when I’ll be back.

Let me know if you need anymore details. I’d be happy to have a chat, and would love for you to join me at the strike too.

Thanks for your support!

If you don’t think your boss will be all that receptive to the cause, consider booking in a few hours of personal leave or volunteer leave (these days, many organisations allow their staff eight hours of volunteer leave each year). Be sure to provide plenty of notice, too.

Having a conversation with a reluctant employer about your intent to strike can also be a great opportunity for you to build your case around the importance of climate action. By allowing you to take time off to march, let them know that it’s making the organisation look more future-focused. It also sends a message to current (and potential) staff that your company cares about climate action, and is taking steps towards Net Zero.  

Encourage your colleagues to join you

There’s power in numbers, and the more people who join your cause, the louder your voice. If your workplace has a green team, sustainability department or responsible business team, check in with them to see who’s going to the climate strike. Start chatting with someone next time you’re in the kitchen making lunch or a coffee. Tell them you’re going and ask if they’ll join you. Pop up a note on your company’s Yammer or department Slack channel, raising the issue or explaining your intent to strike. You could use something like this: 

Hi everyone, 

On [DATE], I’ll be joining thousands of school students, businesses and individuals to strike for climate action. Not enough is being done to limit global warming, but we’re still at the point where it’s possible to turn things around. By adding my voice to the strike, I’m demanding that our leaders hear us and take notice – it’s not too late to change the future!

Want to join me? The more people who come along, the louder our voices will be [insert your emoji of choice here – a smily face never goes astray :)] 

On the day of the strike, organise to meet everyone in the office, and walk or catch public transport together.  

Spread the word on social media

This is another easy way to gather support. The more of your friends, family and connections who know you’re striking, the more likely they are to join you. It’s also a great way to give kudos to your company for giving you time off to attend (but only if you tag them in your post!).

Set an auto-responder on your email 

Before you leave the office, make sure you’ve switched on your out-of-office message. Be specific about why you’re out of the office so your clients, customers and colleagues know where you are and why you’re striking. You could say something like:

I’m at the Global Climate Strike and will be out of the office for the next few hours. I’ll be marching alongside thousands of school students, workers and climate-concerned individuals, demanding that our government takes immediate action to limit global warming. It’s not too late to change the future and put the planet back on track.

Before you strike

Really, your voice is all you need to make a difference. But if you want to stand out, consider making a sign (you could have a sign-making workshop with your colleagues a few days before the strike). Check this link for some creative ideas.

Strike safely

If you’ve never been to a march before, it’s perfectly natural to feel a bit nervous in such a large group, especially after living through two years of lockdowns.

Remember that there’s no right or wrong way to protest. You can march for as long (or as little) as you like. No-one’s judging you. You can stand in the thick of it – while maintaining a safe social distance – or you can hang back. The most important thing is that you’re showing your support.

Make sure you’re mentally prepared to march. You’ll be surrounded by people fighting for climate action, so you can expect to feel a range of emotions – happiness, joy, anger, frustration and sadness. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or emotional, take a breath, have some water or something to eat, and stop fora few moments. Keep an eye out for those around you who might be feeling the same.

Regardless of current COVID-19 restrictions, it’s a good idea to take your mask – you’ll be in a big group of people, and it’s important to protect yourself and those around you. Make sure you’re wearing plenty of sunscreen, plus a hat, hand sanitiser and comfortable walking shoes. Remember to take your reusable water bottle, too.

We’re excited to be launching our WorkForClimate Academy, a 10-week online course giving you the knowledge, skills and confidence to help your business make the switch to renewable energy and reduce its emissions. Find out more here.

Feature photo by Katie Rodriguez on Unsplash.

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