16 resources to be a better climate activist that aren’t Instagram

The big list of climate activist resources - PollyBarks.com

Or, alternatively, the title I wanted to use that was too long: 16 resources to be a better climate activist that aren’t mindlessly scrolling social media, liking and reposting as if it’s actual action.

I left Instagram, the spot that not only ate up a ridiculous amount of my time and mental energy, and also made me feel like I was doing something but… reposting a Canva graphic isn’t climate activism. “Awareness” is a bar we long overcame and isn’t enough anymore.

But as much as Instagram and the empty activism frustrated me, it was the online spot where I got frequent hot-takes about the state of the world.

When I left, I didn’t know how I’d be a good climate activist and stay up-to-date on all the climate and social justice issues. So I started digging.

Shortly after, someone send me an email asking about a round-up of all the ways I’m staying on the pulse of social issues. Clearly, being a better climate activist without the time-suck of social media is a big deal.

So I made a list. These are all the beginning of understanding the events surrounding us. It’s up to us to dig deeper and find out the larger meaning and action items to take.

Sure, it’s no getting spoon-fed the same 5 graphics like on Instagram, but it’s developing the critical thinking we all need to do a lot more flexing of in these end days.

All are great resources, but the ones highlighted are exceptionally useful!

16 resources to be a better climate activist that aren't Instagram - PollyBarks.com

What’s on my Feedly

I highly recommend getting a free Feedly account if you don’t already. You can bookmark all of the sites you find valuable and skim through them easily. I find I’m much more likely to find interesting information if I’m looking here, rather than going to each site individually.

Here are a few of the places I start skimming my headlines from as an informed climate activist:

  • Daily Climate | an aggregate of climate, environment, policy, etc. news from sources all over the world. A great way to skim the headlines and dive into what you really want to know more about. [posting: frequent]
  • Environment : NPR | again, something I tend to skim but I like the mix of audio in there rather than the all-text of Daily Climate offerings. [posting: frequent]
  • Grist Climate & Energy | current events articles but also some great long-form think pieces related to the climate crisis and how we deal with it. [posting: 2-3x daily]
  • Abolition Journal| not sustainability explicitly, but I like keeping in touch with the social justice think pieces around abolishing the police state. More thoughtful and thorough than an IG graphic hot-take. [posting: infrequently]
  • FAIR | FAIR is a site I hadn’t heard of before I started searching for IG alternatives, but it’s an interesting spot for opinion pieces that aim to fight bias in media.* It’s not all climate-related, but there is a lot about it alongside other justice issues. [posting: frequent]
  • Occasionally skim r/zerowaste for ideas, though rarely useful.
  • Sensible Sustainability | we love a thorough, nuanced queen. Yue ponders “big and small questions about sustainability, share research, and explore ways to reduce my environmental footprint.” [posting: weekly-ish]
  • adrienne marie brown | just. You must follow her for all the nuanced discussion on politics, race, cancel culture, and all the other hot-button issues that don’t get their proper due on a platform like Instagram! [posting: infrequent]

*NB: definitely read Weapons of Math Destruction: How big data increases inequality and threatens democracy (Alibris) (Biblio) (Amazon) for a look at why FAIR is so important!

16 resources to be a better climate activist that aren't Instagram - PollyBarks.com

Podcasts

  • The Daily | from the New York Times, The Daily features one main, in-depth story on a current topic. I like the context and deeper meaning they’re able to get by focusing on just one story, though they do recap other headlines at the end. [posting: daily, lol]
  • What a Day | similar to The Daily, but lighter in tone. The two hosts are wonderful, funny, and the kind of people you could joke about the end of the world with. [posting: daily]
  • How to Save a Planet | Leave it to the incredible Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson (if you’re on climate IG, I’m sure you’ve heard of her) and journalist Alex Blumberg help guide us through saving the planet while also enjoying some pretty dumb jokes. [posting: weekly]

Newsletters

  • HEATED | so good! A long-form newsletter dedicated to either some truly inspired investigative journalism or discussing climate issues with some of the best and the brightest. [posting: 1-2x/week]
  • The Skimm | I have a hard time with The Skimm for some reason but I do appreciate their light takes on the big news of the day. Worth a… uh… skim every morning. [posting: daily]
  • POLITICO’s The Long Game | this one is a little dry, but it’s all about building a sustainable future with a focus on business. If you’re looking to get a big picture view of the crisis – and we should be! – this is really helpful. [posting: weekly]
  • The Nation Take Action Now | if you’re looking for something practical after you read all of the depressing news in the world, this is it! They divide up the actions by “just a few minutes” all the way up to “ready to roll my sleeves up and dig in” which is really helpful. Would recommend 100%. [posting: weekly]
  • Anti-Racism Daily | daily actions to dismantle white supremacy. If you’re on IG for the social justice memes and prompts, you have got to be signed up for this! Also, I believe they’re soon launching a podcast! [posting: daily lol]
16 resources to be a better climate activist that aren't Instagram - PollyBarks.com

My routine

I wake up and listen to The Daily and What a Day on my morning walk and as I make coffee. If it’s feeling like an exceptionally heavy day, I’ll skip The Daily and get the news without the seriousness through What a Day. (I use Spotify to keep everything organized.)

I skim my Feedly in the morning or during breaks for 5 minutes – longer if something catches my eye and I want to read it right away. If I don’t have time, I try to copy-paste any URLs that look interesting into my Note’s app daily to-do list so I don’t forget about it. I try to read at least 2-3 articles daily.

Mid-afternoon I scroll through my inbox and read through the newsletters I have. (I use Spark which separates them from regular emails which I really like!) I always make time for Anti-Racism Daily – and there’s usually a practical action item I can take to feel empowered for the day! – and The Nation’s Take Action Now.

During my afternoon/evening walk (I’m trying to get 10K steps every day!), I’ll listen to either a fun podcast or How to Save a Planet if there’s an episode.

And that’s that. Hope it helped!