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The Complete Guide to Grassroots Activism: Awaken the Activist Within

tools for grassroots activists

“The first time I came to realize the power of an individual to effect major change was in the early seventies,” writes Yvon Chouinard in the introduction to “Tools for Grassroots Activists,” a recently published guide to the world of grassroots activism.

The mission of Chouinard’s book is not only to ensure that readers come to this same realization but also to inspire them to take action to succeed. Both missions are fulfilled in the pages that follow.

The book was created by Patagonia based on 20 years of the Patagonia Tools Conference, an event that has united some of the most important activists to share wisdom, thoughts, and advice. The best of this information is captured within the book, organized into thematic chapters, from fundraising to organizing to marketing.

Each of the chapters begins with a straightforward, well-written introduction before launching into case studies, keynotes, and how-tos written by big names in grassroots activism like Karen Gardner, Shoko Tsuro, and even Jane Goodall. The book thusly offers the ideal balance of useful information for would-be grassroots activists and inspiration for those who are attracted by the milieu but aren’t too sure where to start.

From the very first chapter, “The Business of Changing the World,” this balance is struck effortlessly.

“For environmental activism, progress can be hard to spot, let alone measure,” writes Vincent Stanley. He highlights the locality of so many successful movements, such as the move away from cigarette smoking in public, which gradually sprung up regionally before becoming the norm nearly everywhere, and he encourages readers to believe that their own efforts in grassroots activism will come to the same fruition.

That said, hoping is not enough; inspiration leads people to grassroots activism, but it isn’t the key to success. There is a great deal of hard work involved in ensuring the success of any environmental activism program. Fortunately, this book provides the tools that any activist needs, from examples of successful campaign strategies to an outline of the rules of marketing and communication for beginners.

While the inspirational stories within are enough to hold an armchair activist, this book is designed for a true person of action, someone looking to take a stand and really make a difference. With this book in hand, whatever project you have in mind, from encouraging recycling in your neighborhood to developing more urban green spaces in your city can easily become a reality.

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