Documentation:Open Case Studies/Political Science/Advocacy1
Climate Change Action Plan
Advocacy Group 1
Due to the pressing nature of climate change, involvement is required at all levels. Pressure from individuals is especially important as this will bring climate change onto the national political agenda. A bottom up approach is important in bringing widespread change; individuals and advocacy groups can pressure their governments, which can help to develop agreements on the international level.
In developed countries everyone at the individual level should take steps to reduce their own carbon footprint, including recycling and taking public transit. Recognizing that not everyone has the ability to pursue luxuries such as organic or locally sourced food, we should take Singer's principles into account here: people who can take measures to reduce their footprint, without sacrificing basic goods, should act. Education is especially important at the individual level to raise awareness about climate change and steps that can be taken to mitigate one's emissions. It's important to to bring these plans to areas that are less green than Vancouver, especially in other parts of Canada. This would be a good place for advocacy groups to be involved because their reach is vast. Individuals and advocacy groups can lobby governments to pass laws and regulations that make these plans more effective. Enforcement can come from a community level where individuals can feel pressure from their peers to conform to green standards. Advocacy groups can also pressure individuals to act by forcing them to confront their non-green actions, such as not turning lights off, not composting etc. Buy in can be achieved through pressure and social norms that can enable the growth of communities that value green behaviour.
Individuals and advocacy groups lobby to local, regional and federal governments. Local politicians will care if the communities they govern care. Chance of success will be good if the government is democratic. Onus is on the individual mostly, to compost, take transit etc, but some enforcement has to come from the government level to ensure that people are following the standards. Governments are in power for shorter terms, and as a result are more focused on short term goals, such as building infrastructure, while climate change, which is long term, seems less important. Pressure on the government is important from individuals and advocacy groups. Governments that take interest in citizen and advocacy groups makes changes to support these values. It's also possible that governments and individuals will not buy in and therefore not make the necessary changes.
There are costs to government for resources such as recycling bins, bike lanes, etc. Governments are reluctant to pay these immediate costs, the benefits of which are not immediate, making them harder to see. These new programs may be able to create jobs that would benefit the economy. Because the cost of organic and local food to the individual is higher, people may not opt to purchase them because they don't want to sacrifice other luxuries. Guilt via education can help consumers make different decisions about their priorities.
Through education people will care more about the environment, but still might not act to change their individual choices because its a burden for them. Targeting those who have most to give, makes this decision as easy as possible for individuals. Social movements like Earth Hour create social pressure. Sign of affluence to look more green for appeal. Advocacy movements can create social communities, standards.
Fails to address international actors and national government policies. You might need a top-down approach to be able to make change on the level and at the speed that you need. You don't need to worry about buy in if you have enforcement, but this will have backlash. Bottom up approaches will take a long time to reach the international level. Advocacy groups could be used to create transnational advocacy campaigns which can exercise more power on the international level. Creating social media campaigns by advocacy groups can be extremely effective in creating change on a large level because it can reach such a large audience.