Photo by Ron Otsu via Unsplash

๐ŸŒฑ Iโ€™m not Exxon, Congress, or Jeff Bezos. What is My Responsibility?

Part V: Building sustainable activism against unhealthy systems

Sam Chavez
Sam Chavez

Table of Contents

๐Ÿค“ Bite-Sized Knurd: Weโ€™re seeing a rise in apathy and defeatism in our movements. By reframing how we view our activism, we can grow more resilient and achieve lasting change.

In Case You Missed It: Transforming Communications to Imagining New Soil

831 What is my responsibility

Summerโ€™s end is upon us. We usually feel sad to see the lazier days pass as the days cool and the leaves fall, but after the hottest summer on record, there is relief mixed in. If youโ€™re like me, itโ€™s been really hard to watch the never-ending news cycle of climate destruction and the lives upended by our actions. The destruction from the Maui wildfire alone is difficult to even comprehend.

I say our because it is our actions, both individually and collectively.

Many people Iโ€™ve talked to in various movements have sensed a rise in apathy and defeatism. Itโ€™s a very real global phenomenon. The response I hear most often to not taking climate action is that their actions wonโ€™t change things. They say, โ€œI am not a billionaire or an oil company so my actions donโ€™t really matter in the grand scheme of things. I canโ€™t make Congress pass laws either.โ€ While it was absurd the media was covering the plastic straws debate while BPโ€™s oil was spilling into the ocean, that doesnโ€™t mean we donโ€™t have a responsibility to take climate action. It just might look different than what most envision.

While Iโ€™m speaking to the climate crisis here, there is a sense of apathy around many of the major hurdles we face. By reframing how we view our activism, we can grow more resilient and achieve lasting change.

We Are All Interconnected

Most people have a specific image of what activism is. What kind of person comes to mind for you?

I automatically think about holding protest signs in the streets, an impassioned speech with a bullhorn at the Capitol steps, or knocking on doors for votes in the Georgia heat. This is certainly a kind of activist, but not the only one.

My view of activism is much more universal. Activism is an integrated practice in my everyday life. It is not in the streets where my activism will be most effective (although thatโ€™s important too) but in my everyday interactions and choices.

  • The ways I choose to spend my money
  • How I show up for my community and those outside of my community
  • The media that I consume
  • The voices I uplift
  • How and when I choose to speak up
  • My everyday conversations & more

All of these seemingly small choices add up to a much bigger shift. Our actions have ripple effects. It might sound obvious, but we lose sight that weโ€™re all a part of society. Our cumulative actions make up our social norms. What happens if more of us show up with a community-based, sustainable lens? How does that influence the collective?

Be the Mirror for the World You Want

We have an aggressively dominant worldview of individualism, materialism, and patriarchy that is unsustainable for the planet. Yet, itโ€™s constantly being reinforced by the media, marketing, other people, and even within ourselves. The noise of our world is constant and distracting. The GOP understands this, which is why there has been such a focus on entertainment and education. By attacking these forces, they can influence and maintain this negative worldview.

If we want to move towards a more compassionate and sustainable world, we need to show others what that world can look like without the current worldview. Not only does this give others a permission structure to show up differently, but it allows us to live more authentically as well. It helps us filter the noise a little better. Donโ€™t forget that activism is a relay race!

As I mentioned last week, we are gardeners for new soil. Our choices every day are the nutrients we put into the soil. How can we each better nourish the soil?

Creator Spotlight ๐Ÿ”ฆ: I wanted to uplift a few creators who are talking about this stuff. They are great follows! Iโ€™ve learned so much from them and I hope you do too.

  • Emily Weltman: is a social entrepreneur on a mission to change how we view and do work. Learn more about the future of work, systems thinking, social justice, gender parity, and economic justice.
  • Sharon Hurley Hall is the co-founder of Mission Equality. Learn how to be a stronger anti-racist ally.
  • Sophia Howard: is a writer and slow-living advocate. Learn how to disconnect from the noise and pace of capitalism.
  • Maxwell Neely: is a climate comms disrupter. He will change the way you think about the climate crisis while offering hope and humor.
๐Ÿ—ผ๐Ÿ—ž: Newsletter๐ŸŒฑ๐ŸŒ The Climate Crisis๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘งโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆ for activists & heart-first humans ๐ŸŒฑ๐ŸŒฑ๐Ÿค‘ Economics & Capitalism

Sam Chavez

Sam is a writer, strategist, and curious human. She founded the roots of change agency in 2020. Sam is a queer, white, LatinX activist whoโ€™s passionate about a livable planet & equitable societies.


Navigating heart-first activism & storytelling. We explore the ๐ŸŒฑ roots of our world to support communicators, organizations, and activists ๐Ÿฅต to avoid burnout and ๐Ÿ“š tell empathetic stories that cultivate connections that ๐ŸŒ empower โœŠ๐Ÿฝ social change.

Learn more about the Roots of Change Agency.