I’ve worked on the fringes of environmental activism for years. Among my projects, I started a well-reputed Extinction Rebellion group, and worked with friends to map inconsistencies methane leak reporting.
Many of the skills that I’ve acquired through work and my personal life (agile project management, data engineering and analysis, finance, and an ability to read scientific papers) can be helpful for causes that I care about. I’d like to make use of my skills in a way that doesn’t contribute to the collapse of our world. Starting June 1st, I’m giving myself between 6 and 9 months to become a full time activist.
Initially, I hope to join with a finance-savvy environmental group, help on existing campaigns, and learn everything I can from them. I have some ideas for campaigns of my own, but don’t intend to launch them until I’ve done a good job for an existing campaign.
Eventually, I hope to establish a new funding model for beneficial activism (This will be the topic of a later post.), while increasing capital costs for carbon-heavy companies and products.
Like any long journey, I don’t know quite where this will take me, or when I’ll get there. However, I do have some key milestones that I hope pass.
This is a high-leverage and less-explored area, full of overlooked data, arcane rules, regulations, and potential allies. It seems ideal for someone coming from a data and engineering background. (This will be the topic of a later post.)
There are people with more experience with this than I have. While I have many ideas for activist campaigns, I expect that most of them will be unachievable. Others, I expect to be achievable, but imprudent. And the remaining few ideas will still need help. As a result, at least initially, I intend to work with existing activist groups.
Burnout runs rampant in the activist community, in part because activism doesn’t pay. When environmental activism financially benefits everyone in the long term, it financially benefits few people in the short. According to an activist friend, “You can do a lot of good for other people.”
There are many other aspects of activist burnout, but a lack of income is one that I know well, and would like to avoid. For this adventure to be regenerative enough to continue beyond its experimental phase, I need to make enough to live a middle class lifestyle.
Eventually, for this endeavor to continue, it needs to fund me.
In addition to the three milestones, above I’m interested in other evaluation criteria you may think of. On and between December 31st and May 31st , I’ll take stock of these and decide whether or not to continue.
I’m recording this journey so that you and others can learn from it. I hope that it helps you with your own endeavors, and that you reach out if you need help.
Your reading this also helps me. It encourages me through a strange career move, and I hope that you’ll reach out with advice and suggestions on things that I can do better.
What evaluation criteria would you suggest for this experiment? What actions might I take, that will help me achieve my milestones? How can I make this a better read for you?
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