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Bangladeshi villagers line up to have their photographs and signatures taken as part of a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) voting initiative.

Bangladeshi villagers line up to have their photographs and signatures taken and saved to an extensive database in Rajashi Division, some 200 kilometers northwest of Dhaka on March 16, 2008, as part of a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) voting initiative. One of the main reasons for the deferment of the January 2007 elections was an inaccurate electoral roll that was not acceptable to opposition parties. The UNDP is supporting the Bangladeshi government’s creation of a fresh voters list with photographs and fingerprints. It is the first time in Bangladesh that photographs are being included in the voters list. The completion of this list will eliminate fraudulent entries and build the nation’s confidence in the credibility of parliamentary elections.

Credit: Lalage Snow / Getty Images

Politics Industry

Call to action:

Mobilize political willpower for bold climate regeneration, starting from the ground up.

Around the world, the scale of political action does not match the climate concern that people have. The politics industry refers to the system that deliberately rejects, downplays, and mocks climate science to slow the adoption of policies and legislation that align with regeneration. The industry thrives on misinformation and reflects what people fear, not what they hope. Dismantling this industry would result in fairer and more balanced elections, policies that reflect the public good, and a citizenry that is invested in its political system and not just once every major election cycle.

Action Items


Vote. The first and simplest place to start is voting! Vote in national elections and local ones. Learn more about the platforms the candidates are running on and how regeneration features on their agenda. Encourage your friends, family, and communities to vote too.

Mobilize voter registration and turnout. Around the world, voter turnout is a problem. Women, young people, low-income citizens, and those with less access to formal education have the most difficulty casting their vote. Help members of your community to register as voters and to mail in their votes when and where possible. Rock the Vote can help you host a voter registration drive in the United States.

Learn about the financial ties of elected officials. In the United States, you can use the Follow the Money database to research state and local politics. Similarly, the Center for Responsive Politics’ Open Secrets is a tool to explore contributions to federal campaigns and lobbying information. For example, you can learn which politicians receive money from the oil and gas industry.

Share information. It is often hard to discern what information is accurate, especially when it comes to our political system. Support credible journalism outlets or conduct your own independent research into candidates, funding, and policies. Share what you find on your social media, speak with other voters, write opinion pieces in your local newspaper, or even contact public officials directly.

Volunteer for a political campaign. If there is a climate-concerned candidate running for an upcoming election, you can consider supporting their campaign by signing on as a volunteer. Go to their website or reach out on their social media to find out how you can support them, whether through fundraising, registering voters, or becoming a poll worker. Consider what level of time and responsibility you are willing to devote before you jump in.

Participate in climate strikes. A UN Framework Convention on Climate Change report published early in 2021 stated that existing national climate commitments are not on track to meet Paris Agreement goals. Political leaders must be held responsible for bolder action, and collective action is more likely to shift the needle. To make your voice heard, join the next global climate strike. You can also identify which role in the movement you are best suited to by reading more about the social change ecosystem map.

Use Deep Canvassing strategies. Deep canvassing is a political term to describe a vulnerable, nonjudgmental conversation with a stranger about an important issue. You probably do this with friends or family members often, but from an activist’s perspective, these are conversations that often take place over the phone or in person with someone you don’t know. Often the canvasser shares a personal story connecting to a human feeling in order to sway people from a politics of division and isolation to one of empathy. The goal is to ultimately shift behavior from political apathy to engagement and action.

Participate in mutual aid. Addressing social injustice is an integral part of addressing the climate crisis. Ideally, the political system would ensure that everyone has the resources and support they need to thrive. Unfortunately, safety nets are being denied to those who need them most. Mutual aid is the voluntary and reciprocal exchange of resources and services originating from disability justice activists. It may entail paying someone’s monthly rent or contributing to their medical expenses. For more information, check out this toolkit.

Act locally. Beyond waiting for a chance to be heard at the ballot box, many individuals are using innovative ways to bring climate action within their sphere of influence. From forming your own energy cooperative to joining or building an ecovillage to organizing for collective rights to forests and land, there are countless ways in which we can stay engaged beyond the cycles of election politics.



Publicly disclose campaign donations and spending. Public disclosure of campaign finances can prevent corruption, provide valuable information to voters about the candidates’ interests, and help enforce laws that govern campaign spending. Regardless of the laws in your country, disclosing your campaign finances is an act of good faith that candidates can undertake to be transparent with their constituents.

Neighborhood or Communities

Develop a clean energy plan. Communities all around the world are taking action instead of waiting for elected officials to deliver top-down plans. Take inspiration from the Wisconsin Clean Energy Toolkit to develop a clean energy plan for your community. This includes building community support, establishing an energy baseline, ensuring equitable carbon reduction strategies, reducing energy consumption, and investing in renewable energy options.

Nonprofits and Movements

Build an advocacy coalition. Build multistakeholder coalitions with other like-minded organizations to target policy and budgetary changes. Vikalp Sangam (India) is one example of a platform that brings together over seventy movements, groups, and individuals working on just pathways to human and ecological well-being. This note on building advocacy coalitions provides a step-by-step guide on how to consolidate advocacy efforts.


Engage transparently and directly with lawmakers on climate policy. A report published by Ceres found that while 93% of S&P100 companies note that climate change represents a threat to their business, only 50% have lobbied for the Paris Climate Agreement-aligned policies. If you are a company that aligns with science-based climate targets, publicly state your support for the AAA framework and align your approach to public policy engagement on climate change with a regenerative future. For more guidance, you can refer to the Blueprint for Responsible Policy Engagement on Climate Change.


Implement ranked-choice voting. In ranked-choice voting, citizens rank all possible candidates rather than voting for a single candidate or party, as takes place in majority voting systems. From Maine to New York to Ireland, and also in Australia, we see that ranked-choice voting promotes consensus, giving value to all votes and leveling playing fields for third-party candidates.

Run a Citizens’ Assembly. Citizens’ assemblies, where randomly selected representative samples of voters are given power in decision-making, have been used in Canada, the UK, and France. In the German-speaking region of Belgium, there is a permanent council of twenty-four citizens serving in parliament. The UK’s national citizen assembly on climate change has shown that voters are willing to support more ambitious climate policies than their government. In Japan, the Future Design Movement has been asking residents to imagine themselves as future residents to effectively represent the interests of unborn generations.

Create a Civic Imagination Office. Follow in the footsteps of the city of Bologna (Italy), which created a Civic Imagination Office to facilitate listening, collaboration, participation, and coproduction of projects and policies in the city and its neighborhoods.

Advocate for environmental representatives in the legislature. The island of Yap in Micronesia, for example, has an Environmental Stewardship Consortium that is mandated with stewarding the environment. The Welsh government has a “minister for future generations” whose sole mandate is to represent the interests of unborn generations.

Adopt political quotas for diverse representation. Several countries have introduced quotas (primarily gender quotas) in public elections. These can include reserved seats in the constitutional or legislative arms or even quotas within political parties. The idea behind the various mechanisms is to ensure that minorities constitute at least a critical minority (30–40 percent) of the body. In India, a constitutional amendment in 1993 mandated village councils to ensure that one-third of all seats are reserved for women.

Implement compulsory voting. A mechanism used to maximize voter turnout, mandatory voting laws have existed in several countries as early as the 1900s.

Establish campaign spending and time limits. Evidence suggests that increased campaign spending reduces the pool of candidates and makes elections less competitive. Countries like Japan have a limit on campaign spending, and several countries have specified campaign durations with a similar intention of leveling the playing field for candidates.

Use participatory budgeting. In contrast to budgets set by governments and bureaucrats, participatory budgeting (PB) gives citizens the power to decide how public money is spent and often a role in the monitoring of allocated budgets. The first process began in Porto Alegre, Brazil, in 1989 and was successful in serving the poorest parts of the city with improved infrastructure and increased citizen participation. For more information on how to steer a PB process, you can visit this website.

Bad Actors

Research from the UK think tank Influence Map identifies 50 companies that are most influential in shaping climate and energy policy across the world, of which 35 actively lobby against climate policy. These include companies across industries such as Oil and Gas, Heavy Energy, and Electric Utilities with large amounts of coal generation capacity.

  • Southern Company lobbies against climate policies such as electrification, although its top-line messaging has shifted positively since 2019. Thomas A. Fanning is the CEO. His LinkedIn profile is here.
  • ExxonMobil strongly supports the long-term use of oil and gas in the energy mix and retains memberships to industry associations that actively oppose climate policy globally. Darren Woods is the CEO, and his email is darren.w.woods@exxonmobil.com.
  • Chevron opposes climate regulation, particularly renewable fuel standards, and actively pushes for policies that promote oil and gas production. It also retains memberships to industry associations engaged in obstructive climate lobbying. Michael Wirth is the CEO. His email is michael@chevron.com.
  • Valero Energy has made limited statements about positive climate positions but has repeatedly lobbied against policies that reduce emissions, such as the Renewable Fuel Standard. Joseph W. Gorder is the CEO. His email is joe.gorder@valero.com.
  • BASF advocates for market-based solutions to climate change and supports carbon-neutral growth until 2030. Several executives hold leadership positions in trade associations that do not support climate change policies. Martin Brudermüller is the CEO, and his LinkedIn profile is here.
  • ArcelorMittal has mixed climate change lobbying positions especially in the European Union. Although they are supportive of long-term emissions reductions, they have consistently lobbied against reforms to the EU Emissions Trading System. Lakshmi Mittal is the CEO. His email is lakshmi.mittal@arcelormittal.com.
  • RioTinto has positive external communication on climate change; however, it has negatively lobbied against a range of climate policies, specifically around emissions regulations. Jakob Stausholm is the CEO. His email is jakob.stausholm@riotinto.com.
  • BP appears to have gone through a shift in climate communications since 2015. However, they have spent millions in lobbying since 2016 on the rollback of methane emissions requirements and carbon pricing regulations. Bernard Looney is the CEO. His email is bernard.looney@bp.com. His LinkedIn is here.




To See Each Other: podcast series revealing how folks from small towns in America are working together to fight for clean water, racial justice, immigrant rights, and climate change.

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