Imagining our future is one of the most powerful action tools we have as humans.
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
When you think about climate change, what do you imagine? Climate doom? The apocalypse? Scary information?
According to Katie Patrick, this kind of messaging fail at driving people to take action, which is what Soapbox is all about. She says, "imagining a new and desirable world matters. It matters because vision is a goal that people can work towards. It gives people hope, optimism, and agency... The imagination is a human being's greatest super power." Katie also adds that "research shows that creative imagination exercise lead to pro-environmental behavior and political action", which is why we're focusing this Action Pack on climate imagination.
Here’s what we’ll cover step-by-step:
This is our opportunity to dream big. We’re currently living in the dreams of other people (oil barons, fossil fuel execs, politicians), so why not erase those and make our own?
For this Action Pack content, we’re going to be collaborating with Frame! What if you got your news in a way that was interactive, informative, and fun to read? (#dreambig) That’s what Frame is doing — they even text you their stories so you can read them on your phone.
🎯 Action step 1 of 4: READ — Let's start by looking at a few articles together.
Question. What if, just like nutrition labels, we had carbon labels to teach us what really goes into a product?
To explore the powers of innovation and imagination, we'll look at two articles. The first, as promised is Frame’s interactive journalism on Carbon Labels. We dropped some key takeaways below, but highly recommend checking out the whole piece! Carbon labels break down how much carbon was emitted in creating a product, and from what stages in a product’s lifestyle. They help us be more conscious consumers AND put pressure on companies to do better.
The second article — which we won’t be summarizing — answers “What is Sociological Imagination?” If you’re wondering why we're hyped about this imagination topic, or you’re interested in new frameworks and schools of thought, this second piece is for you.
So, why should we put a label on our relationship with carbon?
Catch the interactive Carbon Labels piece here and don’t forget to drop your # to get these delivered straight to your phone.
🏁 Checkpoint: This is the end of action step 1 of 4: READ.
🎯 Action step 2 of 4: LISTEN — we'll watch a short video or listen to a podcast to further expand on our topic.
Soapbox Project's two core values are courage and joy. It's time to talk about joy.
Continuing this theme of imagining the future we want, let's talk about about SOLARPUNK! Check out this video by Saint Andrewism, an Afro-Trinidadian creative who makes lots of videos on this topic.
You'll learn that:
Let us know if we should be solar punks together. We've never been converted to anything so quickly.
🏁 Checkpoint: This is the end of action step 2 of 4: LISTEN.
🎯 Action step 3 of 4: ACT — Now it's time to do something. Let's go!
I’m convinced that the only way we can get out of this crisis is through a collective reframing. Climate change is not just a crisis. It’s a chance to dream big. We were born into a planet of other people’s dreams. We can’t control that. But we can control our own imaginations for the future. And that is SO EXCITING!
Here's a quick and snappy list of ways to practice your climate imagination!
1. Start a dream journal practice.
We don’t mean the dream journal where you write down your night time dreams. Instead, dream of the world you want to see! Sample prompts for a daily 5-min journal session: what does your hometown look like in 2200? what world do you want for your great great grandkids? if humans were immortal, what would change about the world? We also love the Climate Journal Project, so check them out if self-guided journaling isn’t your thing. They have free weekly climate journal circles!
2. Sign up for Frame’s texts.
We firmly believe we’re all reflections of the media we consume. That’s why we wanted to collab with Frame— they’re truly reimagining what journalism could be. They’ve made mobile-friendly documentaries shining light on the US Army’s role in the climate crisis to carbon labels, which we shared in the first Changeletter of the month. Sign up here to get notified when a new story drops — all you have to do is enter your cell #.
3. Ask someone else about the world they want to live in.
Our founder, Nivi, used to nanny two kids and she gave them a version of this question by asking them about their dream house. One of them talked about how there would be no chores; people would take care of their home and gardens and animals because they WANT to. It’s a wonderful exercise! We even got featured in Grist for this. Bonus points: try it on your boss. Making change at work can feel scary, but this is a fun way to truly uncover someone’s values and vision for change.
4. Submit a short story for Grist’s cli-fi contest*
*This is an annual contest* Climate fiction, or cli-fi, is starting to blow up. Grist is hosting their second annual contest, Imagine 2200: Climate Fiction for Future Ancestors. Stories can be 3k-5k words and you can win up to 3,000 bucks. Enter here — no cost to submit.
5. Read/listen to Braiding Sweetgrass.
We recommend Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Potawatomi professor Robin Wall Kimmerer. She narrates the audiobook herself, and it opened our eyes to imaginations of the past (aka history). It is INCREDIBLE to think that a world we dream of has already existed and that we can make it exist again — where strawberries belong to no one and the currency of life is measured in gifts and reciprocity.
We can't wait to see what you dream up!
🏁 Checkpoint: This is the end of action step 3 of 4: ACT.
Before we go any further, it's time for you to pledge your commitment. It takes less than 30 seconds to pledge and we can bother you about it in a friendly way, so we can hold each other accountable. Pledge here!
🎯 Action step 4 of 4: REFLECT — what can you commit to? What fresh perspectives can we look at?
A fun twist! This section of our Action Pack is a 3-step concept scavenger hunt:
It's time to think about thinking. Let’s wrap up with some reflection on why we should incorporate journaling into our activism 🤔
You can learn more about divergent thinking here. It can increase your creativity and problem solving skills. Guess what skills we need to heal our planet? 😜
Journal science, science journals
This article references a science journal studying journal science. We love it. Seriously though, a journaling practice is linked to reduced blood pressure, improved lung function, and even quicker re-employment after job loss!
Deepest darkest secrets
Write, write, write what your heart desires. Write down a list of good things that happen in your life or write about what inspires you! Trust us, it's therapeutic and freeing. You can even use divergent thinking here! 💝 Also, you’ll get a list of 90 journal prompts when you submit the Action form to commit to this process, which will last you three months!
Just know that imagining our future is one of the most powerful action tools we have as humans.
🏁 Checkpoint: This is the end of action step 4 of 4: REFLECT.
Check out our membership community for more resources like free weekly events with social justice experts, sustainable product discounts, pre-written email templates, a social impact job board, and in-person hangouts with new friends. Thanks for taking action with Soapbox Project!
Get our free bite-sized climate action plans before you go!