Scientific research on the mechanisms to address global warming and its consequences continues to proliferate in the context of an accelerating climate emergency. The concept of climate action includes multiple meanings, and several types of actors employ its use to manage the crisis. The term has evolved to incorporate many of the suggested strategies to combat global warming offered by international bodies, states, nongovernmental organizations, the private sector, and social movements. The present work offers a classification scheme to build a shared understanding of climate action through a lens of environmental justice and just transitions developed by sociologists and others. The classification system includes major institutional and noninstitutional forms of climate action. By identifying the primary forms of climate action, analysts, scholars, policymakers, and activists can better determine levels of success and how different forms of climate action may or may not complement one another in the search for equitable solutions in turning back the rapid heating of the planet.
Publications by Type: Journal Article
To make greater strides in reducing city-level greenhouse gas emissions, more collaboration between civil society and local governments is necessary. Participation in local meetings about climate change sets the stage for enduring community involvement in resiliency and mitigation planning. This study examines the correlates of individual interest in attending local climate meetings. The work is based on a random sample of 1,950 registered voters in Fresno, California (the fifth largest city in the state). The findings suggest that those individuals with ties to capacity-building organizations in the labor and community sectors were the most willing to attend local meetings about climate change. The types of civic engagement activities encouraged by labor unions and community-based organizations (CBOs) were also associated with a greater willingness to participate in gatherings about global warming. Increasing public participation in local climate programs may be enhanced by investing in the types of civic organizations that specialize in mobilizing residents to engage in municipal activities.
One starting point for building a movement capable of unleashing multiple rounds of collective action is an incubator campaign—a period of widespread unrest around a particular issue that may last several months or longer. The mobilizing success of the incubator campaign provides the resource infrastructure for subsequent episodes of related movement activity in similar geographical locations, even years into the future. We test these assertions by examining immigrant rights campaign activity in over 260 cities in California between 2006 and 2019. The incubator campaign was positively associated with producing local-level collective action in a wide range of like-minded campaigns sustaining a larger immigrant rights movement in the state. The findings also suggest that an incubator campaign’s influence may eventually decay over time. Still, newly infused protest campaigns can reactivate immigrant activist momentum to counter ongoing hostile political environments faced by excluded populations.
Repressive and economic threats drive much of the popular mobilization in Central America, but those conditions need to be articulated to publics in a manner that emphasizes the need for collective action to ameliorate worsening harms. Examination of protest songs in both periods of heightened state repression (1970–1990) and heightened economic threats (1990–present) in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua demonstrates that musicians and cultural producers actively construct lyrics and musical styles that resonate with subaltern populations and encourage social movement participation in the face of state repression and neoliberal policy implementation.
Las amenazas represivas y económicas han inducido buena parte la movilización popular en Centroamérica, pero estas condiciones deben articularse ante los públicos de manera que enfaticen la necesidad de acción colectiva como respuesta a problemas cada vez más graves. Un análisis de las canciones de protesta pertenecientes a los períodos de mayor represión estatal (1970-1990), así como a aquellos con mayores amenazas económicas (1990 al presente) en Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras y Nicaragua demuestra que tanto músicos como productores culturales construyen activamente letras y estilos musicales que encuentren resonancia entre las poblaciones subalternas. Así fomentan la participación dentro de los movimientos sociales, aun frente a la represión estatal y la implementación de políticas neoliberales.
The paper examines the individual-level building blocks of getting out the vote (GOTV) for electoral parties that represent subaltern sectors in resource scarce environments. Drawing on theories of protest waves, social movement fields, and threat-induced collective action, we examine the likelihood of campaigning in left party electoral mobilization and party identification. The study implements a modified version of the Caught in the Act of Protest: Contextualizing Contestation (CCC) survey protocol and respondent selection design. We use a sympathy pool sample of over 1,200 May Day participants in Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Honduras to explain the micro-foundations of electoral proselytizing of political parties advocating for disadvantaged populations. We found that involvement in left party electoral campaigning was largely driven by resources deposited during anti-neoliberal protest waves, including prior movement-type protest, civic organizational activity, and economic threat perceptions. Campaigning for the anti-neoliberal party was also associated with a higher level of post-election party identification. The findings suggest that left parties may at times partially overcome economic and political resource deficits by mobilizing individuals deeply embedded in the social movement field.