Patag­o­nia Tools for Grass­roots Ac­tivists

Best Prac­tices for Suc­cess in the En­vi­ron­men­tal Move­ment

Foreword Reviews - - Spotlight Reviews Climate Change -

Nora Gal­lagher, Lisa Mey­ers, editors, Patag­o­nia Soft­cover $24.95 (288pp), 978-1-938340-44-4

This con­cen­tra­tion of ex­cel­lent ad­vice is worth sev­eral close reads, not only by en­vi­ron­men­tal ac­tivists, but by any non­profit grass­roots move­ment.

Fea­tur­ing names as big as 350.org and Jane Goodall, this col­lec­tion of en­vi­ron­men­tal and grass­roots wis­dom is dis­tilled from the Patag­o­nia cloth­ing com­pany’s bi­en­nial Tools Con­fer­ence. Topics are both prac­ti­cal and ground-level, in­clud­ing strate­gic planning, lob­by­ing, and the his­tor­i­cal suc­cesses of com­mu­nity ac­tivist move­ments. Es­says by ex­perts in the field dom­i­nate the book, in­ter­spersed with large pho­to­graphs and case stud­ies of suc­cess­ful en­vi­ron­men­tal move­ments.

Ac­tivists will find Patag­o­nia Tools a use­ful re­source, considering not only its sound, ef­fi­ciently de­liv­ered ad­vice, but also the resources listed at the end of each chap­ter, the ef­fec­tive in­dex, and the or­derly chap­ter or­ga­ni­za­tion. It func­tions most ef­fec­tively as a source­book, next as a ref­er­ence, and read­ers will no doubt want to take notes as they pe­ruse. The book is gen­er­ally optimistic about the abil­ity of ac­tivists to make a change, but it re­mains prac­ti­cal through­out. Its ideal read­ers are al­ready aware of the prob­lems they want to solve and pas­sion­ate about their cause, but un­tu­tored in the re­al­i­ties of so­cial change. The balance of se­ri­ous, some­what dense di­dac­tic es­says with vivid pho­to­graphs and glow­ing ex­am­ples of tri­umphs, like the Sierra Club’s “Be­yond Coal” cam­paign, will help to main­tain the spir­its of ac­tivists who find them­selves dis­ap­pointed that chang­ing the world can be such a slog.

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