Hillary Rettig: An effective advocate
Many of us want to create change in the world, but face tremendous obstacles in getting our message out. The powers that be have vastly more resources at their disposal than activists do. But some of our authors have discovered how to shift the balance of power.
In Strategic Action for Animals
, Melanie Joy explains how to use strategy to exponentially increase the effectiveness of activism for animals. Drawing on diverse movements and sources, she offers tried and true tactics and explains how to address the most common problems that weaken activists' efforts. Matt Ball and Bruce Friedrich's The Animal Activist's Handbook
builds a ground-up case for reasoned, impassioned, and joyous activism that makes the most difference possible. They also suggest a variety of ways to live a meaningful life through effective and efﬁcient advocacy.
An activist needs to be savvy about a number of things: one of which is why some folks are resistant to some messages and not others. Nick Cooney, author of Change of Heart
, has explored in great depth how message communicators (from social activists to advertisers) have found ways to penetrate people's consciousness and make them open to changing long-held habits or beliefs. Change of Heart
is essential reading for anyone who wants to bring about social change.
Without question, one key strategic element of activism is maximally effective presentation—whether your audience is a single individual, a small group, a large audience, or the world media. In Move the Message
, communications consultant and activist Josephine Bellaccomo delivers a step-by-step process, complete with tactics, strategies, examples, and exercises, to ensure that your message is focused, powerful, and reaches the power holders for winning results. The book not only makes a wonderful guide for those who wish to be an activist, it is an astonishing repository of tips on successful communication, and, as such, should be read by all those who want to become more effective in the world.
It's important as activists that we also take care of ourselves. Too often, however, we think that bringing about social change involves personal deprivation, poverty, rootlessness, and misery. We don't deserve to lead rich and fulfilling lives, we tell ourselves, while others are suffering. The tragedy is, however, that denying ourselves our needs makes us less and not more effective, and may in fact make us a burden for others trying to bring about the same change.
The Lifelong Activist
teaches you how to avoid burnout by integrating activism consciously and joyfully into a well-balanced life. Its four sections ("Managing Your Mission," "Managing Your Time," "Managing Your Fears," and "Managing Your Relationships") offer easy and effective techniques to help activists both old and young, new on the scene and on the verge of burnout remain enthusiastic, passionate, and joyful.
Another book with its roots in the tradition of non-violence, is Peace to All Beings
by Judy Carman. The book explores the meaning of ahimsa
today as it applies to stopping environmental destruction and the cruelties of factory farming. Drawing upon all the world's religions and contemporary spiritual teachers, Peace
is a wonderful manual for spiritual seekers and activists looking to sustain their souls as they bring about difficult and hard-fought change.
Finally, Aftershock: Confronting Trauma in a Violent World, A Guide for Activists and Their Allies
, pattrice jones illustrates how important it is for activists who have to face violence and trauma, protect themselves and each other. She provides the psychological and practical tools necessary to make it possible to pursue a long and sustained career in activism.
For more on Hillary Rettig's work, click here