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COVID-19 Phase Planning For CCL Chapters

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How will CCL and your chapter continue our work during the different phases of the coronavirus pandemic? For each of our five Levers of Political Will, we’ve laid out some likely phases that could mean shifts to our work in that area. For each phase, we’ve tried to identify an indicator of how we might know when that phase has begun, and then we provide some broad outlines of what CCLers might be doing during that phase. 
Usage Instructions

     Our work has changed dramatically since the pandemic began, but our commitment to enacting solutions to climate change has not diminished. 

     We are currently in a very acute phase of the coronavirus pandemic, with most people in the U.S. staying primarily at home, our medical systems stretched, and our economy in trouble. But while we work through and adapt to this current phase, we can also see that things will change in the future, even if we don’t know exactly when. We can start looking ahead and planning for different phases of the pandemic response and consider how our CCL work might change during them.

     Experts are currently suggesting that after some number of months we might be able to have much more extensive testing in place and reduce the number of new COVID cases enough so that we will be able to track all cases closely. This will likely mean some loosening of restrictions while always being prepared to tighten them again if an outbreak reoccurs. Eventually, we will have widespread and effective vaccines or other treatments and things could return more and more to normal.

     When exactly we move from phase to phase may not be clear and will vary from location to location. It will also vary for different types of activities, so each lever is likely to move through phases independently.

     Your chapter could use these phases to outline specific plans for your chapter and set up activities now that will prepare you for these future phases. See our COVID forum for some specific action ideas.

Note: The five levers below are organized with some of the easier ones to engage with listed first.

 Phase Planning For CCL Chapters Phase Planning For CCL Chapters(.pdf)(updated 4/21/20) 155 KB

Group Organizing & Development

  • Current Phase
    • Indicator: Fully Virtual (i.e., meeting online)
      •  Potential CCL Activities: 
        • Focus on finding ways to stay connected. 
        • Build capacity - learning/training/skill building, developing chapter structures, building relationships, cultivating leadership among volunteers. 
        • Plan actions, events, etc. for future phases.
        • Consider which virtual systems you are developing now may be worth utilizing long-term.
  • Small meetings / social gatherings possible
    • Indicator: Health officials allow gatherings of 10-20. People feel safe getting together.
      • Potential CCL Activities: 
        • Small chapters could meet in person.
        • Teams, steering committees, etc. could meet in person. 
        • OK to meet for coffee with a new volunteer.
  • Return to in person meetings
    • Indicator: Health officials allow gatherings of up to 50. People in your chapter feel safe getting together.
      • Potential CCL Activities: 
        • Return to in person meetings. 
        • Easier to connect with each other. 
        • Easier to recruit new people into our work. 
        • Time to leverage your greater capacity from the virtual phase. 
        • Continue to incorporate virtual systems as they feel beneficial.

Media Relations

  • Current Phase
    • Indicator: Every major story is connected to COVID, economic impact, or specifically a distraction from it. 
      • Potential CCL Activities: 
        • Publish and share media content from CCL communications department that connects COVID and climate.
        • Write your own letters to the Editor/Op-Eds, while being sensitive to the context. See Guidance on Community.  
        • Engage on Social Media with local reporters, media outlets, etc.
        • Online Letters to the Editor workshops and parties.
  • Media content diversifies
    • Indicator: You start seeing op-eds on other topics. You often see “front page” stories on something besides COVID/Economy.
      • Potential CCL Activities: 
        • Sensitivity is still needed.
        • Letters to the Editor and Op-Eds can start to address climate without always being in the COVID frame.
        • Reporters may be interested in stories about how climate activists are continuing to engage.
  • Return to more normal content
    • Indicator: COVID/Economy not on front page, perhaps for multiple days in a row.
      • Potential CCL Activities: 
        • Return more to media engagement strategies used before the pandemic.

Grassroots Outreach

  • Current Phase
    • Indicator: Fully Virtual (i.e., activities only online)
      • Potential CCL Activities: 
        • Online events, presentations, webinars, etc. 
        • Online discussion groups. 
        • Engage with people on social media to recruit and educate.
        • Consider shift to paperless outreach.
        • Reach out to family and friends and discuss climate change.
        • Plan for outreach activities for future phases.
  • Limited small local events
    • Indicator: Health officials allow gatherings of up to 50. People in your chapter feel safe getting together.
      • Potential CCL Activities: 
        • Continue virtual outreach.
        • Presentations for small groups.
        • In Person Climate Advocacy Trainings.
  • Larger local gatherings
    • Indicator: Health officials allow gatherings up to 500 or more.
      • Potential CCL Activities: 
        • More presentations.
        • Possibly some tabling.
        • Other events: film screenings, panel discussions, etc.

Grasstops Engagement

  • Current Phase
    • Indicator: Influencers focused almost solely on pandemic 
      • Potential CCL Activities: 
        • Do research to identify community leaders who, (1) can significantly influence their members of Congress, and (2) you have access to through your network. 
        • Consider if the pandemic and economic effects change who might be open to supporting us and who might be influential.
        • Make plans for engaging community leaders and tentatively schedule when to take those actions.
        • Build capacity and processes.
        • Build alliances with other organizations - support their work, partner on virtual events, attend their virtual events, etc.
        • Post your existing endorsements on social media and find and follow more potential endorsers on social media
  • Some Influencers open to engaging on climate. 
    • Indicator: This is likely a process of testing the waters to see if people seem open. Will probably depend on the type of leader (e.g., elected official, NGO, large local employer, economist) and their sector (e.g., healthcare might take longer than other sectors), etc.
      • Potential CCL Activities: 
        • Continue work above.
        • Reach out to influencers with sensitivity.
  • Influencers open in general to engaging on climate
    • Indicator: Leaders (local officials, faith leaders, business leaders) are engaging more and more on other topics besides COVID/Economy. We are likely to still be in a recession, so continue being sensitive about openness. 
      • Potential CCL Activities: 
        • More careful outreach - return more to typical grasstops work.
        • Use research and plans developed above.
        • Make in person asks. Determine with community leaders an action to take that will influence their members of Congress, and then work with them to take the action. Consider including appropriate community leaders in in district lobby meetings.

Lobbying Congress

  • Current Phase: Congress focuses almost solely on COVID and its economic Impact 
    • Note: CCL does not expect to move H.R.763 as part of COVID relief or stimulus but will be monitoring the dynamics in Congress closely. 
      • Potential CCL Activities: 
        • Engage sensitively with members of Congress and staff. Build relationships and avoid pushing too hard and causing alienation. 
        • Continue as you can to show that climate is a priority in your district. 
        • Engage on Social Media
        • Research and document the local impacts of climate change in your state/district to use in future lobby meetings and develop compelling stories about those impacts (or connect with people who can tell those stories directly).
        • Research and consider how the pandemic might change political dynamics for your member of Congress around climate longer term, and begin adjusting your strategies. 
  • Congress is open to other topics 
    • Indicator: Members of Congress are discussing other bills/topics in media, social media, etc.
  • Congress re-engages on climate
    • Indicator: Climate Select Committee releases their report, the Senate Climate Solutions Caucus starts making statements, taking action, etc. or if the media starts covering a significant crisis directly tied to climate.
      • Potential CCL Activities: 
        • Fully ramp up your lobbying strategies used before the pandemic.
        • Meetings may still be virtual or may have returned to in person by this point. 
        • Work to show that climate is a high priority and demonstrate support for carbon pricing in your state/district.
For a list of suggested activities from pre-pandemic times please see our 2020 Chapter Action Guide.
Chapter Organizing
File Type
PDF (.pdf)