Change Happens Offline
by Slow Factory
Editor’s note: *We want to acknowledge the feedback received from members of the disabled community, who are doing meaningful and transformative work online, organizing and building virtual communities and pushing for change.
As a friend of ours shared, for a lot of disabled and immunocompromised people and others who are not safe in public spaces, online communities are the best way to contribute to social justice. Our goal is to address able bodied folks who are active on Instagram but not doing the work of organizing and building offline. More specifically, our goal is to address our own work and behavior, which we are increasingly building and encouraging folks to create action in the offline sphere. But as able bodied people we missed this glaring misstep in our language and approach to taking our work offline next week. We are in conversation with each other at this moment to ensure that our future posts and work are always inclusive of everyone that we are grateful to collaborate with. *
Social media has the potential to change the world by shifting perception, a superpower that Slow Factory is grateful for and often harnesses. Though infographics can spark the kindling, its rich dialogue that fan the flames of true revolution. The conversations that inspire change, that foster empathy, and that allow for questions without judgment happen person to person.
But despite how much we can do online— the real changes don’t happen there. Social media is fantastic for seed-planting, but the watering? The cultivation? The harvest? That all happens offline.
It can feel like social media reigns supreme when it comes to organizing for change, but action— tangible action that impacts people’s lives—happens when the apps are closed. As the decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade leaves us heartbroken and enraged, we, and many others, have used social media to circulate information, but the harm— and the help— is happening away from our screens. No more doom-scrolling— it’s time to advocate in and for your community. We know boycotting is useful! So is donating to nonprofits like Slow Factory and others who are doing important work. Decisions are being made in courtrooms, in meetings, in communities. That’s what we need to prepare for.
We’re deeply inspired by the words of Octavia Butler which call for partnership as an active, consistent and reciprocal relationship that nourishes exponentially while offering minimal harm. In the spirit of her wisdom, **Slow Factory is proud to be in partnership with the Oahu Water Protectors for our first deep ecology retreat this August. **
This retreat to O’ahu prioritizes citizen journalism and coverage of the water crisis, a knowledge exchange between two groups who share common goals and values, and integration with - and amplification of - the work that communities on the frontline are leading.
There is always time to critique, inform, and spread awareness but there is also a time to create the solutions we are always advocating for. We want to minimize content pollution as much as possible, so we’re taking a brief break from social media to prioritize doing the work that will usher in our collective liberation.
Climate and culture have always been inextricably linked; climate justice and human rights move in tandem with one another. Our bodies are the land.
What can each of us start doing right now, exactly where we are?
What skills can you apply to your values and passions?
What does your local community need?
It’s our responsibility to carry one another. We’ll be back soon with updates, solutions, and inspiration.
The Slow Factory team is a cross-disciplinary group of researchers, academics, artists, and scientists working at the intersection of climate justice and social justice. We work to provide anti-colonial climate education that has a direct impact on building a more just and sustainable world. With an emphasis on systems that have been intentionally created to produce waste, pollution, and injustice we aim to dismantle and design these systems to instead produce justice, equity, and a healthier planet.