a rough guide to door-knocking for climate action
So in talking to people, these ideas were connected as: “In this election year we are talking to people aboutthe need to replace Hazelwood Power station, Australia’s dirtiest power station, with clean energy. This is moreimportant than ever because Kevin Rudd has backipped on strong action on climate.” So just by knocking onpeople’s door and saying those key phrases and leaving a leaet, the main job is already done.Understanding this should give people condence that anyone can doorknock, because the main job is not to
convince people of a complicated proposition, but to get the meme in their heads. Even if they disagree and leavethe door and go back to the kitchen and say “some idiot about that power-station Hazlewood”, the door-knockinghas been successful because the idea is circulating.
So you don’t need to know everything about climate change or the specic issue or be an eloquent and convincingperson to be an effective door-knocker, you just need to give it a go and you will have been sucessful..
so what’s the topic?
The purpose of door-knocking is NOT to give people a big, long download on an issue. Most won’t listen for thatlong, and won’t remember most of what you said. Generally they will leave the conversation with two or threephrases in their head.In the Replace Hazelwood campaign they were “dirty coal ... Hazelwood ... replace ... clean energy... government
must act.. not backip”.This can be backed-up by a yer with some more information, an action people can take (make a phone call to apolitician, join a facebook group, visit a website etc), details about the local climate action group and/or information
about a forthcoming local climate event or forum. A petition (Appendix 1) is useful because it is simple action that residents can take on the spot (and some will sign
thinking its the quickest way to nish the conversation), and it also provides an effective way for people to opt in
and supply email or other contact details to build the local climate group’s communications circle.
For door-knocking to be effective, it is important to highlight a specic action that people can understand and thinkis (probably) feasible. So it is better, for example, to talk about replacing Hazelwood than just say “close down allcoal” because the latter has no specic target, and most people won’t believe that all coal can be closed down atonce. If most people feel that what you are saying is not practical/possible, and you cannot in a straight-forward
manner give them reasons to believe that it is, then the effort is wasted. Another way of thinking about are the so called
objectives used in strategic campaign planning andproject management - SMART stands for Specc, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound.Similarly whilst a door-knocking campaign might wish to highlight the need, for example, for 100% renewableenergy, it will get a better grip both on residents and on the local politicians if the specic message is about aparticular policy action. The meme is less about an idea (information) than an outcome (action) for which sufcient
community concern can be expressed or mobilised for the local political representatives to fear about their future if they ignore it.This is why we have also talked about Hazelwood being a “key election test”.It is also hard to talk about actions which are complicated in operation or terminology. That was one part of the
problem with the CPRS.
Establishing what is relevant to a local area depends on local knowledge and talking to local community activistsand leaders, but can also be informed by:
• recent polling
• focus-group research, particularly on what language and images are most effective
• research about communications and framing of ideas around climate.