Community Self-Defense and the Environment

April post in honor of Earth Day.

Concerned about the local impacts of climate change? Our Community Self-Defense working group thinks a lot about this. Extreme weather is just one of the things we aim to prepare ourselves and our communities for.

We did two presentations in March to educate communities about community organizing, self defense and preparation, and climate change. We shared many examples of how mutual aid groups helped communities during climate change-related disasters that occurred across the United States and around the world. Many times, mutual aid was the only help that people received. It has been shown time and time again that we must learn to rely on each other because we cannot rely on the systems we’ve been taught would save us. We look forward to doing more presentations in your community!

Mutual aid can help in several ways. Here are a few examples:

Emergency Response. Mutual aid networks can provide immediate assistance in the aftermath of climate-related disasters such as hurricanes, wildfires, and floods. By coordinating resources and volunteers, mutual aid networks can quickly mobilize to provide food, shelter, medical care, and other essential services to those affected. Ham radio has been the only method of communication for many communities after storms and we’re busy studying and preparing a network to better be able to communicate with you, and for you, the next time cell phone service is down.

Sustainable Living. Mutual aid networks support the development of sustainable living practices, such as community gardens, composting programs, and systems of sharing. These initiatives can help reduce carbon emissions, increase resilience to climate impacts, and promote self-sufficiency.

Climate Justice. Mutual aid networks support communities that are disproportionately impacted by climate change, such as low-income communities and communities of color. By providing resources and support to these communities, mutual aid networks can help address the systemic inequalities that make them more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

Education and Advocacy. Mutual aid networks educate and advocate for practices that mitigate the impacts of climate change. This can include supporting the development of renewable energy infrastructure while recognizing the need for reduction versus recycling, promoting public transportation and ride shares, and advocating for climate justice policies that prioritize the needs of marginalized communities. Our own priority for this is for local neighborhood planning and trainings, and we’re looking for people all across Morris County to join in.

Overall, mutual aid can play an important role in building resilience and promoting sustainability in the face of climate change. By fostering community-based solutions and promoting climate justice, mutual aid networks can help build a more equitable and sustainable future. Join us as we fight the effects of climate change together.

We also invite you to consider joining our working group and being part of the preparation and planning before the next crisis, to help strengthen our response. Email us at for more.