Form a Committee
Many hands make light work! Reach out to friends and environmental organizations in your area. If you would like help finding local people who care about climate change, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org, including your location and contact information.
Choosing a Format (Educational Forum, Rally, etc.)
An early decision to make is the format of your event: Will it be an educational event or more of a rally? Will you have political figures speaking? Will it be held indoors or out? If you are thinking of holding the event in a public library or church, you should plan for an educational event. Such an event can be quite inexpensive, whereas a rally may involve the cost of a permit or renting a hall, sound system rental, and the like.
Securing a Venue
You may have to do a little juggling to get a venue at the same time that your speakers are available. If you have a big enough pool of potential speakers, it is probably safe to arrange for the venue first, then invite speakers. The more lead time you have, the better, and the bigger your pool of potential speakers, the more flexibility you will have.
Libraries: Public libraries often make rooms available for educational events at little or no cost. Many libraries have sound systems, projectors, and computer hookups so that your speakers can show slides or play video.
Churches: Many churches recognize our duty to serve as stewards of the Earth and are looking for ways to support action on climate change. Be aware, however, that their non-profit tax status prevents them from doing certain kinds of political work. While elected officials may speak at church functions, and churches make take action to educate candidates for office, they can lose their tax exempt status for supporting candidates for office, either directly or indirectly. [For more information, search on I.R.C. § 1.501(c)(3)-1(c)(3)(iii)].
Arranging for Speakers
The Earth Day: Climate Action initiative is developing a Speakers Bureau of people available to speak on the issue. Please check back at the Resources section of this website for more information.
Who to Invite
Scientists: Climate researchers are generally quite anxious to reach out to the public, perhaps especially to skeptics. Contact a local university, college, or community college to get recommendations. If someone you invite is not available, ask them for further recommendations.
Climate Reality Presenters: The Climate Reality Project, founded by Al Gore, trains people to give presentations on climate change. You can request a speaker at a particular time and place at http://presenters.climaterealityproject.org/presentation_request.
Educated Laymen Using Prepared Materials: There is a wealth of material available for explaining the mechanism, effects, dangers, and costs of climate change. The Earth Day: Climate Action initiative, for example, will soon have PowerPoint slides available that can be used to give a one hour overview of the subject.
No matter who your speakers are, be sure to encourage them to familiarize themselves with the most common skeptic arguments. Two good sources for this are:
Publicity and Handouts
Event Calendars: Most newspapers have online event calendars that you can submit notices to. Print calendars usually require longer lead times, so plan ahead.
For more ideas on publicity, see the Guide to Media Outreach.