Haven’t got your Christmas presents sorted yet? Why not take part in the Bright Green Christmas appeal, and sponsor a student activist this Christmas?

With the current spate of activism, it’s interesting to look at how people learn to campaign. Because the skills required by activists are learnt just like any others. And across the UK, one of the main organisations training and inspiring new activists is People & Planet – Britain’s biggest network of students taking action for global justice. People & Planet has groups at about 50 Universities across the UK, who are trained and inspired to run campaigns on their campuses and nationally, and runs an education program that reaches thousands of teenagers every year.

Fed up with sponsoring goats? This year, sponsor a student activist, and they'll change the world for good.

And it works. For example, when Fruit of the Loom sacked thousands of Latin American workers for unionising and demanding a living wage last year, People & Planet students linked up with students in the States, and forced Fruit of the Loom to re-hire these women, pay them a living wage, give them the rights they had demanded, and full compensation for their time off. At the same time People & Planet students were taking the Treasury to court over the RBS bail-out, getting their uni’s to cut thousands of tonnes of carbon emissions and educating a whole new generation in the basic skills needed to change the world.

And those skills come in handy. If you look at many of the people populating the most exciting progressive campaigns in the country, you will see People & Planet graduates (and undergraduates!) – from UK Uncut-ers accross the country to the Friends of the Earth offices; from the Camp for Climate Action to the ActionAid HQ; from Political Scrapbook and the New Internationalist to student occupiers. Skilled activists don’t just appear. They learn. They gain skills. They get better. And, so often, the generation of activists running the most exciting campaigns today has been trained by People & Planet. Campaigning to change the systems which cause oppression is a very efficient use of money. But it does cost – expert staff to train and support activist groups, events, campaign materials for groups.

As the famous saying goes, “give a man a fish, and he’ll feed his family for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll feed his family for a lifetime.” I would add: help a whole generation gain the skills they need to mobilise their friends, neighbours and families, and we can change the world for good.

To help ensure the energy generated by a newly politicised generation is converted into lasting change, you can sponsor a student activist this Christmas.

Adam Ramsay

About Adam Ramsay

Adam is Co-Editor of Open Democracy UK and a green activist based in Edinburgh. He co-founded Bright Green in 2010.