02 July 2009

157 Days - Random Thoughts on What Activists Should Be Doing

••• I watched (or rather, was subjected to) a series of short internet advertisements for an oil company last night. At the end of each ad, the screen showed a person saying, "I will do such and such an environmentally friendly thing more often. Will you?"

And I found myself thinking, hmmm, I sure would feel better if that person were saying "I already do such and such environmentally friendly thing. How about you?"

Perhaps we activists should bring back that old notion of bearing witness to one's convictions ... sharing with the world what we're already doing and why. The more we talk about our lower carbon compassionate ways of being in the world, the more we normalize these changes.

••• I received an email today (thirdhand, I think) from a neighbouring community, announcing an upcoming meeting "for people interested in making sure [their community] does its part to reduce the danger of runaway climate change and eco-disaster, and to prepare for a 'post carbon' world."

The message outlined suggestions for actions they could take. When I read this one, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry: "At the Apple Festival, make a giant '350' out of apples."

Have I turned into a cynical crank, or is that a crazy way to waste a lot of apples? The whole 350 campaign means well, but 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the air is not the right target. Our only viable (from the French and Latin for "life") target is zero: zero greenhouse gas emissions as quickly as possible. I worry that 350 is a boondoggle, keeping (as a dear friend would say) "the greenies busy in the bushes" - or in the orchards, in this case.

Eat your apples, folks. Bake pies with them. Don't waste them on trivial or misguided stunts.

••• I found a fascinating quote this morning from Karl-Henrik Robert, founder of The Natural Step.

"Every value, no matter what it is, will go down the gutter unless we can organize this system of ours to become sustainable. So this is about competence, not values."

Methinks the good doctor has a good handle on the situation! For more information on the competencies taught through The Natural Step, check out this website.

••• And finally ... that netherword "hope" came at me twice today, so I decided to look it up in my dictionary. As I had been thinking, there is no sense of action in the word at all: "to cherish a desire with expectation of fulfillment; to long for with expectation of obtainment." There is no hope that "hope" is going to save the day when it comes to climate change.

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I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?