07 October 2009

Two Months to Copenhagen - The Compassion of Non-Violent Civil Disobedience

Yesterday, I wrote that I wouldn't know how to get arrested even if I wanted to. Tonight, I've been invited to get arrested!

Seriously, I just read about The Yes Men's Beyond Talk, which invites people who are sick of hearing about climate change to "do something" about it. And that something is
I pledge to engage in non-violent civil disobedience and risk arrest in order to get our leaders to make the right climate-change choices.
I get to send in my email address, then await further instructions. (Something is brewing for November 30, one week before the Copenhagen climate talks begin.)

So now, I start to get weak in the knees. Do I really want to risk getting arrested? Phew, what a relief, there's another choice:
I cannot risk arrest, but I will join others in acts of legal protest in order to get our leaders to make the right climate-change choices. I also pledge to demonstrate my support for those who risk arrest to halt climate change.
Again, all I have to do is send in my email address and await further instructions. (Starting to feel like I'm in a spy movie here.)

So, what's my decision? (A third choice is much less dramatic: donating money to the cause, to pay bail for someone who does get arrested.) Well, I refuse to burn fossil fuels and emit greenhouse gas emissions just to travel somewhere else to get arrested. But I'm not sure the one police officer on duty in my small community would hear about my civil disobedience in time, much less care about it.

I could just pledge my name but then not risk arrest, a strategy that would lack integrity.

So, I'm going to sleep on it. Meantime, watch to see what the Yes Men have up their sleeves.

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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?