28 October 2012

Quite Civil and Pretty Undisobedient

Well, despite all my trepidation, our non-violent civil disobedience last Monday (October 22, 2012) at the British Columbia Legislative Buildings was, well, just a very nice day of protest against tar sands and pipelines and oil tankers along our coast.

When we last spoke, I had just decided to get off my duff and go to the direct action training. On the way, I saw not one but two hawks, the first on a light post, and the second right at eye level sitting on a fence looking at me, beautiful yellow breast feathers in full view.
Hawk medicine is a totem that is filled with responsibility, because Hawk people see the overall view.... Hawk may be teaching you to grab an opportunity that is coming your way.... Hawk has a keen eye and a bold heart... and encourages you to follow the dictates of the heart. 
— Jamie Sams and David CarsonMedicine Cards
Well, there was no turning back now! Hawk had spoken, had approved my journey into the Elder phase of my life, that point where I have nothing to lose by taking my place "on the line" and risking arrest. (As Bill McKibben pointed out in a presentation the other night, it doesn't make sense for young people to be the "cannon fodder" in civil disobedience as they have their lives ahead of them. But as a middle ager, my financial security and career path are pretty much safe. Ahem.)

The almost nine hours of training went by quickly, with not a single boring moment! Apparently Hawk had spoken to a lot of people as there were several hundred of us ... many with hair whiter than mine.

The rally on Monday saw 4,000 to 5,000 people come out, with wonderful signs and lots of energy, to listen to a multitude of speakers. Our act of civil disobedience was to stake our banner (the length of a super oil tanker) into the grounds of the legislature, something that is illegal. And although the black banner was very visually arresting, the police decided it wasn't worth the effort to arrest anyone. It turned out to be a lovefest for our coastline, despite the controversy over the word "our" (in terms of ownership), and despite the chilly, rainy weather.

Anyway, although it was a pretty wussy day disobedience-wise, it accomplished the goal of recruiting a bunch of us who will now step up to it (and step it up) the next time.

That's me, to the left of my friend, Chad, who's in the bright "Protect Our Coast" t-shirt 

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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?