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Climate Action vs. Climate Justice: the Need for Clear Demands at the Peoples’ Climate March in New York City

In New York City on September 21st, a major climate march is planned. It will take place two days before UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s UN Climate Summit–a one-day closed door session where the world’s “leaders” will discuss “ambitions” for the upcoming climate conference (COP20) in Lima Peru. and Avaaz originally called for the march, but environmental and climate justice organizations and alliances based in the New York/New Jersey region and across the US demanded (and won) a seat at the organizing table to attempt to ensure that the voices of front line and impacted communities are heard.

So, what are the demands of the march? There are none. That’s right. The march will simply bring together an estimated 200,000 people to march through the streets of New York and then…

There will be no rally, no speakers, and no strong political demands. Just people showing up with the overarching message that the world’s leaders should take action on climate change. Why no solid demands? I’ve been informed by organizers that the reason this march is being held with no actual demands is because we need a big tent.

A big tent, as in, the circus is coming to town… But this tent is so big that it even includes organizations that support fracking and the tar sands gigaproject. Yup, they’re in the tent, too. Call me crazy, but I think that tent is too damn big.

According to some of the organizers, as long as everyone agrees that climate action is needed, then it’s all good. But are all climate actions created equal? No.

In fact, there is another entity called The Climate Group that is planning a whole week of activities around the Ban Ki-moon summit to call for “climate action.” Who is this Climate Group? They are a self-described “campaign” whose goal is a “low carbon economy.” Okay, so? Well, their idea of action on climate change includes many “solutions” debunked as false by the global climate justice movement, including carbon capture and storage, and other technologies that allow business as usual to bounce happily along while the planet slowly burns. This is not surprising since The Climate Group’s corporate partners include Duke Energy, HSBC, Goldman Sachs, Greenstone, Nike and many others.

The existence of this Climate Group is why clear justice-based and transformational demands are critical. After all, this corporate Climate Group has, on its website, a call for people to join the People’s Climate March, using the very language from the march’s own website:

In September, world leaders are coming to New York City for a historic UN summit on climate change. With our future on the line and the whole world watching, let’s take a weekend and use it to bend the course of history. Let’s make the People's Climate March the largest-ever demonstration demanding action on climate change.

Together, we’ll take to the streets to demand the world we know is within our reach: a world with an economy that works for people and the planet. A world safe from the ravages of climate change. A world with good jobs, clean air, and healthy communities for everyone. This is the moment to bring our different movements together, articulate our common challenges and solutions, and go big.

Somehow I really don’t think Goldman Sachs has real solutions to climate change in mind. Climate justice activists, organizations, social movements, and Indigenous Peoples all over the world for decades have debated what kind of action should be taken to successfully and justly address climate change because “climate action” can mean so many different things. It can include for example, geoengineering—manmade manipulations of nature on such a massive scale that the impacts can’t possibly be known, but could definitely be catastrophic. It can also include actions already taking place, such as the building of vast hydroelectric dams that flood vast expanses of land and displace thousands of Indigenous Peoples or land-based communities. Climate action also includes ongoing grabbing of land for the development of vast plantations of oil palm, GMO soy or non-native trees for so-called bioenergy.

So clearly, not all “climate action” is created equal. A lack of clear justice-based and ecologically sound demands in this march will leave a vacuum. And no vacuum remains empty for long. It’s simple physics. The Climate Group has already set up shop in that space. The problem is not just these really creepy bedfellows: The media will not cover a march with no demands. They will find a message, and if it’s not The Climate Group’s ‘business will save the planet’ message, what will it be?

I predict the media will head to the US climate movement’s oddly charismatic de facto leader, Bill McKibben. Why is this a problem? While the man is a brilliant conservation biologist with a very full grasp of the dire nature and science of climate change, he is not an activist, and has a very limited understanding of movement strategy and history. Take for example, his June piece in Rolling Stone magazine, “A Call to Arms: An Invitation to Demand Action on Climate Change.” In the article, he explains the importance of the September 21st march in making real strides for climate action. He states,

So in this case taking to the streets is very much necessary. It's not all that's necessary – a sprawling fossil-fuel resistance works on a hundred fronts around the world, from putting up solar panels to forcing colleges to divest their oil stocks to electioneering for truly green candidates. And it's true that marching doesn't always work: At the onset of the war in Iraq, millions marched, to no immediate avail. But there are moments when it's been essential. This is how the Vietnam War was ended, and segregation too – or consider the nuclear-freeze campaign of the early 1980s, when half a million people gathered in New York's Central Park…
Right. Okay. Where to start. First of all, as has been pointed out to Mr. McKibben on countless occasions, stopping fossil fuels will not stop climate change—though I guess now, with this “big tent,” we’re not even calling for that. But anyway, if business as usual continues based, not on fossil fuels, but on bioenergy (the US military, for example, is transitioning some of their fleet to biofuels and is investigating the manufacture of “green bombs” using synthetic biology), then we still lose. As a scientist friend calculated, replacing the amount of fossil fuels we are currently using with bioenergy would require six planet’s worth of land. We truly do have to change the system. Not what is fueling it. Business as usual has to go. Unfortunately power concedes nothing without a demand. In fact, power concedes nothing without being given no other options.

Which brings me back to the Rolling Stone article. Marching. McKibben writes about the power of marching to make great change. Two of the examples he gives are ending the Vietnam War and stopping segregation.

Let’s just focus on the Vietnam War for a moment. Yes, there were marches and they were huge and they were great. There were also mass direct actions, such as May Day 1971 when affinity groups took over the bridges and traffic circles of Washington, DC with the aim of shutting down the city. My husband, Orin Langelle, who was part of an affinity group there, watched the marines land at the Washington Monument. The Weather Underground conducted over 6,000 bombings of military targets in the US. There were the Yippies, White Panthers, the SDS, and the VVAW. Moreover, the GIs in Vietnam, sick of the pointless and bloody war, started turning their weapons on their officers. The army was facing a mounting internal rebellion. And of course the Vietnamese People staged an effective and tireless resistance to the US invasion—even in the face of casualty numbers of more than 50 to one—and even in the face of their luscious homeland being turned into a toxic wasteland by Monsanto’s Agent Orange.

The sum total of these parts is what ended the Vietnam War. Not a march, not promoting green alternatives to the war, and not electoral politics (unless you count the Yippies running Pegasus the Pig for President in 1968). People on many fronts made both the war and business as usual impossible.

Likewise with segregation. The civil rights movement did not make the gains it made with a march that was organized with the permission of the police. There were marches, yes, but the marches themselves were unpermitted acts of civil disobedience, and they were met with extreme repression fuelled by hate. We all remember the black and white videos of the fire hoses and the police dogs, the many civil rights activists who were beaten, jailed, murdered. And not to forget the crucial role of the Black Panther party, which took up arms in 1966 in order to further advance civil rights and to defend their communities against attacks by the police. But they also ran breakfast programs for children and promoted a comprehensive set of demands.

But back to this march in New York City, planned in cooperation with the police, and void of demands. Will the mere presence of 200,000 people (including representatives of Duke Energy and Goldman Sachs) marching in the city be meaningful enough to make a difference—to shake up the world’s leaders to take climate change more seriously?

In his Rolling Stone piece, McKibben quotes a Princeton scientist who stated, “We are all sitting ducks.” That is true. However, the missing analysis in this assertion is identifying just exactly who is holding the shotgun. The inference is that it is climate change pointing its double barrels at us, but I disagree.

We are sitting ducks alright, but the ones threatening our existence are the ones on Wall Street and its equivalents, buying policies that maintain business as usual. Like Chad Holliday, the Chair of Bank of America (who co-Chairs the UN’s absurdly named Sustainable Energy for All initiative), the Koch Brothers, Chase Manhattan Bank, oh yes, and Duke Energy and Goldman Sachs… A smorgasbord of the power elite.

My hope is that folks coming for the march will be inspired by the powerful accomplishments of the movements that came before and will form affinity groups to take their outrage and their demands directly to the source. Directly to the ones holding the shotguns. Making their business as usual impossible.

The Climate Group’s “Climate Week” from September 22-28, for instance, might be an excellent choice… Take our rage right to the source.

As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. pointed out, “The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be... The nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.”

Originally posted to Anne Petermann on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 12:35 PM PDT.

Also republished by UN Climate Summit.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (13+ / 0-)

    by Anne Petermann on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 12:35:46 PM PDT

  •  The People Don't Actually Need to Have Solutions (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Demi Moaned, LinSea, Metric Only, Assaf

    for problems that are out of their hands either to understand or to solve. A mass protest is itself an excellent idea.

    As for biofuels, remember only some of our carbon goes into transportation, there's a lot that goes into the power grid. We can get to work with a large scale program to purge carbon from the grid many ways, from large corporate sun wind and tide farms to distributed consumer solar and wind, without having a complete solution in hand to transportation.

    For urban areas there are 2 immediate options and nobody ever talks about the 2nd one. The first one is battery electric vehicles, but the 2nd is trackless trolley buses.

    Electric buses used to be in cities everywhere, they're still found in San Fran I think and some other places. It would be lightning fast to roll them out. Just string wires --the right-of-way is already owned by cities-- and swap out diesel for electric motors. And the routes can be altered in a day or two without laying or removing tracks.

    I think for the citizen, at this point just lobbying for major action is the most we can do toward pressuring society, unless someone can see a useful application for targeted strikes and denials of service.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 12:47:23 PM PDT

    •  Will there be enough people? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Words In Action, Metric Only, Assaf

      Thanks for this. I was in fact persuaded to attend the march based on the desirability of just getting enough people to show up and say 'this is important'.

      Nor does a big tent seem like a bad idea. I mean we don't really know what the best way to deal with all this is. We just need to follow the old Roosevelt idea of try something. Discard what doesn't work and develop what does.

      But I kind of fear that the whole event will be a big bust. I'm not hearing much about it.

      "The smartest man in the room is not always right." -Richard Holbrooke

      by Demi Moaned on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 12:53:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes but what ARE our demands? (4+ / 0-)

      We definitely need a system change, a total rethink of how we address this problem because it is beyond the scope of anything we have faced before. Like extinction of our species.

      Why aren't we demanding things like Executive Orders to lower our thermostats, to stop using air conditioning. Why aren't we rationing gas? Converting factories to create  energy efficient products that don't depend on gasoline?

      Why aren't we rationing air travel? Demanding towns and cities collaborate on the use of lights at night so that our neighborhoods are safe but not lit up like its a holiday eery day.

      Why aren't we reading by candlelight?

      If you're not terrified into action by the IPCC's 5th Assessment , you're not human.

      by boatsie on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 02:43:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well, it was McKibben's article ... (5+ / 0-)

    that got me to book a trip to attend the People's Climate March. It's just a little more than a month away now, and I've heard very little about it leading me to wonder whether the whole thing will be a big bust.

    "The smartest man in the room is not always right." -Richard Holbrooke

    by Demi Moaned on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 12:48:34 PM PDT

  •  When it was announced, I was expecting a million (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action

    Does not seem unreasonable to me to expect a significant number of the people within a day's drive to make a point of participating on 9/21/2014 in NYC. I still think that, but now I'm worried, too.

    This excellent article has me thinking that going won't be worth the candle, if no one in leadership understands building a direct action campaign out of the march. It won't even be the dramatic peoples-theater success that it could be, if there is not even one competent speaker at a penultimate point of the march, or one common action we can all be urged to take - and urging us takes organizing for the urging.

    When we marched at Seabrook, in New Hampshire, trying to prevent the construction of poorly planned nuclear power plants, it was a personal sacrifice (I came from South Florida for one of those). Many went specifically to attempt to occupy the site and hundreds were arrested. We not only went to New Hampshire, we went back home and did our own organizing. That struggle is not over. Florida Power & Light (FPL) is on track to build two more nuclear power plants in South Miami-Dade County, next to the two already there at Turkey Point.  Our Governor, Rick Scott, who won't take our tax dollars back for Medicaid, will take federal support for new nuclear plants exactly where global warming is likely to hike the sea level over their cooling systems during their lifetime. Talk about needing a tax-payer bail-out at that point!

    Bill McKibben and need to come to grips with what they envision the next day, 9/22/2014, will show has been achieved - what good will all the marching have accomplished, and how will that good have been accomplished. Why should people burn a lot of carbon to go be in the street and make a little noise, unless it is going to clearly lead to change, and be part of an impetus to end the old ways and usher in new understandings?

  •  Please welcome Anne Petermann. (8+ / 0-)

    She is the Executive Director of the Global Justice Ecology Projectand participated in the first Climate Change SOS blogathon.

    If you're not terrified into action by the IPCC's 5th Assessment , you're not human.

    by boatsie on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 02:07:02 PM PDT

  •  RSVP to attend March via bus, train, rideshares (12+ / 0-)

    People's Climate March

    NYC: September 21, 2014
    RSVP for People's Climate March

    Join hundreds of environmental and climate justice groups and thousands upon thousands of individuals on the streets of New York City on Sunday, September 21, 2014, for the People's Climate March. The march is being held two days before the UN Climate Summit, where political and corporate leaders are meeting prior to the December 2015 UNFCCC COP21 in Paris.

    It also precedes Climate Week NYC.

    The links below provide information on transportation to New York, volunteer opportunities, and other ways you can become involved in your local communities.

    I'll Be There!

    Getting There: Links to available buses, trains, rideboards and creative group transit ideas near you to get the NYC for September 21st
    How to Get Involved
    RSVP and volunteer/donation opportunities

    Please spread this to your Daily Kos groups!

    If you're not terrified into action by the IPCC's 5th Assessment , you're not human.

    by boatsie on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 02:08:36 PM PDT

  •  Hashtags for promoting this diary are (5+ / 0-)

    #peoplesmarch #climatemarch

    If you're not terrified into action by the IPCC's 5th Assessment , you're not human.

    by boatsie on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 02:09:13 PM PDT

  •  McKibben's Call To Arms (6+ / 0-)

    read here A Call to Arms: An Invitation to Demand Action on Climate Changeis one of three the People's Climate March organizers showcase.

    The other two are also great reads:

    Our Power Campaign:
    People's Climate Marchand People's Climate Justice Summit

    Lacing Up for Historic Climate Justice March by Eddie Bautista,  executive director of the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance.

    If you're not terrified into action by the IPCC's 5th Assessment , you're not human.

    by boatsie on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 02:28:49 PM PDT

  •  We are sitting ducks & the UN Says (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action, citisven

    they are "casting a wide net to find dozens of people from around the world who feel passionately about the impact of climate change, have translated that passion into action and would like to attend next month’s Climate Summit at the UN." see here

    Ban Ki-Moon called for this summit not only because of the horrific failures of the UNFCCC to accomplish anything but also for its failure to include other voices. Big Business began hosting its own summits alongside the COPs, attended by some mighty big guns -- take a look at who attended the World Climate Summit in Warsaw

    But Moon also wanted the voices of civil society included.

    I wonder just how wide this net will be cast and what criteria will actually be employed to bring authentic voices to the table.

    If you're not terrified into action by the IPCC's 5th Assessment , you're not human.

    by boatsie on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 02:38:55 PM PDT

  •  Clear demands would be... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    boatsie, Words In Action

    1) An 80% reduction in fossil fuel use within 20 years attainable by legislating car mileage to be 50mpg minimum and replacing all fossil fuel power plants with wind and solar.

    2) Construction of desalinating plants ASAP.

    A million Arcosantis.

    by Villabolo on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 02:40:13 PM PDT

  •  Challenge! (7+ / 0-)

    I think it's great that McKibben is being challenged from the left-- it shows the health and strength of the climate movement.

    For me, the lack of demands other than showing up I think is a way of turning a weakness of the movement right now (no clear direction) into a strength. The very act of mobilization, the process of getting everyone together in one place, is compelling people and supposed leaders to do a gut-check, to challenge each other and rediscover their sense of urgency and purpose.

    But some things in this article are just weird. Bill McKibben isn't a conservation biologist -- he's a nature writer. For someone who is "not an activist" and has a "very limited understanding of movement strategy and history" he's helped build the strongest global climate organization in the world.

    •  Great points. What McKibeen has accomplished (4+ / 0-)

      in the past ten years is unprecedented.  

      And yeah, one of the issues as I recall with the Occupy movement, which was touted as its major weakness , was its failure to come up with a clear set of demands.

      This is also evidenced in just about every March I've participated in; varoius groups with different messages using the chance to take to the streets as part of a huge demonstration (I'm thinking Iraq here) to publicize their causes.

      If you're not terrified into action by the IPCC's 5th Assessment , you're not human.

      by boatsie on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 02:56:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  agree, bill has been one of THE driving forces (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      boatsie, citisven, ClimateBrad, Assaf

      to essentially give birth to a very effective climate movement over the past few years. From XL campaigns, to divestment etc. he's been working his buns off. Many others involved too. Just saying his activism should not be discounted.

      Also. Bill never said that marches did the trick alone. In fact, he said "taking to the streets" is "not all that's necessary." Most people know many fronts and many people involved when fighting back. It would be different if Bill had left out more specific history if his entire story was about marches alone, rather than a single para.

      New website: NDN Silver by Wings "Beauty, magic, and the mysteries of the earth and sky connect" in his jewelry art. Please visit his silverwork galleries, share with friends. Gifts from the heart.

      by Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 03:28:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What about Bolivia's idea on rights of Earth (4+ / 0-)

    which was introduced in Copenhagen, as I recall and is part of the Bolivian constitution.

    Ownership of natural resources which are necessary for survival of all species are not allowed; and maintaining the health of the air and water and land are mandatory.

    If you're not terrified into action by the IPCC's 5th Assessment , you're not human.

    by boatsie on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 02:50:56 PM PDT

  •  Not an activist? McKibben mobilized perhaps the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RLMiller, Assaf

    largest most effective global campaign in my lifetime

    Can you explain the rationale for including McKibben in a very powerful and valid critique of the Climate Group and big business and your great idea calling for action against the Climate Group's activities in NY?  

    If you're not terrified into action by the IPCC's 5th Assessment , you're not human.

    by boatsie on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 03:07:59 PM PDT

  •  What is climate justice? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    boatsie, Words In Action

    Anne when you say "...the missing analysis in this assertion is identifying just exactly who is holding the shotgun. The inference is that it is climate change pointing its double barrels at us, but I disagree.

    We are sitting ducks alright, but the ones threatening our existence are the ones on Wall Street and its equivalents..."

    I disagree.  It is those of us that buy the products of Wall Street and its equivalents that are holding the shotgun.  Without demand for electricity and all the manufactured products - including food - that derive from industrial civilization, the big corporations wouldn't exist.  The problem is, the current population cannot exist without those products.

    So what is climate justice?  For everyone to achieve first-world lifestyles?  The planet cannot support that, or anything even close.  The planet is dying right now, and not just from climate change, from habitat destruction, over-fishing and hunting, and pollution, pollution and pollution.

    What would YOU suggest as demands?  I would love to think there is some "system change" that would do some good, but aside from it being too late thanks to amplifying feedbacks already set in motion and unstoppable - like the melting of Antarctic, Greenland, and Arctic ice - I don't see anything that is going to allow 7 billion people (and counting) to continue to ravage the earth.

    Even if we all decided to limit family size to ONE, stop driving and flying, and grow our own food, there isn't enough space for everyone to do that.  By far most people live in cities, and are fed by fossil-fuel intense industrial agriculture.

    It's well and good to criticize the march for lacking substance (I'm agree but I'm going anyway) - but what is your solution?  What system can provide for one species in overshoot at the expense of all others?

    •  great comment! I'll be there, too. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Words In Action

      and i have no doubt that this is will be enormous. Make Copenhagen look like preschool.

      There hasn't been any real civil action around climate talks since Copenhagen; in Cancun, they actually had the main event at the Cancun Messe and the bus route was patrolled by armed military! The Klimaforum was held downtown with limited internet access.  Via Campesina and the caravans which came to town were unable to get anywhere near the convention.

      In Warsaw, there was a march and a walkout, but nothing like 'Hopenhagen"

      This has all the makings of an historic event.

      The awakening of a public which is damn infuriated by being manipulated and brainwashed ...

      A public that is just damn mad about everything!

      Climate Justice is about equal rights for sustainable development. For the same amount of carbon space.

      So many of us think its just too late for that. Too late for all of us. But we will go down fighting.

      If you're not terrified into action by the IPCC's 5th Assessment , you're not human.

      by boatsie on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 03:22:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  what is sustainable development? (0+ / 0-)

        The carbon budget is maxed out and then some - we are going to blow past the over-optimistically designated threshold of 2C increase.  Hansen says we have to draw down what we have already emitted (by planting trees, when actually, we are cutting more and more down).  So even if the wealthy countries slash their emissions (meaning people have to stop driving, flying, heating and running the a/c...good luck with that) there STILL isn't any room for the billions of people without electricity to get it.

        So what am I missing about "sustainable development" that doesn't involve burning fuel?  (and no, solar panels and wind power are not going to replace coal and oil and gas - for one thing, just manufacturing enough...assuming there are enough raw materials to do so, which there aren't...would contribute enormously to emissions)

        •  And the thing about planting trees... (0+ / 0-)

          ... is that most people involved in mass tree-planting operations still seem stuck on the concept that those trees are going to grow up in the climate they're planted in. I mean, it's one thing if you're talking about trees planted for fast turnaround logging operations, but if you're planting trees trying to restore (on a permanent basis) deforested lands, those trees are going to be maturing for hundreds if not thousands of years. Most of their life will be spent in the future's climate, not today's. If you plant trees that aren't well enough adapted to how your future area's climate is supposed to play out, you could find your efforts have far less payback than you planned on.

          It's an upside here in Iceland, mind you. People plant trees assuming that they can't grow big, it's just a truism, of course we can't get big trees here. They plant trees with the capability to get big, like Sitka spruce (one of the most commonly planted trees here) right next to newly built walls, thinking the cold is going to limit them. It's going to come back to bite them. You already see cases from the past, 50 years ago or so, where people assumed even less about the capabilities of trees to grow here, where it's running up against construction. 7-15 million years ago there were redwoods and magnolias growing wild here, for crying out loud (the temp was 7-11C hotter back then) Well, it's supposed to get 4-5C hotter by 2100 and even warmer after if we don't stop what we're doing, so the concept that cool-weather trees like Sitka spruce can't get big in that sort of climate, well, that's just absurd, they can get over 100 meters tall and 5 meters wide under those conditions. Most of the biggest trees in the world grow native in mountainous, wet oceanic climates with rocky, somewhat acidic mineral soils. Well, that's what Iceland is. We just need a few more degrees.

          (Not saying that I support changing the climate, mind you! Just pointing out the reality as it stands and people's short sightedness in the face of it).

          The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendant's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendant's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

          by Rei on Fri Aug 15, 2014 at 03:20:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  All good points (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      but 80% of energy use is institutional. This is not an argument to ignore personal behavior modification, but the focus really must be on changing the operation of the public and private sectors...

      I've never left a blank space on a ballot... but I will not vote for someone [who vows] to spy on me. I will not do it. - dclawyer06

      Trust, but verify. - Reagan
      Vote, but Occupy. - commonmass

      by Words In Action on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 03:23:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Personal behavior modification (0+ / 0-)

        would obviously have to include not participating in or benefiting from the institutional energy use as well as turning off the lights at home.  So you'd have to dismantle the military, for starters.  How real is that?

  •  CC Action: Addiction&Transtheoretical Change (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Words In Action

    I wrote about how "Rob Hopkins was initially stymied as he ruminated over why climate activism has not been successful in eliciting the massive response necessary to address the severity of the crisis awaiting us. That is, until he shifted focus and began evaluating the effectiveness of applying successful intervention models from the field of addiction treatment to designing locally sustainable resilient communities" a few years back in a 2 piece article called called oil addiction, climate deniers & transtheoretical change : Part 1

    Some excerpts seem quite relevant here:

    Defining the problem

    "...the story is a typical 1950s nuclear era tale of apocalypse - in it, the main character, a bartender, is dealing drinks when two scientists walk into his bar. Both are terribly, terribly worried about nuclear war, and have reason to be. They spend the afternoon exploring all the risks and dangers, and the bartender, previously unaware of how urgent the situation was, listens in horrified fascination. Finally, as the afternoon winds up, the bartender tells the men that if they really believed what they were saying, they would get out of the city, since it is a likely target. He argues that they can't be serious about it - because the aggregate of the evidence they are presenting demands that they pick up their hats and get out. But, they argue, they have reasons to stay, and they can't know with absolute certainty.
    "The bartender, listening to them, makes up his mind that they are right. He hands them the keys to the bar, picks up his hat and gets as far out of the city as he can. At the last moment, with the building behind him, he hesitates, realizing that he's made no plans, prepared nothing, and turns around to call a family member and tell them he is coming home - only, of course (since this is fiction) to see the mushroom cloud going up in front of him.
    "What interests me about this story isn't the mushroom cloud at the end, but the thought process at the center of the story - the ways in which we often disregard the implications of our own thinking, the difficulty we have with abandoning old assumptions. Even if we know our way of life can't go on, even if we know that we're headed for a fall, I think most of us like to think it won't come that soon, it won't be that bad, we'll have time for the things we want and need." Sharon Astyk, Pick up your hat
    Solution: Addiction Theory & The Transtheoretical Model
    The Transtheoretical Model (TTM; Prochaska & DiClemente, 1983; Prochaska, DiClemente, & Norcross, 1992)
    is an integrative, biopsychosocial model to conceptualize the process of intentional behavioral change.  Whereas other models of behavioral change focus exclusively on certain dimensions of change (e.g. theories focusing mainly on social or biological influences), the TTM seeks to include and integrate key constructs from other theories into a comprehensive theory of change that can be applied to a variety of behaviors, populations, and settings (e.g. treatment settings, prevention and policy-making settings, etc.)." The Habits Lab at UMBC

    "Is "Peak Oil" the most useful way of looking at this?... Hopkins suggests that rather than picturing peak oil as a mountain, what is we just flipped the picture over and began viewing the age of oil as  "a fetid lagoon into which we have dived."  Over time, we have continued to dive deeper in search of "great fortunes" always just beyond our grasp, only now we're scraping bottom. Time to resurface, refill our lungs, push up with all our collective might towards those rays of sunshine still filtering through the thick, black, sticky liquid engulfing us...  Kick up, kick up towards freedom!

    How can we utilize this to come up with changes and actions and demands?

    If you're not terrified into action by the IPCC's 5th Assessment , you're not human.

    by boatsie on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 03:41:58 PM PDT

  •  Our Climate Projected (0+ / 0-)

    Great Opp for artists to participate

    “Our Cli­mate Pro­jected” is a com­pi­la­tion of artis­tic reflec­tions on cli­mate change and will serve as an act of pub­lic edu­ca­tion. It is designed to allow peo­ple on both sides of the dia­logue – the talk­ers and the lis­ten­ers – to engage in the cli­mate change con­ver­sa­tion in a new, inno­v­a­tive way. Jessie believes express­ing cli­mate change real­ity through art and audio­vi­su­als will allow peo­ple to absorb infor­ma­tion in a way they oth­er­wise could not:

    mis­sions of 10 second-10 min­utes can be emailed to

    Or mailed to:
    Our Cli­mate Pro­jected
    70 Lef­ferts Place­Brook­lyn, NY 11238.

    If you're not terrified into action by the IPCC's 5th Assessment , you're not human.

    by boatsie on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 04:02:48 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for all the comments! (0+ / 0-)

    Very interesting stuff here.  Just a quick response.  My point in this piece was not to bust McKibben's chops, but to point out that there is a powerful history of movement victories that I think the climate movement could and ought to learn from.  Howard Zinn is a great starting point.  The misreading of this history, or the misinterpretation of it is not helpful.  It is quite likely to lead us to forget what really works, and what really doesn't.

    We must keep the bar high.  Asking for action on climate change is simply not enough.  We must demand--strike that--enact a total transformation if we want to truly address the catastrophic elitist, classist, racist, sexist, ecologically devastating system that is poised to drive the human race to extinction.

    The UN is NOT part of the solution. Having been to UN Climate COPs from 2004 in Buenos Aires through 2011 in Durban, South Africa (when I was banned for refusing to comply with UN security orders to vacate the hallway outside of the negotiations where an occupation was occurring) I watched the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change be completely taken over by business interests.  It became all about corporate profits disguised as climate action.

    So let's not wait for the "leaders" to solve this problem for us, let's hit the streets and shut down the climate destroyers.

    by Anne Petermann on Wed Aug 13, 2014 at 04:43:19 PM PDT

  •  I want to be there. (0+ / 0-)

    I'm not sure I can swing it though !

  •  A circular firing squad among environmentalists, (0+ / 0-)

    will certainly not help stop global warming.

    And the tone of this diary leaves this option wide open. As well as insinuating that violent "direct action" is a-ok, if "it does the job" of throwing terror into the hearts of the "Bad Guys" whoever those might be according to your list du jour.

    I'm sorry Bil McKibben failed your purity test. I bet the majority of us will.

    In the vein of your arguments: if you assume we can stop global warming only if we first achieve the political goals of the anarchist movement - and yes, according to what you write here and elsewhere this is precisely what you think -

    - then we've likely already lost as well.

    •  Oh, and I'm not against anarchists in general. (0+ / 0-)

      But let's not conflate struggles, ok?

      There's great overlap, obviously.

      No question per-capita energy consumption has got to come down drastically, and consumerism as a unifying ideal needs to be dethroned.

      But a lot of great climate work, perhaps even the lion's share right now, can be done - yes, via ways that you would disparage as

      - "Technocratic"
      - "Capitalist"
      - "Consumerist"


      The question is whether you want millions of people and most world governments working on this right now,

      or whether you want the 3.5 people who perfectly agree with you - what you euphemistically call "raising the bar" - try to stage a world revolution first.

      I'll bet on the Big Tent option. Sorry.

  •  For a deeper look at these issues (0+ / 0-)

    I recommend checking out The Green Shock Doctrine for a deeper analysis of why the UN and world governments will not solve this problem for us, plus a powerful look at what social movements around the world are saying and doing to stop the climate crisis.

    by Anne Petermann on Thu Aug 14, 2014 at 06:26:38 AM PDT

    •  The government IS "us" (0+ / 0-)

      This is a right-wing frame that you're using here.  The idea that the government is an alien force occupying our country does not drive progressive victories.  

      Of course, our democracy has become captured by wealthy interests, but this is not necessarily a permanent condition.  Many examples from our past show that people power can overcome powerful opposition to force the government and other powers that be to act in the public interest.    

      But we need to fight to take it back, not write off the government as a hostile institution by definition.  

      I wish you'd be more upfront in your diary about your belief that a revolution is needed before climate change can be solved.  

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