Petitions, marches, phone calls and emails all fall on deaf ears when it comes to the power brokers of our economy. A tipping point must be reached with a movement to save us that generates sustained actions, shifts the calculus and tips the scales towards meaningful efforts to address climate change. Could this be it? Time to unify around this. Please share with friends.
No Excuses. Let’s do this. We really have no choice. I am tired of reporting about impending doom. You are likely tired of reading it. Let’s take our anger to the streets and stay there. I have asked you to share posts before. This time I mean it. When you finish reading this piece, compile as many friends, family, former roommates, sorority or fraternity pals, vets from your unit, members of your union and send them the note and tell them that Sept. 20th the world stops.
The Sept 20 General Strike is an opportunity to launch a sustained and impactful movement. And we have four months to build momentum and every single one of us needs to take personal responsibility by engaging all you know. Sept 20 General Strike needs to dwarf anything we’ve tried before. And then it needs to continue. There is momentum happening, but what needs to change is that this can’t be leader-led, it must be YOU-led. It is not our time. It is YOURS. SHARE SHARE SHARE and talk about this over dinners, at coffee, in the market.
Our Children Insist: Time To Get Serious
Yesterday’s post was going to lead with the headline: Scientific Study Points to Possible End of Mankind by 2050. I didn’t really have the capacity to write those words or even read the article covering the study. It was beyond Dahr Jamail who I can only swallow in small, discrete doses. I didn’t feel we needed another dose of sobering news. With hurricane and fire season in the offing I expect we will get more than enough of that. So I put the article aside and wrote a post about NM water policy.
But today, I give over the post to the children and youth who have lost patience with us and are demanding the kind of serious action that has been needed for a very long time. As I type this I keep looking at their faces. Every one of those kids, mostly in their teens will come face to face with 2050. I can no longer care about whether what they are asking us to do makes sense or will work. We all really have to follow their lead, as it may be our only hope.
For some time, Retake has been posting for the need for some kind of more dramatic, galvanizing action: occupy the Governor’s office; surround Chaco; stop paying taxes; send back student loan claims with a note refusing to pay….any of these kinds of acts generated from one national or international organization could have the potential to catch fire. When the Rev. Barber announced his Poor People’s Campaign I had hopes that that could be the action, a sustained effort to disrupt led by a highly credible and inspirational leader. For reasons I don’t fully grasp, it failed to engage broad support.
Then Greta Thurnberg erupted on the seen and the Sunrise Movement was born, the Extinction Rebellion erupted in Europe, and AOC and a bunch of impatient first year Congressional Reps started flexing their muscles. A local chapter of the Sunrise movement has been gaining traction in Santa Fe launching with a Town Hall six weeks ago. Since then began working quietly to develop a sustainable organizational structure centered on and led by young people, people of color and people from impacted communities. Expect announcements of actions on that front very soon.
Internationally, youth are calling for a general strike on September 20 followed by a week of actions and disruption. This youth movement is not the first effort to dramatically challenge climate change. It isn’t as if adults have been just sitting idly by for 40 years. In 1971 Greenpeace was founded and predicated its strategy on highly public acts of disruption. Forty five years later, indigenous peoples took a stand at Standing Rock and in between there have been any number of national and international efforts (Earth Day, Inconvenient Truth, This Changes Everything, Occupy, etc. ) to organize and turn this ship of fools around 180. But our ship continues blithely and inexorably on a path to extinction and so our children are telling us: It is time to jump ship.
Young people like Greta Thunberg are organizing internationally and the focus is not on recycling, cutting down your water use, or buying a Tesla. They seem to understand the real culprit in this unfolding human tragedy is not you for not buying more fuel efficient cars or supporting “green” corporations. No, the youth-led movement grasps who is pulling the levers of control, who is behind the curtain manipulating our political process, controlling the media, and sustaining their insane commitment to growth, profit and exploitation of peoples and planet. From a recent article from LeftVoice:
A small handful of companies are responsible for the overwhelming majority of greenhouse gas emissions…Putting the blame in any way on individual consumers, who are often economically incentivized into a larger carbon footprint for fear of bankruptcy, only serves to distract us from the real malefactors of climate change – the businesses, and their regulators who have failed to do their jobs.”
We will continue to report on this developing effort and we will be wise to take our cues locally and statewide from Sunrise movement and the youth who are leading this effort. For now, put September 20 on your calendars and share this email with friends, family, neighbors, college roommates, vets from your unit, members of your union. But do not despair. We can’t afford despair. Sustain an ember of hope and keep this thought in mind: ““Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something is worth doing no matter how it turns out”.–Vaclav Havel
I leave you with a note I plucked from Bright, a website focused on youth-driven climate action. It is well worth your time. Bold italics are mine.
A Note from Our Youth, An Invitation and a Challenge
To date, young people have led the climate strikes around the world. Now we need adults to join us too. On September 20, 2019, Fridays for Future, the Youth Climate Strike movements, and all of our international friends and allies call for a global general strike. Mark and add it to your calendar. Workers everywhere, please: we are asking you to join us and walk away from a system that is destroying our planet and will threaten the survival of millions of people, plants, and animals within the next 10, 20, 30 years.
We don’t feel like we have a choice: it’s been years of talking, countless negotiations, empty deals on climate change and fossil fuel companies being given free rides to drill beneath our soils and burn away our futures for their profit. Politicians and fossil fuel companies have known about climate change for decades. They have willingly handed over their responsibility for our future to profiteers whose search for quick cash threatens our very existence. This crisis is very real, and it cannot be ignored any longer.
We have learned that if we don’t start acting for our future, nobody else will make the first move. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.
Once again our voices are being heard on the streets, but it is not just up to us. We feel a lot of adults haven’t quite understood that we young people won’t hold off the climate crisis ourselves. Sorry if this is inconvenient for you. But this is not a single-generation job. It’s humanity’s job. We young people can contribute to a larger fight and that can make a huge difference. We can’t do this with you and everyone you know.
So this is our invitation. Starting on Friday, September 20 we will kickstart a week of climate action with a worldwide strike for the climate. We’re asking adults to step up alongside us. There are many different plans under way in different parts of the world for adults to join together and step up and out of your comfort zone for our climate. Let’s all join together, with your neighbours, co-workers, friends, family and go out on to the streets to make your voices heard and make this a turning point in our history.
During the French revolution mothers flooded the streets for their children. Today we children are fighting for ourselves, but so many of our parents are busy discussing whether our grades are good, or a new diet or what happened in the Game of Thrones finale – while the planet burns.
This moment has to happen. Last year’s UN intergovernmental panel on climate change’s special report on global warming was clear about the unprecedented dangers of going beyond 1.5C of global heating. Emissions must drop rapidly – so that by the time we are in our mid- and late-20s we are living in a completely transformed world.
But to change everything, we need everyone. It is time for all of us to unleash mass resistance – we have shown that collective action does work. We need to escalate the pressure to make sure that change happens, and we must escalate together.
So this is our chance – join us on climate strike this September. People have risen up before to demand action and make change; if we do so in numbers we have a chance. If we care, we must do more than say we do. We must act. This won’t be the last day we need to take to the streets, but it will be a new beginning.
We’re counting on you.
As we get closer to September 20th and more local information on events, actions, and strikes are available and get planned we will be sharing them here on Brightest.
This is a movement spawning all over the globe, so I am not sure if there is a single, official site set up in support of the September 20 strike but click here to get to a site dedicated to the strike. Keep informed, stay tuned and share, share, share. Let’s fucking do this. We really have no choice. I am tired of reporting about impending doom. Let’s take our anger to the streets and stay there.
Paul & Roxanne