We offer a Greta-inspired plea followed by three powerful videos, first a montage of spliced talks by Greta & Richard Attenborough, followed by two from Greta’s interview with Amy Goodman. We close with Colbert spoofing Trump.
Time to Take a Stand & Time for All of Us to Explode Our Comfort Zones
The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation just published the results of a nationwide survey. It found a slowly increasing awareness that climate change is real and man-caused. But shockingly, only 37% of Americans believe it will take major sacrifice to address climate change. With that underlying shared world view it is no wonder the nation accepts inaction.
I had been thinking about this a good deal the past 48 hours. Why are so many people, even those who are among the 37% who do understand the scope of the problem, still behaving as if business is usual?
Our situation is not “usual” and yet very few are acting with the kind of urgency a crisis requires. Greta says that since there is a crisis, we must behave as if there is a crisis. What could that mean? Most often when I think about this question, I am focused on national policy. But, I want each of us to begin to explore what “acting as if there is a crisis” means for each of us…personally.
I just finished watching the videos in today’s post. The first is a very moving and hopefully motivating five minutes of spliced excerpts from speeches by Greta and Richard Attenborough. The second is an extraordinary 12 minute interview with Greta from Democracy Now! In the third short video, Greta speaks about how her autism is really a special gift.
In the second video, Goodman asks Greta how she first became involved in activism.
We hear how at 10 she first became aware of climate change and how she slowly descended into depression and stopped speaking and barely ate;
We hear how she struggled with how others were not alarmed enough to do anything;
We hear how she spent every school day for three weeks on the steps of the Swedish Parliament with a sign, as she was largely ignored; and then
We hear how she launched what has become the international student strike movement, Friday’s for the Future… at 15.
That is what personal commitment can look like. And while none of us is likely to launch an international movement, no matter how much time we devote to what needs to be done, we can be inspired by Greta to do more than we have ever done before, to burst through our comfort zones.
Over the next few days, I will be working on a Climate Crisis Toolkit for Personal Activism, something to help everyone incorporate new ways of contributing to the work at hand. But for today, I have one somewhat unusual request. I want you to retrieve a photo of a child in your life, someone about whom you care deeply or of a place in nature that you love.
Place them next to you as you watch the next three videos. Glance at them periodically. When done with those videos write to yourself or a comment in this post about what you will do in honor of that child and that special place. For some of you, you are already devoting significant time to the work, but most of us could do more. And all of us must do more.
And after writing to your special child or place, I want you to email some friends and tell them what you’ve done and include in the email a link to this post. Ask them to please review the post and then to agree to join you at the General Strike on Sept. 20 and make that the first day of your bursting open your comfort. With such an uncomfortable future looming, there is no room for comfort zones. There is a crisis.
Greta, Attenborough Speak with Powerful Images of Our Earth and What We are Doing to It
Amazing 12 Minutes as Greta Illustrates What It Means to Commit
Greta on Her Autism & How It Allows Her to See & Act Differently
At This Point You Deserve Relief & This is Hilarious
In solidarity, Paul & Roxanne
One of your best posts I’ve read since I joined Retake. Many thanks.
Thank you – we strike!
“The real power belongs to the people”. Greta
Did any of you go hear activist Boots Riley at the Lensic last week? He said, though not in so many words, the real power belongs to the money and not to the people. Turning out, even in large numbers, won’t help (remember Occupy?) unless we figure out how to hit them in the $$$. How do we do that?
Yes it is a good post. Good to see you coming to the visceral and existential realization that other issues are background to this one. It intersects them all and towers over them. We cannot abandon our grandkids to an uninhabitable future.
Karen, Money is a substitute for power. By withholding our money from the banksters, we can bring this system of exploitation to a halt. We need an national movement to target different sectors of the economy. For 2 months, we all stop paying our credit cards. In the next 2 months, we stop paying our mortgage payments. In the following two months, we stop paying for any other loans, medical and insurance bills. After withholding our payments, we then pay these bills, as though nothing has happening, including the interest and late fee for withholding payments. The financial system is so vulnerable now, that even targeting these sectors in advance as a public form of civil disobedience, will likely crash that sector. Every industry “rides the float” these days. We can show them who is boss, if only 1-10 million households agree to do this.