I just found myself writing to a friend in answer to her question, what can a small person do who is already recycling to the max, etc. That is the question of the day and indeed of the present age. Here was my answer.
“Dana, you do NOT sound trite. That is precisely the question. My answer at the moment is
- Redouble your efforts of what you are already doing. The effects may be small, but walking the walk is critical, especially if those of us who know what lies ahead are to create a recognizable path for others to follow.
- Find your voice. That is, figure out how to make this a daily conversation with everyone you meet… walking the walk helps make it a constant topic. For instance, every time you refuse a plastic bag at the checkout, and vocally remark at the 60,000 bags a second used in the US alone, you engage at least 2 or three other people in the paradigm shift.
- Raise your voice with government at all levels. Democracy does not mean voting once every 4 years. You vote every day with every purchase you make. Vote only for things that improve our prospects of survival on the Earth. Personally, I feel that you can largely forget about the online petitions. They are a ‘feel-good’ thing and I believe they divert us from REAL action by making us think we ‘gave at the office’, so to speak. If you like being among the, say, 100,000 people who responded ‘thus and such’ to ‘so and so’, that is fine. But they are too easy to do, to easy to fake (I can sign 30 times as 30 different online people) and most of all, too easy to dismiss. Get phone numbers and make calls… often… to the feds, the state, your local government.
- Get into the boardrooms of the world… buy one share of stock (not for the investment) of any corporation you see creating the problem (which is most of them). That makes you one of their stockholders with as much standing to say your mind as any… then use that. Again do it by phone which is the most potent.
- Be prepared to demonstrate, to take to the streets. It is my contention that within a few years there will be massive protests around the world, and I am in fact planting seeds toward that eventuality. That is a final resort in a way, but my sense is that it will come to that. That is what ended the War in Vietnam. We must return to those tactics to avoid ending all Life on Earth in a climate catastrophe of unthinkable dimensions.
We MUST make it clear to all people we know that 2015 is the deadline by which humanity MUST start REDUCING the total carbon emissions (not merely slowing the rate of growth as is currently being negotiated in Poznan, Poland) or we are ‘dead meat’ as the saying goes, along with the majority of species of Life on Earth. The funeral will come later, but the despicable deed will be done by 2015. This is NOT hyperbole. It is the reality of the situation as I see it (along with the UN IPCC although they do not engage in the colorful metaphors that I do), and I believe I see it clearly after studying it and being intimately involved for some years now.
It is not a pretty message, but it is one that must guide our dayly actions. We who know and feel this deep calling must become ‘climate warriors’… peaceful warriors. There is at present no higher calling in my humble opinion.
For the Earth – §