Impotence is a terrible thing – especially when self enforced.
Any one of us, at any time, could take matters into our own hands and throw a spanner in the works of the enormous destructive forces that operate around the world and yet most of us do not. Why?
My own reason is that I would probably lose my job if I got arrested but this choice to an external observer would seem insane.
– job now and allow a destruction of your land base to the extent that your children will struggle to survive or….no job but a possibility that a relatively normal life may be possible on earth –
and yet I still continue to choose job over the next generation’s ability to survive. Feeling helpless in the face of pretty good odds.
It is this self enforced impotence that ensures the inertia of the way things are. From the man with a chainsaw in the Amazon to the oil explorer to the would-be whistle-blower at the IMF and even the CEOs and politicians the reason why the devastation continues is because our jobs depend on turning up to work to grind the wheels of the destructive system. This is why most people who have taken direct action are those on the outside of the system or those whose lives will be immediately and directly, negatively impacted by a specific aspect of the machine.
The Extinction Rebellion offers an opportunity to the millions of ordinary people, whose anguish is the destruction of nature in whatever form – loss of clean air, water, particular species, individual trees, entire ecosystems or ultimately an environment that can sustain ourselves. An opportunity to convert their impotence into an organised force demanding that those that govern on our behalf act fast to steer our society to a sustainable future.
Why will the Extinction Rebellion do what other causes have thus far failed to do?
Because there is a recognition of the end of hope.
This sounds like a weakness but it is the greatest strength.
When there is only us.
When there is no campaign manager, no department of the environment, no benign government or NGO that is going to do anything for us – or even tell us what to do – then we finally have to take the full weight of responsibility ourselves.
And when we take responsibility….
We take action.
By Len Stevens