In November of 2010, a climate ally of mine went to the fantastically-named (NOT!) "Pricing Carbon Conference" in Connecticut. The usual leaders of the climate movement were panelists, and over a long weekend conference-goers were continually hammered with just how bad this looming catastrophe will be.
On Sunday afternoon questions were opened to the audience, and a young woman got up and said "I get it! I can see how serious this is! I'm ready to do whatever it takes to stop this! But what can I do? Where can I go? Where can I go MONDAY?"
The panelists had no answer.
This movement will never get anywhere unless people start devoting themselves to this FULL TIME. Lots of people can--retirees, young people who haven't yet joined the workforce or who have parents who can support them (don't scoff, the 8 leaders of Serbia's Otpor, who led a movement that overthrew a dictator, were all twenty-somethings who were supported by their parents during the two-year struggle), unemployed and under-employed people, professionals who can take a sabbatical, etc.
Even if, like most people, you can't work on this full-time, you can devote evenings and weekends to the cause!
Nothing is more important, guys! Let's not look back on this in the decades to come (which should be increasingly dire if the climate continues to precipitously unravel) and think "What was I thinking?!"
Otpor's leaders decided that they had to do this full-time. They also quickly learned there always had to be something to do or people would stop showing up. So as a movement we should appreciate what they were able to accomplish and learn from their success!
There's much to be done, of course, but it's all doable and there are templates out there (which I'll be sharing in future posts) that will help us pull this off.
But don't think you can just sit back and wait for President Obama or Bill McKibben to do this. Part of why they're not pushing for immediate action is they require a vibrant and active movement to make change happen, and we haven't got that yet. So YOU have to get serious and take matters into your own hands! Open up your home, find a donated office space, join or create a MeetUp group, or whatever, to start a local nonviolent campaign where activists can create a kick-ass community where there's always something to do and people are always pushing nonviolently to save our futures.
So hopefully soon, when people ask "Where can I go and what can I do?", you can tell them "Come to our place, we have plenty of stuff to do!"