Friday, November 16, 2012

Save Face or Save the Planet

Preventing the worst of climate change is urgent, but psychologically elusive.  Unless the flood, fire, or tsunami is right in your face, it’s almost surreal to consider dramatically altering your life to keep the polar ice caps from melting.  Still, it’s absurd to equate 98% of the world’s climate scientists with “Chicken Little”, and most of us “get it”.  Or do we?

If a “threat meter” were on the planet right now it would be a smoldering orangish red alert.  In contrast mankind is responding with a few scattered protests, mostly drowned out by the silence of CONSENT. 

That’s right CONSENT.  If you are not publicly making it known you are against the insane destruction of our shared life-support system (read: “ecosystems”), then you are CONSENTING to what is happening.  If you’re not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

How do you most effectively REMOVE CONSENT?  Stop saving face and start saving the planet.  I don’t think we can do both.  Here’s why.  We don’t have time for rational step-by-step plans; by the time we reason with the unreasonable it will be too late.  In fact it is totally irrational to try and reason with irrational people (read: “oil mafia who are killing off their own children’s habitat”).  

We must REMOVE OUR CONSENT by becoming irrational and yet stay sane.  How?  Comedy, hilarity, weirdness, surprise, silliness, pranks and shenanigans. These are the best weapons we have against corporate thugs. They have all the money and power in their favor, we have the one thing they don’t have…a sense of humor…edgy humor.

Although it is the most powerful non-violent weapon we have, being funny requires the ultimate sacrifice; the ego’s need to look good, be right and save face.  Media-penetrating humor requires us to be laughed at, risk mockery, and feel totally uncomfortable in public.  Without making our “news” entertaining, our protests will go unnoticed and our arrests ignored. 

Maybe our real enemy is our all-consuming need to save face.  If we conquer this inner tyrant, maybe we have a chance of freeing ourselves from the dynasties that are steering us into oblivion.  Will you sing provocative silly songs, do dance mobs and puppetry to save our planet?  Will you bring your kids, play beach ball hot potato and march to a band of kazoos?  It may be the only way to get mainstream media to actually report on our demonstrations. 

For example, we polar bears were the only climate activists that showed up at the Republican National Convention.  During our “Going Away Party for Florida”, we were repeatedly interviewed by the press.

At the Democratic National Convention, again PBS, Washington Post, etc. photographed and/or interviewed us during our “Hunger Strike Against Global Warming – A Taste of Things to Come”, but only Grist actually ran the story.

By the time we got to the first Presidential debate in Denver we nearly did back flips when we saw about 12 other climate activist there too!  Although we love that they came, their efforts went ignored by the media.  We three, silly polar bears, performing for the crowd, did make the Denver Post and the Santa Monica Breeze with this photo

There are more examples from our protests at the final two debates, but the point is we learned that looking foolish works better than standing around holding expensive signs looking smart.  Other benefits of buffoonery are; it kept us fresh and free from burn out, warded off helplessness and depression, and gave us boundless adrenaline.  I am asking you all to get over your resistance to joining us, and SAVE THE PLANET instead of your face.
Rachel Hope

One thing I'd like to add in support of what Rachel has written here.  Ivan Marovic of Serbia's Otpor movement, had a rule: "If you want to say something, you do something on the street, and when journalists show up, you can talk to them."  Otpor overthrew a dictator using, largely, humor.  When they did a street action, good pictures often made the front page.  "A hundred people doing something on the street is not news," Marovic said.  "but a hundred people doing something crazy is a picture". -- Curtis Hannum

No comments:

Post a Comment