A Climate Declaration

Can An Introvert Be An Effective Activist?

A Framework For US To Rescue Nature

Can An Introvert Be An Effective Activist?

Photo by Jackie Hope on Unsplash

To many, I may seem to be an unrealistic but affable soul. A dreamer who’s doomed to be disappointed in the world, and in my ability (and OUR ability) to change things for the better. I’m actually NOT that much of a dreamer. I realize that change is hard and that many forces are lined up to preserve the status quo — the very forces that are not only making our lives unnecessarily difficult, but that are speeding our entire species towards climate doom.

I’m NOT a doomer either, even though I see the dangers and realize that these dangers are continuing unabated. I’m not a doomer because I’m committed to changing the world, not simply predicting what will happen based on current trends.

I know exactly where current trends are leading us. I simply refuse to go.

Protesting In the Back Row

I’ve attended many protests, usually with a hand made sign. That’s usually me, away from the crowd, near the back trying to get a look at the speaker, and straining to hear. I’m cheering and clapping and then walking home quietly, alone, lost in my thoughts.

That is, in large part, who I am.

I’m at the protests to listen and learn, because as an introvert I don’t socialize much. I don’t often hear how people feel and think directly except at these protests. I get the emotions, the hopes and the fears while at these protests. But I don’t understand the strategies and what’s actually being done or my role in all this. I’m missing the big picture and don’t understand what the organizers do or how change happens. But I’m willing to experiment.

Not Virtue Signaling. CHANGE!

I have rarely cared about the impression I make on others and this has gotten stronger as I’ve gotten older. Virtue signaling isn’t part of my makeup although trying to set an example is.

I’m just not satisfied with the behavior or situation or choices that humans are making. I want to DO something, not something symbolic. I want to do something that makes the world a better place. And I want to enjoy myself while doing it!

In 2022, my thinking and behavior evolved as I explored ideas. I tried things. Some quickly crashed and burned and others continued to intrigue me. Some ideas seem promising.

Actions For 2023

For this new year, I’m working on Virtual Climate Parties, online video chats and strategy sessions. I have two scheduled and I expect they will start out clumsily and get better with practice.

I’ve become fascinated with samizdat, small self-published booklets that were used by dissidents in the old Soviet Union, to propagate their ideas and build the opposition. I think it’s important to NOT limit our actions to online. We need to do things in the physical world. I’ve begun producing climate samizdat with that in mind. There will be much more of this in 2023.

I began seriously writing about the climate crisis here on Medium, and I intend to continue. But I’ve beefed up blogging on my own website at aclimatedeclaration.com. I will do both in 2023 and perhaps even have guest bloggers on the site as well.

In 2022, I tested the waters with a silent climate vigil at sunset at Love Park in Philadelphia. It was the grain of an idea, but I wasn’t happy with my execution of the idea. I’m still thinking about it, though, and may tweak it and try again. As I’ve said, it’s important to bring action into the physical world.

My Boundaries and Yours

What will you do in 2023? I’m trying to push my boundaries. I’m not denying my nature as an introvert, but I’m becoming a high-functioning one. An introvert who CAN get out into the world and DO THINGS — even if only at short stretches of time.

We have this one planet. Our children will need to live on it. This is becoming more and more difficult, and the damage being done by rich petro-profiteers is severe. Conditions are getting worse even while people DISCUSS solutions. The fact is, C02 emissions are going up and promises about reducing them, targets, touted new technologies — they are all talk.

WE need to force change. We can’t wait for it. We can’t have faith in our leaders to suddenly behave responsibly. We can’t hope for the “invisible hand” — the one that brought us to the brink of extinction — to suddenly turn benevolent.

WE need to make the change, or it doesn’t get done. Let’s do it.