There are literally billions of us who could and would expel every world leader tomorrow, put young climate activists in charge, and begin a worldwide emergency program devised by climate scientists to repair the Earth. Here’s why we haven’t done so yet, and why we might still do it.
Where the hell did Occupy come from? And what does this have to do with our climate crisis?
A Secret Movement That Even the Members Don’t Yet Know Exists
Nearly everything we read and see assumes that the world simply is how it is and it isn’t going to change. We pick leaders, however imperfectly, and those leaders do what they can. Politics is the art of the possible.
Leaders are trying to fix the climate crisis, but there are other concerns and factors — jobs, the economy, different political ideologies. Progress is slow, but it is happening. We have to simply be patient, to wait and to hope for the best.
We pick leaders and those leaders have the power. If we don’t like what they are doing, we can pick different leaders.
Now here’s something you may not realize: millions and perhaps billions of us are convinced this is bullshit. You may think that only a small impotent minority are rebels who see the truth — that our leaders have failed, they take bribes from the wealthy, policy is for sale to the highest bidder and, if we don’t do something very different, our climate will collapse.
It’s not just you and a tiny bunch of powerless people who see this. It’s many, many millions, perhaps billions who know this.
This is how Occupy went from a single action on Wall Street to a gigantic worldwide movement visible everywhere in a matter of weeks. It’s how income inequality and the 99% vs. the 1% became a thing. It already WAS a thing for millions — perhaps billions — of people. But nobody knew, including those who became participants in the movement.
Everyone thought: It’s just me. Nobody else understands.
The exact same thing is happening with the climate. Only there’s no visible movement to join, no way (yet) of seeing all those millions or billions of people. So we THINK there’s no movement.
But there is a movement. It’s just invisible and it needs some sort of spark to catch fire.
There’s a concept, a human attribute, identified by social scientists that applies to this: “pluralistic ignorance.” But this article isn’t about that and I’m not a social scientist. What I’m looking for is a way to light the spark and release the power of this latent movement, the movement that could save our species.
YOU may soon be a key member of this movement, an early adapter, a brave noisemaker.
The Unstoppable Power of the Powerless
The “great men” theory of how the world works de-fangs ordinary people and labels them as viewers. As long as we believe only “great men” can change the world, we don’t even try to act. We decide in advance that we are powerless.
But that idea is false. And we SEE it’s false again and again. We saw ordinary people send powerful people running for their lives during the Arab Spring, at the dismantling of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of the Soviet Union. We saw it a few weeks ago when the people of Sri Lanka deposed their leader.
Not a single “great man” in sight. Just ordinary people like you and me who said “enough.” Yeah, there are alternate explanations for these events, about how secret powers were behind them. That’s crap. Don’t by it.
The powerful are simply human beings who have swindled other people to obey them. As soon as obedience ends, those powerful people are just a bunch of impotent old men. Deep down, we all know this.
Now, I’m aware that many of those uprisings ended badly. New bosses as bad or worse than their predecessors often took power. But the fact remains: so-called powerful people were removed by ordinary people — usually without firing a shot. Keep that in mind.
A large number of people acting on a common belief can make enormous changes, very quickly.
Where YOU Come In
I’m still looking how to light the spark. I don’t know how to do it, but I know it can be done. If you have ideas, write them in the comments area below.
What we must do is increase our visibility. We need to reach the point where we can SEE that our numbers are huge, that people aren’t willingly giving up on the future of their children or the habitability of the Earth.
We just feel alone and we don’t know what to do.
So make some noise. Speak up publicly. Here’s one way to say it:
We all know that the climate is collapsing and that our leaders everywhere have failed. They had DECADES of warning and never made a meaningful effort to slash fossil fuel use. In fact, they propped up fossil fuels. We need to send them packing and put the people who will inherit this damaged Earth in charge NOW: young people, especially young climate activists. We have no more time to waste. Climate scientists must be put in charge of an emergency program to fix the climate. They have the know-how and will do whatever can be done — if we allow them and support them. That’s our only chance. We ALL know this.
Use whatever words you prefer. Just say this publicly. Tell your “representative.” Any time you are near a crowd or around powerful people, talk about this. Forcefully. Don’t give ground. Don’t back off. Be firm. This will inspire others and let them know they aren’t alone. I understand that it’s uncomfortable to do this, but it’s the right things to do. Please try.
Stop Predicting the Future and Start Making It
Although I don’t know everything we need to do to make this work, I have written a 400 word framework that explains the situation and proposes action. It’s called A Climate Declaration.
I intend to keep working on this problem until the change has come. I’ve been writing, making videos, producing flyers. I’ve been posting copies of A Climate Declaration on telephone polls. I’ll be contacting people who have more visibility than I do, asking THEM to make some noise on behalf of this movement.
The movement is latent. It may never materialize. But it’s our responsibility to make sure that it does.