1. The principle
2. The permanence
3. I like tattoos.
From the least important to the most important, these three reasons explained…
Reason 3 – “I like tattoos”
Tattoos are showy, extraverted and individualistic, all of which match my personality well. I have to admit that these traits have brought criticism in some activist circles, but hey, I grew up on the performance stage, dancing, in a circus, and public speaking. I enjoy attention and the chance that it gives for me to express my ideas and principles. Hence this blog-post too, I suppose.
My mother worries that this tattoo is somewhat strange and psychologically unhealthy, but I feel that it is totally sane to wear my principles not only ‘on my sleeve’ but on my actual body. It is a non-violent action, a sign of my commitment to the Climate Justice movement.
After all, the cultural history of tattoos goes along with them being a sign of membership of some ‘club’, or a sign of rebellion. Therefore, I think that it is perfectly appropriate to use a tattoo to signify my membership of this rebellious, reforming, and beautiful movement!
Does anyone else have any activist or climate-activist tattoos? Post in the comments with links to your pictures!
Reason 2 – “The permanence”
A tattoo is for life, clearly. You can’t just put it on and take it off like a uniform or a style – it is part of you, forever. I enjoy thinking that one day a grandchild of mine might ask me what “climate justice”, written on my wrinkly old neck, means.
The permanence of it means a recognition that the struggle for Climate Justice will be a lifelong one – not ending in Copenhagen this December, or at some other arbitrary date – and I will work to achieve it throughout my whole life.
By the time we hit 2050, when I turn 65 (How old will YOU be?), I expect that the last 40 years of work by our movement(s) will have contributed to some incredible changes – the phasing out of fossil fuels, a rediscovery of our human values and the demise of GDP-growth-at-all-costs thinking.
The thought of that sustainable future is so tasty, so delicious, that I have no problem committing myself to decades of work to achieve it.
Reason 1 – “The principle”
Climate Justice means so many things to so many people, and to me it has two components parts – international justice, and intergenerational justice.
Internationally, the rich and over-consuming world has largely been blinded (or has chosen to turn a blind eye…) to the distant effects of its own overconsumption. The ecological, economic, cultural, security, and atmospheric effects of overconsumption have tied those in the developing world – those who have contributed least to the problem, and with the least resources to address the issues – to a harsh reality of resource shortage, poverty, colonialism, violence and now, ever-increasing climate disasters. This is unjust, and needs to be made right. An admission of fault, an acceptance of responsibility, and true global collaboration, trust and goodwill will be required to achieve justice – and hopefully we can get the World Bank out of the way too! Climate finance is key to achieving justice – see the post here.
The other part of ‘international’ climate justice comes not at the large-scale financial level, but at a much more local and personal level – achieving equity in our personal levels of consumption, across the world – the reduction and rejection of overconsumption, wherever it exists, is crucial to achieving justice. We only have one planet, so what gives any individual the right to live with an ecological footprint that exceeds their fair share?
When we deeply interrogate our values, when we give up the notion that we have the ‘right’ to over-consume (to fly, to drive, to constantly update our wardrobes, to build huge mansions, to eat meat or imported fruit shipped across the world – to do any of these things to excess), and when we start to actively reduce our overconsumption while permitting those who need it to increase their consumption to adequate, safe levels, then we start to achieve climate justice.
The final part of the principle for me is ‘intergenerational justice’. What sort of world do we want to hand to today’s youth and to future generations? To allow our greed, lust, gluttony, and sloth (From the ‘seven deadly sins’, which now seem to be the ‘seven key marketing principles’) to cause future generations suffering is far from ‘just’.
So, that is why I had “climate justice” tattooed on my neck!
As part of my commitment to this principle, I have also committed myself to Climate Justice Fast! – A hunger strike in the Gandhian tradition, in the lead-up to and at Copenhagen itself. Today, October 2, is actually Gandhi’s birthday, and so it seems appropriate to close this post with a quote of his:
“Under certain circumstances, fasting is the one weapon God has given us for use in times of utter helplessness”"