Let’s speak frankly. In the years after the failure of a climate bill to pass the US Senate and the climate treaty implosion at Copenhagen in 2009, we’ve been wandering in the wilderness figuring out what went wrong. Sure, in 2010 California’s landmark global warming law was saved from big oil’s nefariousness, but that same election put dozens and dozens of climate deniers into office.
We’ve got this pipeline issue going on; something I’ve been arrested over and slept on the ground for. I hope we win, and I will continue doing what I can to see that we do, but the pipeline is just a symptom of larger issues central to the current system (obviously).
We are now presented with a real chance to change that system: the Occupy Movement. Given how fast our civilization is hurdling toward/past climate tipping points, we have got to change the system of government to deal with the serious problems in this country. Right now profits are more important than people and the planet, grand larceny goes un-prosecuted on Wall Street, K Street lobbyists get away with legalized bribery and money-laundering, and mega-corporations plunder anything and everything they can.
In response, something is happening in the United States that has never happened before: deliberately defying unjust laws, Americans are occupying public spaces as an ongoing protest against the excesses of the 1% that own 40% of the wealth. Many of these places are important and symbolic of the power of the 1%.
Everyone I’ve spoken to at the Occupation of DC in McPherson Square (occupydc.org) understands the necessity of dealing with climate change – climate change being a symptom of deeper problems. Last night we approved the funds to buy solar panels for our encampment so we won’t have to use a gas generator.
But if the earnestness of protestors not wanting to use fossil fuels to power their movement doesn’t convince you, how’s this: I’ve watched young friends age very quickly in this struggle to stop climate change, usually by working within the accepted channels of political action. It hasn’t worked so well. So just as Bill McKibben said, we as folks worried about climate change need to participate in this movement. Hell, even Al Gore has unabashedly endorsed the Occupy Movement.
I’ll see you at the General Assembly!
PS – Environmentalists love camping. Think of it as camping where the 1% don’t want you to!