We all know it’s important, but remain mired in daily trivia. Today, 1 Nov, Wanstead Village Directory hits its stands with news that eight of us are joining the throngs at COP26 to ‘add pressure’ on world leaders for a rapid and fair transition to a fossil free future. Can we really have any effect at all? Well, that’s the paradox of climate activism. The stakes could hardly be higher, but any individual action seems too small to accomplish an aim like that, having imperceptible or conceivably negative effect if we interfere with a rare meaningful development.
But what’s the alternative? Just keep doing the recycling and cycling and trusting a system that has promised but failed to deliver since 1995? If we didn’t go, we’d have missed the opportunity to stand up and be counted. Many of those who see the big picture, which for me is long-term sustainability beyond politics, have got involved only to be extremely frustrated by the lack of vision and arguments over punctuation.
What do I think I’m demonstrating? What role can a concerned but unqualified white guy from Wanstead, a citizen of the host country, have to say of any worth? Firstly I suppose, it is ‘we see you’ – remind the heads of government and other officials that they are accountable to the future. We have educated ourselves as citizens (see WCA’s book group!) as to the scale of change needed, the gaps between that and what’s promised and what’s delivered, and to some of the institutional and psychosocial obstacles to change. Secondly, again as citizens of a rich country, saying we are really global citizens and our best interests are served by not treating us as ignorant consumers concerned only with cheap flights and the trivia of economists and politicians. We want to amplify the voices of the young, the vulnerable, the global poor, of nature, of the scientists, of reality. A particular point here for me is to think bigger than the $100 bn finance target by which they media may judge ‘success’. Most of that is loans and dwarfed by the payments in the opposite direction, from poor to touch.
And yes we can do this with the silly stunts we are planning. We are demonstrating imagination. Existing systems were once themselves just imagination, and now they are ossified to the point that they are killing the biosphere.
We don’t really know what we will find on our Glaswegian adventure, despite all the hoo-hah and being inundated with information on climate-related activities and cultural events. Some are here to ‘rebel’ against the planet-destroying status quo, but we are all here to help do what seems is right, thereby demonstrating cooperation and concern.
Well, it’s 3am Monday morning and I’m expecting a busy week, so will sign off now and try to get some sleep on the coach. Expect updates from the rest of the team at least daily. Remember, climate action is not just for COP, it’s for life. The media may move on, but the reality of the crisis remains.