There are corporate environment groups like Rainforest Action Network whose business model is environmentalism, who carry out stunts to raise money for their corporate coffers. There are then grass roots groups like Climate Rush and Climate Clamp, who carry out stunts to effect change, to raise awareness.
I was at Toynbee Hall in London for a meeting with Climate Rush.
The hall was packed. Standing room only.
Climate Rush model themselves on the suffragettes who effected change by direct action. No one in power willingly gives up power. We effect change by challenging authority.
We will only move forward on climate change if we challenge authority. This Climate Rush do very effectively, be it rushing parliament, taking tea in a station forecourt or visiting the editors of mainstream newspapers who act as though climate change does not exist.
Various speakers: Old hands from the Greenham Common Peace Camp of the 1980s, an expert on the suffragettes, Caroline Lucas MP and Tamsin from Climate Rush.
A century ago the suffragettes were badly beaten and sexually assaulted on Black Friday. They then took more violent action: burning down houses, bombings. Their most effective action was to dog the footsteps of Members of Parliament calling for votes for women.
Caroline made a flying visit between votes in the House of Commons. She highlighted how undemocratic the House was and in need of reform.
Cutting our carbon emissions is the opportunity for change to a better quality of life. We should offer people alternatives. We should have affordable and reliable public transport. No one should die in their homes of cold due to fuel poverty.
We are rapidly approaching a tipping point and have a window of opportunity of five, maybe ten years at the most, before it will be too late to act.
The government has just given the go ahead for offshore deep water drilling off Shetland. This is before a Select Committee has reported. Financial incentives have been offered!
Where to next? Black Friday must not pass without some form of action on that day.
An excellent meeting. Red sashes for those who wanted them.
I then popped along to a fundraising party by Just Do It, a film about activists by activists.
The Crude Awakening – Central London – Saturday 16 October 2010
Zero Carbon by 2030 – Friends House, Euston Road, London – Saturday 30 October 2010