I was fascinated to read a letter in support of the Extinction Rebellion last week, expressing support, as business people, for the aims of XR. After 24 years focused on voluntary business efforts on sustainable development, last year I abandoned that to explore different approaches to our climate disaster. That included supporting people putting together […]
?You Gather? -Vegan and Climate Activism (for Heroines and Heroes) #14
Hello heroines. Heroes, how are you doing? Are you keeping a lid on the patriarchy? I hope so.
Woohoo it’s kicking off in London! Look at this video! Especially the kids having fun! Bring your kids to London to rebel!
Believe it or not, my heart has been very heavy today. Heavy with planetary grief and personal loneliness. And heavy because I couldn’t find the inspiration to write this post -that is, until I visited my friend the River Taw.
Until a few weeks ago I had been heavily involved with the international Extinction Rebellion (XR) but right now I have taken a step back. I am still fully supportive of XR. I need a rest, I need to play it cool with the Law to get a visiting visa to Canada, and I need to focus on Epic Tomorrows. We do have to be strategic as front-line activists as to how and when we get arrested (if at all), and as to how we manage our time and lives in general.
I will admit I am finding the gathering, listing and curating of websites into spreadsheets for my Well Gathered workbook terminally boring at times. But I also have intense flashes of vision as to how this gathering is leading towards a truly valuable service that could help speed up activism the world over. That may sound bold, but if you are as obsessive as I am about the truth, and how to present the truth to make positive change, you will understand my claim!
Gathering information this past week about farms and slaughterhouses in the UK, particularly as regards farm animal welfare, it occurred to me how vast a spell society is under when it comes to where and how our food is produced. Spell is surely the right word. We do not live in a scientific society or a rational society, let alone a humane one.
I have often heard the ills of the modern world blamed on positivist and Enlightenment thinking -specifically that the only valid knowledge is that which is scientifically verified. Yet when it comes to modern industrialised farming, especially animal agriculture, no amount of scientific verification that the industry is wrecking biodiversity, the atmosphere, animal welfare and human health, seems to affect its continuance.
The media has a lot to answer for, of course. I look back incredulously at my childhood and the flood of tv adverts that I must have absorbed, telling me that pasteurised, homogenised cow’s milk is the best source of calcium. (I have now researched this to be a ridiculous claim. I will write a post on this within the next fortnight).
It is only by gathering enough information, misinformation and disinformation on an issue that we can learn the truth enough to communicate it to make change. Once we have learnt that truth, we must be as strategic as possible in how we apply that truth to our activism -including in the messaging that we convey to prospective supporters.
Well Gathered is my attempt to provide a tool which helps you gather the truth and then employ it in activist strategy.
Back to XR -daily my heart is both lifted and torn to see the various extensive news items about the Rebels in London. Torn because part of me wishes I was there. They are holding down at least four different locations, including Waterloo Bridge where hundreds of arrests have taken place since the beginning of the Rebellion on the 15th. Here’s Caspar of the Climate Media Coalition in a photo of the bridge he uploaded to Facebook this evening. (I will get to those ‘5 reasons…’ of the post title, just bear with me!)
I have been smiling at the scenes on Waterloo and at Oxford Circus which can be described as more of a party than a protest. So far I have witnessed (remotely) the transforming of Waterloo Bridge into an urban garden, a classical violin concerto at the same location, a massive pink boat bolted into the ground in the middle of Oxford Circus (illegally of course) and dozens of Rebels being carried off by police amongst cheering crowds.
Then I read critical comments of XR from folk on Facebook who just don’t seem to get it -and by ‘it’ I mean the severity of the ecological crisis we are in. Yes it would be better if XR had more of a diverse ethnic and class representation, but it doesn’t. We are still trying. You won’t beat us with whining criticisms or even intelligent (but still whingey) online articles, so please join us and help us improve in those areas where we obviously need improvement. Cornwall veteran Rebel Zoe Young puts it better on Facebook:
God knows I realise that in XR we need to appeal to so many more people and types of people than we are currently doing. I thought this Guardian video was really excellent in its inclusion of the two young women who made the point that if it was a group of mainly black people sitting down in the road, they would have been arrested much sooner (most probably).
Personally I am wondering about the builders working on a new block of flats right opposite the block I’m in. How could they be persuaded to the XR cause? How can I teach them about the severity of the ecological crisis? In a way that they will listen?
Being quite alone in my flat, everything I feel as I engage with folk online (even if it is only one-way engagement) seems to be magnified -drawn in sharp relief against the emotionally uneventful -and not a little stressed- background of my day to day life right now. It seems as if the stress and the uniformity (dullness?) I am currently experiencing are pre-requisites to the business launch of Epic Tomorrows, but actually I know it doesn’t have to be like that.
Indeed I have had moments this week of relaxing -relinquishing personal rules that aren’t serving me and taking on new guidelines of efficiency, as well as allowing a little spontaneity here and there.
One such spontaneous moment was this morning. I couldn’t face beginning this post. (Yes I know, I know, and now it’s too long). I felt so lonely. I have begun a relationship with a woman in Canada -the plan is that she will move here to live with me. We’ve been getting on extraordinarily well, but not being physically in each other’s presence is of course frustrating and can make the loneliness in-between our communications more acute.
With it being a nice sunny day, I decided to get down to the Taw for a little relaxation and refreshment. I found my regular sitting spot with the intention of finding some inspiration for today’s post.
Realising that I was dehydrated and hadn’t brought water, and not trusting that the river Taw doesn’t have toxic agricultural run-off in it, I stayed only long enough to read the first story in the gathering of tales that is ‘Fearless Girls, Wise Women and Beloved Sisters’ by Kathleen Ragan. (The featured image at the top of this post is the front cover.)
I was indeed inspired by ‘The Stolen Bairn and the Sidh’, a folk tale from Scotland. To cut a short story even shorter, a human woman leaves her baby (bairn) on a cliff path to go in search of water (not advisable at the best of times). Of course the Sidh (big fairy type beings) make off with the bairn and take it to their kingdom.
Our heroine can only enter the kingdom to retrieve the baby if she presents two objects of uncommon beauty and value to the Sidh, which she does by crafting original objects with her own hands. The first object is a gown made from downy feathers that she collects from the cliff-side, shed from eider ducks, with her own golden hair sown in which she cuts off for the purpose. The second object is a harp made from a whale bone washed up on the beach, strung with some more of her hair.
After reading the story it struck me how the climate and ecological catastrophe that is unfolding around us can be likened to the kingdom of the mean Sidh. The fairies are not evil but presented as mischievous and thoroughly misguided, in the same way that our fossil fuel CEOs are. The bairn is all our children, our nephews and nieces who are currently held hostage by a future that we have as yet failed to avert.
In order to get our bairn back, we must use two unusual and rare forces. The first is mass civil disobedience. The second, put in motion by the first, is participatory democracy. There will be no quick techo-fixes, which is why our own hands, our own hard work are implicated in both of these forces.
We must cut off our hair -in other words our vanity and consumerist egos– in order to employ these forces effectively. Moreover, movements like XR for me can only be the very beginning of a long journey to respond effectively to The Evidence of the declining efficiency and growing evils of neoliberal capitalist economics.
So now I will get round to the original point of this post, which was intended to catch any straggling vegan activists who for some reason haven’t made it to London to join XR (maybe it’s a good reason, like mine is).
6 reasons for all hardcore vegan activists to get to London RIGHT NOW!
1) XR needs your energy! Some vegans have been amongst the highest energy, most focused people I have met, and game for a fight, metaphorically speaking. For some vegans it may be something to do with the discipline of keeping a vegan diet, in the beginning, which is hard if you are not used to it. I know this discipline has given me a feeling of focus and sharpness, which is akin to how I have felt in the austere environments of Theravadin Buddhist monasteries. As long as it is peaceful, can you bring this energy to London right now please? Folk are being arrested on Waterloo Bridge and at other locations all the time, with a constant need for reinforcements. It’s fine to bring your kids and you don’t have to be ‘an arrestable’.
2) There are already lots of vegans involved in XR. I know them personally. XR naturally attracts vegans because it is a peaceful, compassionate, heartfelt movement for ecological justice. Listen to this Talk Radio segment to hear about how the police are baffled at how happy the XR activists are, even as they are getting arrested.
3) Living vegan alone is nowhere near enough to save the planet / save our civilisation from collapse. I expand on this a little in point 1) of the most popular post I have ever written here.
4) We need to get more strategic about our activism and the way that issues intersect. Any serious vegan, I would suggest, should also be campaigning on the addressing of climate breakdown and biodiversity loss, as the meat industry is heavily implicated in both. If XR achieves its aims of the creation of a national citizens’ assembly to oversee reduction to carbon zero by 2025, then naturally a drastic reduction of large-scale industrialised meat farming in the UK will occur. But first we need to achieve our aims. Bake some vegan cakes and get to London!!
5) It could be good PR for veganism as a stand-alone issue, if you get to London now. There have been unlimited news reports on the XR actions in London and internationally in the past few days, including some sympathetic Financial Times and Sky News coverage. Make your vegan signs, be creative and gentle and suggestive with them! Mingle into the general XR signage. You may even be able to gather enough vegans together in London to do a separate vegan action at a well-known meat establishment. How about a sign that reads:
‘Vegan for XR’ ??? or even just ‘XR Vegan’ (XRV) ???
6) It’s fun! There are all kinds of civilly disobedient shenanigans going on. Watch wonderful example:
Thanks for reading! Please like, comment, share or slam! Additionally, feel free to drop me a line at email@example.com to help me evolve in my service to you, (or just give me a load of abuse if that’s your thing). Subscribe to blog posts by email at the top of the sidebar. Click here to buy the WELL GATHERED Workbook. Heroic!
Here’s the Facebook version of this post (click on the little blue ‘f’ to go there!):
[Latest XR London arrests: over 400 and counting]
A re-post from my friend Stu of Extinction Rebellion (XR). Many of the subjects covered relate to Epic Tomorrows.
Yes, yes, I know. The climate is breaking down. It’s urgent. An emergency. We’ve only got a few years left to ‘fix’ it.
Indeed, we won’t fix it. Weather patterns will become increasingly unstable and unpredictable, and the effects it will soon have on how humans around the world grow food will be devastating, likely causing harvests to fail across entire continents and food prices to sky-rocket. Millions have already suffered due to the amplified instability. We’re facing imminent societal collapse (whatever that means), both around the world and in the UK. All of our lives are soon going to radically change.
None of this is particularly controversial. When a bus is driving with a certain momentum towards a person, it gets clearer and clearer that it will hit the person. After a certain point, it’s inevitable. And that’s where we stand now, with regards to the momentum of climatic change. The bus is about to hit us. Our lives are about to change. It’s not clear whether or not we’ll survive (as a species). Many species have already been run over. Two hundred species each and every day go extinct.
I’ve been with Extinction Rebellion (XR) from the start. I was one of the 15 people in April 2018 who came together and made the collective decision to try to create the conditions that would initiate a rebellion. I was a coordinator of one of the original five working groups, and I’ve been organising with XR day-and-night since then (frugally living off my savings so I don’t have to work, having quit an industry that paid me £1000/week). And I’ve been in RisingUp (the organisation from which XR has emerged) since the first RisingUp action in November 2016. I’m a RisingUp Holding Group member, and a member of the XR Guardianship Team.
And for the sake of transparency: that previous paragraph is all about me ‘pulling rank’ — I’m trying to convince you to listen to what I have to say…
And I’m here to say that XR isn’t about the climate. You see, the climate’s breakdown is a symptom of a toxic system of that has infected the ways we relate to each other as humans and to all life. This was exacerbated when European ‘civilisation’ was spread around the globe through cruelty and violence (especially) over the last 600 years of colonialism, although the roots of the infections go much further back.
As Europeans spread their toxicity around the world, they brought torture, genocide, carnage and suffering to the ends of the earth. Their cultural myths justified the horrors, such as the idea that indigenous people were animals (not humans), and therefore God had given us dominion over them. This was used to justify a multi-continent-wide genocide of tens of millions of people. The coming of the scientific era saw this intensify, as the world around us was increasingly seen as ‘dead’ matter — just sitting there waiting for us to exploit it and use it up. We’re now using it up faster than ever.
Euro-Americans violently imposed and taught dangerous delusions that they used to justify the exploitation and reinforced our dominance, while silencing worldviews that differed or challenged them. The UK’s hand in this was enormous, as can be seen by the size of the former British empire, and the dominance of the English language around the world. There is stark evidence that everyday racial bias continues in Britain, now, today. It’s worth naming some of these constructed delusions that have been coded into societies and institutions around the world:
- The delusion of white-supremacy centres whiteness and the experience of white people, constructing and perpetuating the myth that white people and their lives are somehow inherently better and more valuable than people of colour.
- The delusion of patriarchy centres the male experience, and excludes/hinders female assigned people from public life (reducing them to a possession or object for ownership or consumption). Patriarchy teaches dominating and competitive behaviours, and emphasises the idea that the world is a place of scarcity, separation and powerlessness.
- The delusions of Eurocentrism include the notion that Europeans know what is best for the world.
- The delusions of hetero-sexism/heteronormativity propagate the idea that heterosexuality is ‘normal’ and that other expressions of sexuality are deviant.
- The delusions of class hierarchy uphold the theory that the rich elite are better/smarter/nobler than the rest of us, and make therefore better decisions.
There are other delusions. These delusions have become ingrained in all of us, taught to us from a very young age.
None of these delusions have ended, although some of the arguments that supported them (e.g. phrenology) have been dispelled. They continue to play out through each of us, in our ways of relating, regardless of our identity. The current pride in the history of the British empire, or the idea that the USA is on the side of ‘good’, continues to enable neo-colonialism in 2019, taking the form of palm-oil plantations, resources wars, and the parasitical financial sector, to name but a few. The task of Extinction Rebellion is to dispel these delusions. We need to cure the causes of the infection, not just alleviate the symptoms. To focus on the climate’s breakdown (the symptom) without focusing attention on these toxic delusions (the causes) is a form a denialism. Worse, it’s a racist and sexist form of denialism, that takes away from the necessary focus of the need for all of us to de-colonise our selves.
My ancestors are European, some of whom claimed to ‘own’ people as slaves. There are black people with the name Basden in the Americas, and I have begun to mobilise my (white) family to make contact in order to seek to pay reparations.
However, my own accountability cannot be fully paid through this. The insanity* of the mind of the coloniser continues today. It continues in the extraction of fossil fuels, minerals and water from the earth. It continues in deforestation and industrial agriculture. It continues in a callous culture of consumption, which intensifies each Christmas. It continues in evictions and deportations. It continues in the ways of relating to those around us that perpetuate separation and division.
The result is isolation, pain and suffering. The result can be felt at the individual level — in the endemic levels of loneliness and mental-health illness. It can be felt at the community level — in the theft of land for plunder and profit by largely-European-and-US-based banks and corporations. And it can be felt at the global level — in the polluting of our air and oceans.
So Extinction Rebellion isn’t about the climate. It’s not even about ‘climate justice’**, although that is also important. If we only talk about the climate, we’re missing the deeper problems plaguing our culture. And if we don’t excise the cause of the infection, we can never hope to heal from it.
This article is calling to all of those who are involved in XR who sometimes slip into saying it’s a climate movement. It’s a call to the American rebels who made a banner saying “CLIMATE extinction rebellion”. It’s a call to the XR Media & Messaging teams to never get sloppy with the messaging and ‘reduce’ it to climate issues. It’s a call to the XR community to never say we’re a climate movement. Because we’re not. We’re a Rebellion. And we’re rebelling to highlight and heal from the insanity that is leading to our extinction. Now tell the truth and act like it.
* I use the term ‘insanity’ carefully, with the intention of highlighting the need for healing. Indigenous First Nation people helpfully taught me to see the mindset of the coloniser as a sickness. In no way do I intend to marginalise or discredit the experience of people who have been labelled ‘insane’ by a normative system, nor who identify as being ‘insane’.
** Climate Justice refers to the injustice that those who are affected first and worst by extreme weather events (the people in the poorer countries, the majority of whom live in the Global South) are not likely to be the ones who caused the climate emissions (the people who consume the most, including the pathologically wasteful cultures of Europe and Turtle Island (aka North America), and the rich who live/travel around the world).
!Heroines. Heroes. Activists. Are you having a legendary time?
Forget about Valentine’s Day -we have work to do!
I’m starting to write this post with a burning in my writing hand. This can only be a good sign. The real reason for it is the young stinging nettles I picked from the hedgerow earlier to break my half day fast. (Come on vegans, learn how to forage in the coming climate chaos!!!) In my mythic imagination though, I can fantasise that the gods have instilled this burning in my being to bring out a communicator of heroic proportions. Let me be Metis, the Titaness of wise counsel!
Ah, how I love the play of synchronicity through my everyday life! As I search for an image of the goddess Metis online, a different meaning of the word Metis appears. The Metis Nation of Western Canada are a Nation of mixed indigenous and Euro-American ancestry. Their symbol, the featured image for this post, reminds me of both the mathematical symbol for infinity, and a super-heroine’s mask.
The Metis language ‘Michif’ is a mix of Cree and French. This brings me to another synchronicity. About a week ago I received a friend request on Facebook from ‘Daphnee’, a French-Canadian who is the co-ordinator for XR (Extinction Rebellion) Prince Edward Island in the northeast of Canada. Here they are. We started chatting online, resulting in agreeing to have a videocall (we haven’t yet) and Daphnee provisionally agreeing to be another editor on XR Blog. I founded XR Blog for Extinction Rebellion and am now a co-editor on the blog with an increasingly international team.
I started messaging Daphnee from an off-grid wooden cabin in the middle of a young woodland in mid-Devon, where I go sometimes to take a break from modern technology (so it didn’t quite work this time!) and do some nourishing physical work. Worried as I am about the food and energy security of my future, it’s nice to know I can still split wood with wedges and a sledgehammer. During my couple of days in the woods I received a vision related to Daphnee, which I haven’t told her all about yet. I’ll let you know next time. Suffice to say, I am not a superstitious kind of person, but when I occasionally receive these visions I take them very seriously.
Anyway, I suppose you’re looking for news on how it’s going with developing my Earth-saving heroic informational product, designed with vital (but perhaps slightly impatient) vegan and climate heroines (and heroes) like you in mind??? Well, I can tell you that the Well Gathered Workbook is progressing nicely thank you!
In the last couple of weeks I have actually got round to starting the product building (yes, I know, it’s a bit late after all the fuss I’ve been making). I am starting with a spreadsheet within the Well Gathered Workbook which focuses on online climate science resources. I have been finding in my own exploration of these complex resources that, in my opinion, guidance for activists is definitely needed. I came across this site, which is a great resource (and I will be listing it), and yet, some of the links are out of date (possibly because the sites no longer exist) and there is not enough assessment of quality of the sites. In the Well Gathered Workbook climate science sheet I will be assessing quality of sites, including my ‘best picks’ from the sites listed on the site linked to above.
One such best pick is this staggeringly useful website, which includes this database of climate disinformation, comprehensively listing information about individuals and organisations involved in the climate breakdown denial industry (there are a surprising amount of them!).
I’m also thrilled that two people got in touch to reserve their copies of the Well Gathered Workbook (okay, so one of them is a friend!).
In other activism related news (from my life!), I got back from a therapeutic day out the other day on a ‘Play Day’ (see Christie Animas’ amazing ‘Fooling’ here) to find a hand-written note pushed through my letterbox. For the second time in a few months, the Counter Terrorism Unit of Devon and Cornwall police wanted to talk to me to ‘discuss my interest in environmentalism.’ Yeah right.
I was unsettled, but not too much so. I contacted the excellent people of XR Exeter and they offered support. The next day I also phoned Green and Blacks, who offer advice for activists and free services from lawyers affiliated with them. Soon enough I had an email written for me by Kelly’s solicitors in Brighton addressed to Devon and Cornwall CTU, warning them off. The great result, which I was cc-ed into, is that for the time being I will be left alone. The attention was due to the action I related in this post.
If you are a hardcore front-line non-violent arrestable activist, I encourage you to sit through the fear induced by police visits like the ones I have received. Urgent climate and ecological breakdown demand that we be brave and sit through the scare tactics. I’m a very sensitive guy, and I’ve suffered from my fair share of mental health difficulties, but I can assure you that resilience in the face of the cops, like anything, gets easier over time.
However, this resilience will only be developed if you have robust self-care practices in place in your life. For myself, living alone in a flat and physically isolated for most of the time, these practices are particularly important to keep up. So I walk in Nature, I have enough phone-calls with friends, especially empathic activist friends, and I connect with family. I can’t tell you how nourished I felt the other day when I visited my sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew. My bro-in-law is an excellent chef and cooked some amazing vegan meals -I mean seriously mouth-watering, from this book. Okay, so I know we don’t all have a great biological family. So which friendships can you cultivate to the point that they feel like family?
So I really feel like I am starting to gather well. ‘Gathering well’ is a mission that all modern people are called to upon to do, especially activists. And sometimes it takes a fair amount of heroism. Sitting through the scary stuff. You and I are increasingly called upon to gather our influences, our families, the practices that we know are good for us and the information that we know could be useful to us. Most of all we need to gather our courage and strength, so that we may begin to face the bumpy (to say the very least) transition to post-carbon, post-globalised humanity, on a soon-to-be vastly warmer world which in the not-too-unlikely worst case may reduce our population to a few thousand breeding pairs.
My role for Epic Tomorrows is to save you time (yes I know you’re busy heroically fighting the multi-headed monsters of the carbon industry and the industrial meat industry). Whether it’s gathering insight from my experiences as a front-line arrestable activist, or collecting and recording the in-depth insights I’m gaining from developing as a highly discerning surfer of the net, I trust that I will start to save you a little time. Obviously, the Well Gathered Workbook is my way of saving you time whilst (just beginning) making a living for myself.
So before I wind up, my recommended rebel political listening for this week is ‘Why We Build The Wall’ by Anais Mitchell. Let us make as many international connections as possible and refrain from building unnecessary walls out of fear, as the global situation deteriorates, as it likely will (overall) for some time to come.
By the way, for those of you who were expecting the Queen Left interview on 14th of February, Queen somehow didn’t get some emails of mine, so we are postponing the interview for a few weeks now. (Listen to her on the Epic Tomorrows frontpage here).
So with my fingers still pleasantly burning from the nettles, I want to tell you to forget about Eros, that silly love-struck boy. Think of Metis the wise counsellor, gatherer of wisdom, who preceded Zeus chronologically in the Greek pantheon. Metis who caused Athena, fully armoured, to be born from Zeus’ forehead.
Today is the day that School Strikes for Climate are launching across the UK, including in my home city of Exeter.
Heroines and heroes, go forth!
As always, feel free to comment or contact me with your vegan and climate activist dilemmas on firstname.lastname@example.org. I will do my best to find the answers for you. Also feel free to sign up to my posts by email, by clicking the button in the Epic Tomorrows sidebar. Finally, if you would like to order your copy of the Well Gathered Workbook, let me know. I will be capping early sales at 30 for five quid each, so that I can concentrate on engaging with my first customers and getting good feedback / providing extra help and mentoring to them. So contact me to be one of the lucky 30. Thanks.
#devonindies #devonindiecreator #supportindiecreators
The last few days has been family time. My family are not vegan and they are not activists, but I love them all the same. My mum is proud of my direct action climate activism with Extinction Rebellion (XR). She said something about wishing she had engaged in such activism, but not feeling able to, and being therefore glad that I am engaged instead.
I’m in Somerset, Hatch Beauchamp -the village where my mum and step-dad live. I have a stinking cold. I’m looking back over a year of turbulence. Turbulence in my own life but also in the field of climate science and the politics that is affected by that science. Every now and again I have doubted the mainstream consensus view on anthropogenic global warming, but every time I have read even more deeply into the subject and come out with a renewed conviction that yes, we are (almost) fucked, and yes, it is almost certainly our own doing and therefore yes, we should be rebelling against our governments until they take appropriate action. I’m glad I’m with XR.
Here is an article about a recent piece of information gathering which may be of interest to you, regarding so-called ‘climate tipping points’.
As I gather my thoughts, and gather information for my product-in-development, the Well Gathered spreadsheet for vegan and climate activists, I realise something. It is this: as climate breakdown is a global issue more urgent than any other, affecting absolutely everyone, the response must be a radically inclusive one, which means a non-binary one.
This means that as radical climate activists we must build bridges between all opposing ideologies, identities and groups, in the name of saving humanity itself and the many other species in danger of extinction. This includes building bridges between the religious and the non-religious, between the different religions, between opposing political viewpoints and between vegans and meat-eaters.
It may be up to those of us who are vegans to take the initiative in building bridges with our meat-eating human brethren. I urge all militant vegans to look at the bigger picture here -if we can work together as a species to tackle climate breakdown, then naturally more meat eaters will go vegan. On a scientific level it’s well established that humans need to switch to a more plant-based diet for a sustainable future on Earth, including in response to global CO2 emissions and the paucity of carbon sinks worldwide, with forests cleared by the agricultural industry -particularly meat and dairy- and the growing threat of forest fires.
Practically speaking, the bridges will be built more quickly if vegans set a great example as non-violent direct action activists at the forefront of the climate rebellion -that rebellion that includes XR, that is gathering momentum daily now. As XR has demonstrated, non-violence is the key to success, which includes non-violence in communication. Partly this means, if you want to assure a future for humanity in the long-run alongside a diversity of other species, it’s best you don’t pick fights with meat-eaters (or anyone).
Vegans and climate activists all, it’s time we got our shit together.
As none of you will know (unless you’re reading this on Facebook) I’ve been involved with some of that there ole climate activism recently (as the Devon elders of my village probably never say). The radical kind that gets you arrested and whatnot. Fridays (today is a Friday) I am now having as ‘regenerative culture’ days, where I fast for most of the day, reflect on groundedness and take a breather from my combined activist-entrepreneur lifestyle. Extinction Rebellion is the non-violent direct action campaign that I am involved with. See the UK page here. On one level it’s a blast. On another level, it’s a very serious business -the most serious thing I have ever been involved with in my life. Extinction Rebellion (XR) is the very good reason behind me neglecting this blog recently.
I don’t regret anything. I have made some great friends in XR, learnt a whole lot about human-caused climate breakdown and I continue to work for the movement, for radical system change in the light of The Evidence of worsening ecological collapse -it’s a good job I’m long-sighted. I support XR even to the point of being arrested in London for peacefully blocking roads with hundreds of others. This is what happened a couple of weeks back.
But now it’s time for me to step back a little, to concentrate on self-regeneration and making a living. If I can’t generate an income for myself, then I can’t afford the luxury of being deeply involved in an activist movement. Not unless I renounced materialism completely, which I’m not prepared to do. My time spent in monasteries in my twenties has given me some good meditation skills and helped cultivate something of a non-attachment to life, but I choose to be materialistic right now, to be able to generate some cash to move about a bit, and maybe even to generate enough eventually, to redirect it to support causes like XR. And I’ll be careful about where and who that income comes from too.
Today, a Friday fast day, I made sure to get some air outside, walking the footpaths of North Tawton village in the biting cold. I enjoyed the bite of both the wind and the hunger pangs which I know strengthen this body for potentially tough times ahead -on the global level which I have strong empathy for.
Earlier, before my walk, I reflected on the product I am building, for a later release now of 29th March 2019. I have been collecting data for this product -a spreadsheet for activists, particularly vegan and climate activists in southwest England- by bookmarking websites. In the midst of this gathering work I realised that the most important kind of gathering is collecting of the self, in this modern society that is full of much opportunity (for some, for the privileged entrepreneur like me) and also so much fragmentation (for most of us). It is the greatest personal, even spiritual, work in modern times to collect everything you need -information, practices, parts of yourself- that may have been rendered inaccessible to you for a long time, or even since forever.
During my activism and reading recently I have encountered problematic dynamics between vegans and non-vegans, and also a lack of comprehensive efforts between vegan and climate movements to join together on some actions and campaigns. I hope that with my upcoming informational product I will gather and curate information in such a way as to encourage climate and vegan activists to work together more. I am vegan myself (usually!), but not militantly. I do empathise with militant vegans, I am just not one of you. If you are one, I would like to support you in getting through to non-vegans, at least non-vegan climate activists, in a diplomatic way.
It may be trite to say ‘We could all do with getting along more’, but it’s true, and I think we will see more co-operation between various environmental activist movements as the global ecological situation becomes more urgent still.
However, we must mindfully gather ourselves together, before attempting to gather others.
Listen to the audio representation of this post on Soundcloud here.
Square in The Face
Rise For Climate is an international movement that today will see over 850 rallies happening around the world to demand climate justice from governments and corporations.
This is a great initiative, but will it be enough? Extinction Rebellion goes one step further. As members of XR we are employing mass civil disobedience (for instance, road blocks) to demand action NOW.
Sometimes I get accused of being miserable, of not knowing how to have fun, even of being ‘square’. But these people don’t see when I’m dancing around my flat or in a trance playing jazz dance on my electric piano. I may be square to some, if square means wanting to live meticulously in a way which improves the suffering lot of the species -including humans- on this planet. A lot which it is very reasonable to project will worsen due to climate breakdown in the coming decades.
I only appear square at face value because I am looking civilisation square in the face. You don’t face me by calling me names. If you dare face me, look at the dying civilisation reflected in my eyes.
The Voice in The Night
A few nights ago, in the middle of the night, a man’s voice stated to me plainly,
‘I didn’t know about it. Nobody told me.’
He was referring to climate breakdown and he was referring to the Extinction Rebellion.
I think this man has a job which involves some manual work. I think he works in engineering, but in some kind of assistant capacity. He is fairly switched on about trends in society and politics, but he knows next to nothing about climate breakdown (or what he would call ‘climate change’).
This man is indicative of the massive problem we have around climate breakdown -that most of even the most intelligent people in society are not aware of it.
This man’s voice was a warning to me. He was calling to me from the future. He was asking me to try my hardest to get through to him now, even though the whole machine of industrial civilisation wants to prevent our meeting and our communicating.