Silence broken…

Thursday, 15th January 2009 at 13:10 UTC Leave a comment

World ‘needs radical cuts’ on CO2

My goodness, its only take most of three weeks to get us to our first reiteration of this classic headline since before Christmas. I guess this is  a record for the last two years, and also, of course, quite largely a result of the Israel-Gaza conflict shoving things out of the news, and with it, out of people’s minds. I’d like to claim I’m not including myself in that instance of the word “people”, but it must be said, desperate as both situations are, the one (Palestine) has utterly distracted me from the other.I guess this will always be a peril of activism when one tends to move between campaigns, especially when one’s real issue is getting people active on issues of injustice as and when they arise. If an issue of injustice becomes more stark, and it doesn’t come much more stark than Gaza right now, then there’s a tendency to rush to help mobilise around it. This in turn annoys some who feel abandoned, others who feel their issue is being hijacked by people who don’t necessarily agree with them on tactics, and others still who feel, as observers, that there isn’t a connection between the campaigns one runs from and those one runs to.

The crises also creates a problem with much longer term issues, like, for instance, Climate Change. There’s a reason why the Climate Marches aren’t turning out huge, and its because there is no real imminancy to the situation. The death toll from Climate Change didn’t start a week or two ago, and it isn’t being reported each night. There’s no big flashes to fill our TV screens, and in all, its such a slow (relative to politics) onset that most people don’t even notice it.

This can be incredibly frustrating. In terms of those affected, even counting the whole Israeli population and close non-domiciled relatives, the entire Palestinian diaspora, the Gaza conflict affects far fewer people than Climate Change. It might be more bleak now, but by the time its too late to do anything, Climate Change could be just as deadly for people in many parts of the world.

This isn’t to say that the numbers showing up on the marches and actions taking place this month are disproportionate; they’re actually really inspiring, and they’ve got me out of my winter slumber and onto the streets to actually do something. And I think that a more demo-aware public is generally a good thing, as it can challenge the assumption that politics is for politicians, and is somehow divorced from our daily reality.

But I guess I do feel quite embarrased by just how little effort I’ve been able to put into saving the entire planet in the last few weeks. Whilst the middle-east, counting in Iran and Iraq, might be the most likely cause of a global war right now, Climate Change will bring war to many parts of the world before this century is out.

I’m glad the silence of doomsaying about Climate Change has been broken, and look forwards to a ceasefire in Gaza, which, whilst I wouldn’t like to admit it, will probably mean a wholesale return to my scheduled Climate Activism, and an abandonment of my current Palestine activism. Of course, that isn’t necessarily going to be the case, but the chances of anyone finding me a 25th and 26th hour in the day (one for sleeping, the other for activism!) is pretty slim.


Entry filed under: Activism, Climate Change, News, Participation, Politics.

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