I want to address the notion that we can stop climate change with small, consumer-based collective action.
Now – I do take individual actions and always have, mainly because I’m white, able-bodied, in good health and middle class so have always had the privilege that makes this quite easy to do.
But these days …. most of my energy goes into activism and exploring alternatives to capitalism, because cycling to work and recycling my rubbish isn’t even close to enough to address the looming crisis.
The sad fact is, we can all give up disposable straws and stop using glitter and buy canvas shopping bags and we’re still going to wipe ourselves out.
Green capitalism might kill us a little more slowly, perhaps (I’m not even sure it’ll achieve that), but it’s still going to kill us.
The green movement has made great, visible strides in more sustainable production and sourcing, and yet we are still careering into climate crisis – in fact it is already here.
So. What’s the plan?
There is a *very* good argument, especially for people with limited energy and/or higher levels of marginalisation and oppression, for saving one’s time, vigour and focus for social and financial activism and resisting the current upsurge of fascism, or just bloody existing in a world that says you shouldn’t, rather than spending your limited energy on that extra hour using a bus to get to work.
Personally, I have had the blessing of a background and circumstances that have allowed me to step out of the traditional labour market to carry out the social and financial experiment that is The Art House – using creativity and community and providing a physical space to address some of the bigger issues at a grassroots and personal level.
Every day we’re pushing it further and further away from the ‘status quo’ and yes, we recycle and compost, too, but that’s not our focus.
I’m not saying we’re perfect (we really aren’t) but, within the system we have, we are exploring a new way, we’re listening and learning and we’re sharing it with others who are doing the same. I hope we get to keep doing it – fundraising link in the comments 🙂
This is why we need to relax about people who need straws using disposable plastic straws – it’s hard to dismantle this system when you’re thirsty, folks. A lot of disabled activists are really working at the front lines whilst we ableds lecture them on why they can’t have a bendy straw because it’s ‘bad for the planet’.
For a disabled person, just existing is a powerful act of resistance to the same system that’s going to drive humanity to extinction.
Let that sink in for a second if it’s never occurred to you before.
We need to think bigger!
Rearranging the deckchairs and painting them green (with eco-friendly paint of course) and making sure the wood on the deckchairs is made from ‘sustainably sourced’ wood is just going to make this ship look a little nicer and ‘greener’ when it finally sinks.
And make no mistake – whilst middle class white folk stand around comparing green credentials, this ship is sinking. Fast.
This was never about what kind of things we buy or our personal habits at home. Those things are good, don’t get me wrong, but if they’re all we do …. we’re done for.
I urge everyone to get involved in whatever way you can with any organisation fighting against racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism etc – because these inequalities prop up the current system waaaaaaay more than people who use plastic spoons do.
You can also support campaigns against parasitic corporations through organisations like Greenpeace (yes I know they are not perfect) or smaller, grassroots actions.
Resist, don’t just recycle.
The idea is to fight the *system*, not simply adjust our *buying habits* within the system – do you dig me?
Do it whichever way works best for you – but do it. Write about it. Share your discoveries along the way. Connect. Build resilience. Form communities. We’re all learning here. Dive in.
Also, and this is important, do the inner work.
Capitalism lives in your brain! Root that fucker out!