Extinction Rebellion Go!
Tips for the most urgent global movement
Liza Woolf asks: “What is it that you are asking me as a 20-year-old to face and to accept about my future and my life? … This is an emergency. We are facing extinction. When you ask questions like that, what is it you want me to feel?” We (the press) had no answer. (From the Guardian)
Before you begin..
An Urgent Call to Action
(Go straight to tips, if you know all this.) Life on Earth is under threat. (read this article or watch this video if this is new to you) The culprit is what we used to call the pinnacle of evolution, but perhaps better be reframed as the most ravaging monstrous species around: humans. The mass extinctions of insect life (over 75% gone) and wild life (over 60% gone) in just these last decades should be cause for urgent global alarm and immediate action. The mix of many factors, like with added Global Warming may speed up the collapse. The 12 years the UN expected might be much shorter than that. Real or not doesn’t matter, don’t harm nature! It’s the fundament of all life. We’re part of, not the masters of, a huge interconnected eco-system that took millions of years to develop . So treating nature as a commodity makes no sense at all; it’s a crime. Such treatment has to be stopped anyway. Thus far governments are silent and the huge corporations rather protect investments and keep growing like unrestrained cancers, rather than divest towards saving the planet. It’s their future as well, just like on the Titanic, everyone sinks. Can and will we learn?
Here are some tips:
- Listen. It helps find tips and considerations to reach the general public and media.
- Actions. Concrete suggestions you might want to investigate, or consider to help push the radical change across the globe.
- Big Questions. We must address complex issues to make this work, otherwise the rebellion may not work at all.
- Point to Solutions. Panic doesn’t work when it doesn’t offer solutions.
1. Listen Carefully
This might sound opposite of what you may feel like, making a lot of noice. But while making noise listen to:
Does this really convince people? You want this movement to grow, not be just another protest. So what words, actions make it go more viral? What images and examples make people stop and listen? What counter offense are lobbyists and spin doctors putting on? What lies by corrupt leaders can easily be exposed? What target audiences need an adapted message, different strategy?
Remember we all want to win this one, not just vent frustration and anger.
Every time you speak or shout, wonder; am I shouting my anger over, pain about or love for the world (that is okay and understandable)? And do I feel it helps reach others. If not, cry out your tears, then seek to adjust. If your anger doesn’t reach people, then speak from the pain underneath. If the pain is too scary for yourself or others, then speak from the love that is being damaged. If none of this helps, speak (especially for the very mental ones) facts and knowledge. Or try to speak about a desired and attainable future.
Know that you are already with millions. Indigenous people tend to focus more on awareness of interconnectedness. Activists towards waking everyone up and new methods like permaculture. The spiritual people, may use different words and images than the scientists. You all see and worry about the same thing. If you are in one of these bubbles exchange with these other groups who may use very different tactics then you. Copy what works best, but don’t push them to copy yours. Infighting is stupid and not effective.
Learn and investigate marketing and convincing methods
Marketing, influencing psychology, mass manipulation, advertising, neurology are researched and studied by millions. Professionals in these fields work for giant corporations and your government. Many have the order to protect their bosses interests through every trick available, sometimes even in unethical ways. It is both an (sick) art and science. Any old fashioned protest won’t be able to make a dent in this matrix or web of distraction, reframing, downplaying or misinterpretation. Study their methods. Pick up what works best. Consider this: most people who get afraid, and global extinction is very scary, rather hide or ignore the truth than act on it. Offering small easy steps towards a desirable future is often much more effective to get people moving.
Also learn from politicians. You may be interviewed. The press may try to put you into a corner, by focussing on a side issue, or frame you as a disturbance ignoring the real issue. Compare to how the immigrants are made into the problem, not what the Western world has done to their own countries that made them leave. Always return to the real issue. Make it so, they seem not to be listening, by perhaps asking: “What is more essential, me disturbing the peace, or the imminent collapse of our eco-system and human civilization? Can we look at the causes, the real criminals and what we can do to change course?”
Demand Daily Updates Of Progress In The Press
It should be as normal as the weather report, daily updates about what your steps your government is making and or how big corporations are (not) helping. Every day of inaction should be seen as bad weather, sad news. Every day little or big steps can be made and should give us the feeling that a difference can be made. In WWII daily reports of progress all overshadowed any local news, even in towns far from any front (especially if the Nazi’s were occupying it). That’s the kind of importance it really has. The time of distraction and sensation over a Hollywood break up should be over.
Show working examples to base massive shifts upon.
Also way too little in the news are the examples of what is possible. Yes press, help by showing this in the news and wonder how fast these examples can be implemented. In Amsterdam is a plastic free supermarket, so all supermarkets can be plastic free. In India a guy regrew biological very diverse tropical forest in ten years, so why isn’t his approach a globally copied program? When renewable energy is possible, then why do we still subsidize and listen to the oil giants who are bend on ravaging the planet. Why aren’t they divesting towards clean energy to stay alive? The loss of billions of dollars should not compare to billions of lives and having an actual future (also for these companies).
Bigger buildings can be build like termite nests, heating themselves without any energy costs. Why isn’t that the new normal? We have the tech to make vertical gardens, agro forests, why are our cities then still concrete deserts? Etc, what questions can you come up with? How to use them as push for change?
Be the media yourself
Since the corporate media won’t show it thus far, do it yourself. Flood Youtube, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and all new media with small news reports that add to the story. Retweet, forward what makes sense and helps. Focus on the one hand on wake up messages (this is the urgency we protest about) and the other (this can be done, because see here: it works already). Use both Extinction Rebellion and New Green Deal Tags as mainstream tags, so the amount of people that may be reached multiplies. If your tags are repressed, than only use mainstream tags, like that of main stream media or your government. Any short, clear, messages will do. Support viral ones, because they have the right tone.
More on dealing with Fake Media: https://medium.com/the-gentle-revolution/dealing-with-fake-manipulative-media-b603282d9c51
2. Big Action Suggestions
These are discussable. I’m thinking out loud, but don’t know yet what could help the most. I’ll re-edit other/more great ideas I hear in later.
Take Every Week One Corporation On.
Power listens to power. And rather than invest in what helps, they put millions into lies and pollution. How to stop it? Choose one culprit, a corporation making matters worse, every week. Name them by name and mention all their products henceforth to be boycotted. Start with a bank, and a few other huge corporations whose products and services can be easily targeted. Have all followers divest away from them. Yes, this may lead to self imposed austerity, but then the whole world needs to choose that over extinction. And self imposed austerity could be seen as saving up for all those great totally green products that should be coming soon.
Then move on to the bigger targets like Monsanto. They may claim it’s the temperature not their poisons killing all insects. But then decades of spraying tonnes and tonnes all across the world is harmless? What do you think?
Collective resistance to help faulty governments readjust.
When the movement gets big enough, the people can take collective action. Threaten to collectively pay no taxes when you’re being sold a war that only benefits big industries, or just distract what’s meant for war over infrastructure and a constructive future. What American interests near Iran? Haven’t they messed up enough? What bombing Yemen, for what and who? What meddling with elections to get people in power who benefit big corporations over climate, eco systems and social justice? That’s not capitalism, that’s not free enterprise. It’s tyranny.
Important Consideration for the Americans!
Read this part from your declaration of independence: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
In short “..certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness (and what other rights?)…… but when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
My questions are: Isn’t everyone’s life damaged and threatened through the denying of global warming? Aren’t many people, you(?), afraid to speak out? Aren’t minorities imprisoned for profits and gerrymandered & blacklisted to keep their voice from being heard in voting? Isn’t then their liberty damaged? Then are they not factual unequal, thus aren’t those that uphold the law, not breaking the core of the constitution? Is the pursuit of happiness hindered for many, because of the prison system, college debt, unreasonable low wages that even two jobs may not provide for your family? Isn’t there despotism when the president goes unchecked to war and declares the press as enemy? Isn’t the factual use of the tax break for the rich and money for the weapon industry proof that your government does not represent you? Haven’t the American people since the seventies experienced an increasing train of abuses and usurpations by Global corporations and billionaires? Do you fear your own intelligence services, rather than feel protected by them? If all this is so, please consider carefully, then isn’t it your right and duty .. to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.” At the least let your representatives know that if they endanger life than they are not your government according your own constitution.
Swarm or building a strong co-creative movement
Occupy and the Arabic Spring failed in the end. But they offer essential lessons. Mass movements can work and they can be derailed. Governments should understand that a mass movement for change is highly preferable over being bombed and invaded by other countries seeking revenge for plunder, places to go for their citizens and or civil war that kills millions including their families and or death of the whole human race. Be sure that becoming a mass movement you’ll be derailed, branded as criminals, disrupters or even be blamed for all that goes wrong. Yet you have to try. It’s either that or the end of human societies and perhaps even millions of years with a minimum of life.
Also when your governments crack down on leaders, than it’s essential to have spread leadership such as applied by the Zapatistas (who also have tips to make it work globally) and the Anonymous movement.
Consider an approach to collective intelligence as the basis for the movement. And equally important might be the willingness and collaboration to learn your way forward, through the tips of Learning Societies.
Live, breath, show, develop solutions and make ‘m visible.
What more to say about this? If you look puzzled: research the internet for solutions, and pick the most attractive one for you and implement it.
3. Big Questions.
Difficult times will pose difficult questions. Millions, billions are caught in a double bind. They need to feed their family. They daren’t take action. They can fear repression by their boss, government and or any group with guns. They are already happy to provide for food on the table. Same with disruption. Getting the eco criminals is one, but the side effects of disruption might lead to fascist take over in many states, millions of refugees wouldn’t get fed, civil war is the worst kind of war and the biggest criminals often do the most of the shooting. So how to liberate people from the holds their governments have over them? Over you?
How to deal with unbelievers, or people who rather trust their governments and priests, or rather enjoy their luxuries while they can? How to deal with anyone more anxious about all those immigrants (coming from places our governments and corporations ravaged) and prefer a strict patriarchal leader, because a strong daddy feels decisive and the better bet?
How to replace the old system super-fast with new ones? Who of our millions already plans to start an agro-forest, regenerative garden full of diverse plants, etc. Who can help cities to become forests open to people and many other life forms, instead of our concrete jungles? Who has the time, space and freedom to start building? What arguments might turn the billionaires into heroes who help, rather than defenders of their interests? What push may help your city to make the transition with everyone? The transition town movement and city movements can help.
How to keep all essential principles intact? How to show courage, unity, purpose and at the same time accept diversity, challenges, differences, complexities and still find ways to make it an inclusive journey? Because the end of Apartheid worked only because the whites would have a place in the new South Africa. Same here. Eco-criminals may have plundered the planet, and convinced millions ons consumers it was okay to eat foods gathered by slaves, produced by GMO’s, shipped in plastics, etc. These people will either defend themselves ugly, or feel a safe route and might even become helpful.
How to get your army, your intelligence service employees, your educators, professors all in, and yes, keep listening to what they know and suggest. Some will be lies, but others, as with a lot of fake news around global warming (also by activists who wanted to speed things up with lies) might be lies from your own side. Or they’ll have insight you haven’t. Discern with an open mind and heart. Collaborate, rather than fight. We all have a purpose to help make a difference. Don’t become the threat, be the solution.
4. Point to Solutions.
Extinction Rebellion is the alarm. It wakes people up. But then it should have an alternative ready, for panic without perspective makes people rather look away and or deny. There are so many solutions already present. Most people don’t know, because they’re hardly in the news. Regenerative Design outdoes most of sustainability. Agroforesting, reforesting, vertical gardening in cities, permaculture, bicycle infrastructures growing in many cities, and so much more. Investigate these solutions. What’s happening close to home? And or start with the trailer of 2040 or of Tomorrow (Demain).
Everyone stressed out over the mortgage should read the regrets of the dying. Nobody wishes to have worked more. Everyone wants a simpler life closer to friends and doing meaningful things. In short, about that ‘double bind’, it’s a prison and you can get out. Take for example the managers of the Lehman Borthers bank that went bust. One and a half year later almost all of them were so much happier. Too many of us think we can’t do without our wealth. Without it we can be so much more free, flexible, less stressed, etc.
Start looking at the heroes of this change. Read for example Daniel Christian Wahl’s ‘Regenerative Design’, or listen to Dr. Vandana Shiva and others at Shumacher, listen to Jane Goodall, Greta Thunberg, and so, so many others. There are so many ideas how to liberate ourselves from the traps the ‘machine world’ offers. And all are valid steps needed to be explored in order to move the whole. We are not alone. We have reason, warmth, love, vision, truth, reality, connectivity, playfulness and celebration on our side. We can be the party everyone wants to join.
“Earth is a spaceship and we’re all crew.”
Currently the captains are drunk, corrupt and not watching the icebergs enough. We have to wake them up, but so that we can avoid the icebergs. It’s not a good plan to have such arguments that the steering is altogether forgotten until the unrest aboard is solved. But the crew can do a lot. They can bring the ship to a halt, refuse alcohol to their captains, grind the motors and prevent the captains to claim the life rafts for themselves, by bringing them back to the bridge and to work.
“We cannot know what can or can’t be done, only what must be done.” The work ahead is clear. The route has yet to be decided. I hope this text helps.