Here’s a thoughtful article written by my son who is working on a farm in Tasmania. Normally he is a historical tour guide in Europe. He’s not part of any organization but just decided to take action for sake of his generation’s future. It is amazing what he and his friends are up to. — Stephen
By Derek Leahy
I sat down in a café in Franklin, Tasmania the other day trying to sort out all that has transpired these past few weeks. You see, May 5thcould very well become a massive day of action. A lot of people from all over the world want to make their voices heard the week of May 5th. International Stop the Tar Sands Day’s circle of friends just got bigger.
Anyway, I sat down in an practically empty café (Franklin is a pretty small town), opened up my journal to a blank page and took out a pencil. With the pencil I drew four separate thought bubbles on the page for four different campaigns or movements or whatever you want to call them.
The first was for 350.org’s Climate Impacts Day, which will take place the exact same day as ISTSDay; May 5th. The second thought bubble was for the Occupy Movement because members of Occupy in Canada and the UK have stepped up recently to help us out.
The last two bubbles were for International Stop the Tar Sands Day and for Ecocide. I threw in Ecocide because of an email I had received earlier in the day (thank you Kirstie for the inspiration!). We have not talked to these guys about working together on May 5th. Yet.
From each thought bubble I drew a line straight up. At the end of the line I wrote what I thought the main issue of each movement was. For Climate Impacts Day it was extreme weather events caused by climate change. For ISTSDay it was the tar sands. For Ecocide it was fossils fuels/extractive industries. For Occupy it was the corrupting influence of “Big Money” on politics.
I circled all four of the issues, and from my new “issues” thought bubbles I drew four lines going straight up again. This time at the end of each line I wrote what I thought each movement wanted. Climate Impacts Day and 350 – stop climate change before it is too late, ISTSDay – stop tar sands development, Ecocide – make ecocide a crime and Occupy – real democracy.
Lastly, I drew four lines straight down from the original thought bubbles and wrote what I believed the methods of each movement (whether on May 5thor in general) were. Climate Impacts Day – confront politicians and the media on why they do not talk about the relationship between extreme weather events and climate change. ISTSDay – raise awareness about the tar sands. Ecocide – sending our government representativess copies of Closing the Door to Dangerous Industrial Activity concept paper to read and consider. And Occupy – occupy a space and create people’s assemblies.
I was about to put down my pencil and ponder what I had drawn when I realized I had completely forgot Transition Towns(another hypothetical partner like Ecocide). In very tiny print on the corner of the page I drew a fifth thought bubble for Transition Towns with the points response to peak oil and climate change, strengthens communities, decentralized energy production and more democratic to go with it.
Finally, I put down my pencil. I looked at my now five thought bubbles and began to think of the links and connections between them. Where were the issues similar or the same? Where were “wants” similar? And most importantly, where did the success of one movement translate into success for the other?
My conclusions? I am going to keep them to myself for now. It would take a whole other blog entry to explain them and this entry is already rather long. Besides, it is actually a lot more fun to try and connect the dots yourself with a piece of paper and a pencil. You could add two more thought bubbles as well. ForestEthics will once again hold actions across the US on May 5th to convince another American company (last year it was Chiquita) to avoid using tar sands oil. I also understand that First Nations Peoples from BC will begin their journey across Canada very soon to speak out against Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline.
I do not know if this will all come together on May 5th. But wouldn’t it be great if it did?
First published on Derek’s blog