A new guide to activism aims to inform and inspire a new generation of global climate campaigner
Common Dreams editor’s note: The following excerpts are taken from the Foreward, by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, and the Introduction, by 350.org campaigner Daniel Hunter, of the new Climate Resistance Handbook (Or, I Was Part of a Climate Action. Now What?)recently published online. If you’re wondering how to build a powerful, strategic movement that can make big wins for climate action, this is your guide (pdf). The excerpts are published here with permission from the authors. Learn more or get your copy of the handbook here.
From the Foreward by Greta Thunberg:
I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.
Around the year 2030, we will be in a position where we set off an irreversible chain reaction beyond human control, that will most likely lead to the end of our civilisation as we know it. That is unless in that time, permanent and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society have taken place, including a reduction of CO2 emissions by at least 50%.
And please note that these calculations are depending on inven‐tions that have not yet been invented at scale, inventions that are supposed to clear the atmosphere of astronomical amounts of carbon dioxide.
People always tell me and the other millions of school strikers that we should be proud of ourselves for what we have accomplished. But the only thing that we need to look at is the emission curve. And I’m sorry, but it’s still rising. That curve is the only thing we should look at.
Every time we make a decision we should ask ourselves; how will this decision affect that curve? We should no longer measure our wealth and success in the graph that shows economic growth, but in the curve that shows the emissions of greenhouse gases. We should no longer only ask: “Have we got enough money to go through with this?” but also: “Have we got enough of the carbon budget to spare to go through with this?” That should and must become the centre of our new currency.
I hope you will join me in acting. I hope this book helps give you a place to start and to keep going.
We have to act, to change the politics that allows this destruction to continue. We have to act urgently, because we simply have to find a way.
From the Introduction, by Daniel Hunter:
The sense of urgency on climate has never been higher than now. We are in a serious crisis. If humans want to have a planet like the one we have lived on for millions of years, we have to adjust. We have to change. We have to do it quickly.
Thankfully, we have a wealth of elders to learn from. Regular people have changed the course of history. They have overthrown iron-fisted governments, fought for inclusion, for more democratic and fair systems. While those in power resisted, those with less power used social movements to force change.
We can learn from them that change does not happen just be‐cause an issue is important. People have to wage a struggle to fight for the Earth’s climate. This is because the climate has an array of ene‐mies: governments, corporations, media sources, and at times our own consumption and behavior.
So we need to bind together to create the strongest movement possible. Movements win because they channel the feelings of ur‐gency, anger, fear — and our sense of this being wrong — into a force for change.
If you’re with me, then this book is for you. Let’s begin!