Extinction Rebellion

New Orleans    Extinction Rebellion is an interesting burst of energy and protest pushing governments, initially in the United Kingdom, to act immediately to avert catastrophic climate change.   Bursting onto the scene less than a year ago with actions in the fall and now calling for non-violent civil disobedience during the final two weeks of April, they have been front page news in London.  Their hallmark has been hard hitting, disrupting and innovative actions, which I find interesting and worth following.

More than 1000 have been arrested in London so far.  The Mayor of London mobilized more than 2000 additional police to deal with the disruption.  Attempts to confine the demonstrations to the Marble Arch in London have been unsuccessful.  Demonstrators have blocked politicians from entering the House of Parliament.  Others disrupted Parliament by disrobing there with messages printed on their bodies.  Some have super-glued various parts of their bodies, including their rear ends, to public areas to make their point.  Bridges, roads, and the London Underground have all been blocked at various times.  With Extinction Rebellion’s encouragement, actions have been joined in several other countries as well.

Their website lays out their objectives, structure, and principles:

At the core of Extinction Rebellion’s philosophy is nonviolent civil disobedience. We promote civil disobedience and rebellion because we think it is necessary- we are asking people to find their courage and to collectively do what is necessary to bring about change.

We organise in small groups. These groups are connected in a complex web that is constantly evolving as we grow and learn. We are working to build a movement that is participatory, decentralised, and inclusive.

All are welcome who want to adhere to our principles and values

  1. we have a shared vision of change

  2. we set our mission on what is necessary

  3. we need a regenerative culture

  4. we openly challenge ourselves and our toxic system

  5. we value reflecting and learning

  6. we welcome everyone and every part of everyone

  7. we actively mitigate for power

  8. we avoid blaming and shaming

  9. we are a non-violent network

  10. we are based on autonomy and decentralisation

It’s easy to critique this kind of Occupy-lite effort for the climate.  They avoid any economic or political analysis adopting a “make the government act” program rather than going after polluting businesses or policies.  They are oblivious to class and gender.  They don’t worry with sustainability, staffing, or membership.  They focus on the Chenoworth 3.5% notion as if it were a biblical guarantee, rather than a shaky post-Leninist notion.

So what?  Climate change is disruptive to the future, so it needs disruptive tactics to meet the peril and make it immediate, rather than in the by and by.  I’m not saying, let a thousand flowers bloom, but it sure wouldn’t hurt to have Extinction Rebellion and some other hellraisers taking action to stop business as usual and increase the heat on policy makers and politicians by demanding – and acting on their demands – until they force a response.  Some may take potshots at Extinction Rebellion, but for now count me in the stands cheerleading and leading the applause.  Their actions are important and make a difference.

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Fire and Rain

smoke haze along the bitteroots

Missoula  From the time we turned towards the Bitterroot Mountains and the northwestern area of Montana at Butte, we could hardly make out the mountains on either horizon for the haze being created by the fires ahead. Forty-five miles south of Missoula in Drummond, Montana we got out to see if we could see anything ahead. The smoke was not acrid. The firefighters had been active for days, but the haze was everywhere around us.

Later in the evening we prepared to drive down our familiar route along Rock Creek Road twenty-five or so miles south of Missoula. The road was closed to campers and fishers. Half was blocked off and troopers were exchanging shifts near the Fisherman’s Mercantile to prevent vehicles from proceeding any farther. We talked to the first trooper when we checked on our trailer in the early afternoon. He felt there had been progress in containment farther down in the Lolo National Forest, but there was still something happening five or six miles in from the I-90, though he didn’t know for sure. That evening the feeling was positive, but the road was completely closed at Philipsburg on the other end of the Rock Creek Road.

We were going to see the changes made over the summer at our friends’ property before we moved the Silver Bullet to Wyoming after a seven-year residence on the creek. We waited while he knelt on his knee for ten minutes to explain to some young Canadians where they might find a location to camp farther down the highway, and chatted with some other hangers on. Finally, he cleared us to drive down to the 22-mile bridge and see what was up.

 

fire along rock creek below Missoula

Fires in the West are common in the dry, heat of late July and early August. We’ve seen our fill of them. We’ve watched helicopters scoop water from the creek in a huge bucket, fly over, and dump than just as we saw employed by firefighters after Katrina in New Orleans. Still this one was different at 8000 acres. Lightning was said to be the cause. We felt like we were driving into it as we neared the smoke plumes rising ahead. Even in the late dusk there were hot shots and fire fighters on both sides of the road still digging out breaks where the trees met the grass in locations that normally we would have looked for Bighorn sheep coming down to feed at this time of the evening. Signs were posted in front of some houses thanking the fire fighters. One home had a cooler outside and a sign calling them to snacks if they stopped anywhere near.

The Weather Channel reported on a tropical storm in Florida and cooler temperatures across the deep south from New Orleans to Atlanta. At the same time the forecaster listed cities in Oregon and throughout the West that were over 100 degrees Fahrenheit and approaching historic records that might be broken later in the day.

Maybe this isn’t climate change. Maybe it’s just the usual, “wait a minute, and the weather changes,” but if this is the new normal, our on the ground report would be that there’s no one on the ground celebrating the change.

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Please enjoy Ringo Starr’s We’re on the Road Again.

Thanks to KABF.

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