“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.
You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”
It is out of this admiration that I am joining a small group of people who will be participating in a rotational solidarity fast for the length of the Climate Change Justice hunger strike. ” Jess
Genuine political action is deeply personal and transformative. There is something awry if the external struggle with power and injustice is not matched by an equally intense internal struggle. The Climate Justice Fast is no exception.
I sit in front of my computer, contemplating my own hunger strike – a measly 48 foodless hours. I have just watched Anna Keenan and Sara Svensson speaking about their indefinite hunger strike, a notion which is not for the faint of heart.
As I listen to their inspired words, and the conviction in their voices, I think to myself: ‘Has it really come to this?’ Acts of sheer desperation, wrought from the learned hearts of those who care so much – truly, this should be perceived as a bad omen.
Climate change is a complex problem indeed; an issue worthy of thought, actions and solutions if ever there was one. It takes just the tiniest bit of awareness with a smidgen of foresight for each one
of us – we, who make many decisions each day with our wallets and our apathetic attitudes – to become ashamed and fearful of our current global situation.
It is difficult to imagine those two brave young women 40 days from now, closer to death than any of us would care to be, awaiting their demands to be met – while the politicians enjoy their lavish four course meals around boardroom tables. Will words of these women circulate amongst those decision makers? Will the unheard voices of the millions of affected people, starving against their will, infiltrate their minds for even a moment? As with so much of life, only time will tell.
As I continue to abstain from food, I take comfort in the fact that there are solutions which do exist and goals which can be met; above all, I take solace knowing that there are many individuals who deeply care about lives other than their own. It is in these people that I place my hope, and rightly so. Together we can, in fact, make a difference.
Last night Laura finished her shift in the Rolling Solidarity Fast and it was picked up by:
Jess has been wrestling with her demons as well.
I would like to recommend two posts from her blog; Openly Balanced” is my study on living. And who am I? I’m just a regular person seeking balance – I’m a little obsessed with that word – in my life.”
Upon reading Clive Hamilton’s ‘Is It Too Late to Prevent Catastrophic Climate Change’, a stark and frankly depressing review of recent scientific appraisals of humanity’s ability to avoid catastrophic climate change, I was immediately struck by one thought: ‘something is missing here’.
Just as every soldier experiences both courage and fear, so one of the realities of political action is that one has both hopes and doubts. Political action that has no doubts or uncertainties is like an exercise program that involves no actual effort; it may be easy, but it won’t do you or anyone else much good.
It seems self evident once it is stated, but we usually forget that if the problem isn’t big enough to inspire fear, or risk despair, then it’s probably too small a problem to invest your time in. If the outcome is not uncertain, then it’s too easy. If your personal actions do not stretch you, challenge you, scare you, then you aren’t really trying.
As individuals and groups it is tempting to attempt to suppress the doubts on the premise that they undermine the group, but that is a mistake. Courage is overcoming fear and moving forward despite it. Denying and avoiding it is an invitation to be overwhelmed by it later.
Struggle for truth and justice must be a struggle with the world around us, but it must also be a struggle within our groups, and most particularly within ourselves. Truly confronting “the lies”, external and internal, takes honesty and courage, and the personal struggle is integral to the political struggle.
This is true because the duality of external and internal is an artificial one. In fact no such separation exists; there is just our lives as we live them. Lives lived in denial and fear, or with truth and courage.
Make no mistake, the doubts and fears are legitimate. We may fail, we may fail individually and/or collectively. We may not be up to the demands that our age puts upon us. If honestly confronting our shadows always led to conquering them then everyone would do it. They don’t because failure is possible and the risks are high.
“If one is forever cautious, can one remain a human being? ”
But doubts and fears that are not confronted honestly cannot be overcome. As long as we bury them inside we can always be defeated by them. “They” need do more than invoke our doubts and fears and we will defeat ourselves. If we do not liberate ourselves from our own fears, we cannot liberate others.
This is not the ‘cost’ of being an activist, it is the benefit. The world has not ‘intruded into our pastoral lives’, but rather woken us from our numb slumber. We have been given the chance to cast off our own shackles and discover that we are better than we thought, that we are capable of so much more.
To soar we must aspire to the heights and throw ourselves from a great cliff. The prospect may be terrifying, but if we don’t do it we will never fly.
What is before us is not a threat that we might lose the ground, but rather the opportunity to gain the sky. Is that not cause for gratitude?
Hope is not to be be found in the science, or the polls, or in Copenhagen; there is none there. Hope is created by the love and courage of Laura, Jess, the CJF Six, and all of the others the world over wrestling with their doubts and fears, rising above them and taking meaningful action for climate justice. That is where Hope is. That is how Hope comes to be.
Please see: Climate Justice Fast begins Nov 6th, how will you be helping? for ways to support the Climate Justice Fast.
Two thousand years and half a world away
Dying trees still grow greener when you pray
“Since 1982, spring in East Asia (defined here as the eastern third of China and the Korean Peninsula) has been warming at a rate of one degree Fahrenheit per decade.” Earth Gauge
We give our consent every moment that we do not resist.
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