Posts Tagged ‘Activism

04
Jun
10

Wondering about the World Environment day

Every year at this time, what has now become almost an institution, is the celebrating (if that is the correct phrase) of the UN World Environment day on the 5th of June. The result has so far always been the same. That is me totally exhausted locked up in a darkened room on the 6th. I only have myself to blame, the problem is what I could term activist inflation.

Activist inflation is actively connected to learning. Most of us, I think, do what we do to the best of our abilities. At least when we’re doing something we care about. As we stumble along through life we tend to pick up a lot of experience. Thus “to the best of our abilities” is in constant flux as our abilities change over time.

Schnews

Saving the world is one of those things that is quite hard to define, at best anything I could possibly do is only slightly incremental. The world can only possibly be saved if lots of other people do their bits as well. Whatever; the world is not going to be saved by an half hearted effort. The very idea of a half hearted activist strikes a dissonant chord. Environmentalists are not always the most skilled people at what they do. But if effort alone counted we would have won the day a long time ago. A quick look around and I’d say we still have a long way to go before sense wins the day over quick bucks. So the way forward is obvious, if you don’t know how to save the planet you either don’t do it or you simply learn how to do it. Paying someone else to do it is not an option.

The World Environment day is about getting out into town and being visible, bringing the environment into focus. Most environmentalists I know have an educational background that makes it very clear to them that the environment must be brought into focus but very few are educated in how to bring subjects into the public focus. Environmentalists tend to have studied things like chemistry and geography, subjects that help us to understand the world around us. Knowledge of sales and marketing is a bit scarcer. But marketing is in effect what we environmentalists are trying to do when we take to the streets. Marketing our cause.

It is this learning curve in marketing that leads to activist inflation. Gone are the days of handing out badly printed flyers or standing with felt tip scrawled placards made from old cardboard boxes from the back of the shops. Nowadays its tents and professional sound systems, exhibitions and computer designed banners. Every year on the World Environment day we do something a bit bigger and more ambitious than we did the year before. Every year I end up exhausted. And every year I ask the question- why didn’t we do something a bit less ambitious? Something that only takes 99% of our capacity rather than the usual 110%. A reasonably and sensible suggestion, not to over do it, keeping within our capacity is hardly “half hearted”.

If it were only that simple. A glance at what is happening around us in the world shows that logic and simple reasoning are in somewhat short supply. We need to keep on raising awareness of the total madness of the free market until things change. A 99% effort is not enough. I can’t watch as a few greedy individuals rape our beautiful and divers planet for their own short term financial gains and only do nearly my best to stop them. On Sunday I will be locked in my room totally exhausted, too tired to be able to think straight. And the mad capitalists will almost certainly be still out there causing death and destruction. There is one bright side, at least I can live with myself. I’m doing all that I can.

Gothenburg, 4 June 2010

Advertisements



Ian on Twitter

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 4 other followers