I’m not going to today’s march for the climate in Toulouse – or rather Grève Mondiale Pour le Climat Toulouse. That said, I totally support its goals, and all the friends I know who are going.Instead, I’m on a north-bound train first to London – to speak on a panel at this democracy and media festival on Saturday. Then I go to Bristol for the Extinction Rebellion event on Sunday. The latter aims to prepare people for the start of a global series of civil disobedience actions starting on April 15. The attached photo shows a rather knackered me after a civil disobedience march in Copenhagen in 2009. I wrote about it in the introduction to Fraudcast News. That’s not war paint but the residue of liquids someone squirted on my eyes to calm the sting.Danish police had pepper sprayed us and beat us with truncheons, I can sort of understand why, for trying to get into global climate change talks. They were non talks rather – a total waste of time.
I’d been exploring what might be effective climate-change journalism – having despaired of the Reuters version I previously did for a living.Then, as now, the insanity of climate inaction by our leaders had deep roots. Two major ones are the failures of our conventional media – to focus on systemic issues – and our reliance on the election of people to take poor political decisions in our place.
It’s taken the likes of the remarkable Greta Thunberg to call out our collective madness. What a blessed relief she is. Despite the cataclysmic effects of unchecked climate change that are starting to make themselves felt – her arrival at last makes me feel things are changing. Given the late hour, we need to incorporate coping mechanisms alongside urgent efforts to rein in emissions.
These include inevitable grief, frustration, anger, shame and all the rest. We mustn’t waste our energies blaming ourselves or others, we’ve all got our guilty climate-wrecking secrets here. Rather, we need to focus on more peaceful attempts to remedy, to consolidate community, to build responses that have some sort of chance of working.
Mine is to work on the solutions-journalism project All Hands On – trying to encourage a radical revamp on how political decisions happen.So stay safe today whether you’re out marching or not, be nice to each other and those you encounter. Try also to remember those confused cops have kids and families too, remember that if things get sweaty. We’ve had enough blame and anger – no more time for that. Peace Patrick