Reflections On The Future – Post Climate Strike Musings

| Strategize!

Photos: All photos by Eleanor Goldfield, Art Killing Apathy.

Millions of people came together yesterday for the Global Climate Strike. I was in New York City with some 250,000 other people and the energy, along with other people’s sweaty bodies, was palpable. I came as part of the People’s Mobilization, an effort to connect the issues of US empire and war with climate chaos, and from this intersection build power. After all, the US military is the world’s single largest consumer of fossil fuels, equal to the emissions of 140 countries. If we are to realistically mitigate the worst effects of climate change, the military industrial complex is a good (and necessary) place to start. But the issue of war has been largely lacking in the hot topic of climate justice so a coalition of folks, not least of all those on the receiving end of US bombs, felt the issue needed to be raised.

So, we made signs. We painted banners and we handed out information cards. We talked to folks. We did the protest parade, as it were. Now to be clear, as a long-time activist, I’m always glad to see thousands of people come together for a common cause. My jaded perspectives come from almost 20 years of doing this work – not because I lack hope. The truth is that my hope does not rest on mass parades. I say parades not marches because marches are not permitted. They are not lorded over by cocky NYPD officers kettling and directing people like we’re in some fucked up off-Broadway show. They are brash, they are defiant. They are autonomous. They stop and sit, lay down or lock down, flow and manifest in whichever way they need to in order to get the point across: listen, or else. Today was not a march. And that’s ok. It’s ok if we can recognize this and grow with it and from it. It’s ok if we know that we didn’t rattle thrones today. We hung out. And if we hung out and inspired, hung out and planted seeds, watered others, built connections and bridges and other powerful metaphors then fuck yeah! Just call it what it is.

I say this not to shit on the day’s events. I say this to give important context and space for what’s to come, what must come and what is actually already here. All over the world, people are already locking down, setting up tree sits to protect old growth forests, holding space to block pipelines and coal mines, putting their bodies on the line for a future that is tentative at best. People are marching. People are actively protesting. We owe it to them – in true solidarity – to frame our actions for what they are, and prepare and plan for the actions that we must undertake which go beyond the hang out, the parade.

In that sense, use today. Use it to build, to keep building. Where I sit in Queens right now may very well be underwater in 50 years. I think that’s worth a march. That’s worth a lock down. It’s definitely worth more than a hang out.

And although I am not as young as many of the folks there today, I reject the idea that those older than me can brush off responsibility just because a young Swede carries a flame that ignited international attention. First of all, youth have been leading climate work long before Greta sat in front of Parliament. Predominantly indigenous and youth of color have been blocking dirty energy projects and demanding climate justice for decades. Now, to be sure, I really like much of what Greta says – and not just because I’m a fellow Swede. But she is not the first nor the only young person to cry out for change in a senseless world. Furthermore, I bristle at the idea of placing so much hope and thereby pressure on the shoulders of a 16-year old. She is not our great hope. She is not an abyss for us to throw our accountability into in the face of climate chaos – nor are the indigenous youth that already carry the trauma and weight of 500+ years of colonial destruction. These and others may be and should be an inspiration but WE must carry this weight together. We have to build these bridges and knock down these pillars of capitalism. We have to rattle thrones and topple empires. We have to leave these parades and think of the future – the future that will be hotter, harder and scarier. And we have to plan for that now.

So, if you were at one of these events today, awesome! Now what?

See more photos. on Art Killing Apathy.

  • I went. I saw. I participated.

    Awareness of Climate Change has been achieved.
    To quote Ms. Goldfield, “Now what?”

    What could be accomplished by mass marches has been accomplished. A different strategy and tactics are needed if any concrete progress is to be made.

    I, for one, will not be attending any further ‘parades’ no matter the cause. This may sound harsh but if we’re not willing to do what it takes to achieve the end result – systemic transformation (the whole thing) – then we might as well just spend our time doing something else – play golf, go to the beach, have a BBQ,..

  • voza0db

    “Now what?”

    If you’re asking that’s the point!

  • voza0db

    Pre-censorhip of comments with links TAKE FOREVER…

    I’m sorry to disappoint you guys…

    If you don’t understand that the FUTURE is what you do TODAY then you can keep doing these strikes. The final result will be NO CHANGE. Meaning we’ll keep using fossil fuels until they run out, or if they provide no profit.

    About that statement “First of all, youth have been leading climate work long before Greta sat in front of Parliament.” and like I said on another site…

    I’m having a déjà vu feeling!

    Do a video search with “Severn Cullis-Suzuki at Rio Summit 1992” and feel the déjà vu!

  • Actually, I’m not asking. I’m fully aware of where this needs to go. What I am asking is if those that are most interested in change are prepared to do what needs to be done. And, just to be clear, I am not advocating violent action – there are non-violent tactics that can be applied.
    It seems Ms. Goldfield is ready to move forward. I just wonder how many others are.

  • I think it would be a good idea if more people viewed Noam Chomsky’s Requiem for the American Dream. It illustrates and discusses how the system functions in a very easy-to-understand way.

    Severn Cullis-Suzuki… I had to refresh my memory on this. Very apropos comparison.

  • Greeley Miklashek

    “Now what?” Only a worldwide movement for contraception and one-child families can save humanity and the biosphere. Population density stress is killing us NOW through ALL of our myriad and rapidly increasing “diseases of civilization”. Not just “some” diseases, but ALL of our “diseases of civilization”: high BP (50% of American adults have this), heart disease (number one killer of Americans and known to be caused by stress, elevated cortisol and Sympathetic NS tone), lung diseases (smoking, vaping, just not breathing due to stress, TBC, influenza, COPD, etc.), kidney disease (closely associated with high BP and high sodium), the diseases of despair (addiction, suicide, depression), accidents (falls,autos, firearms, etc.), infections (stress hormone cortisol suppresses immunity-ask someone with HIV), etc., etc., etc…. Reducing consumption is critical, but the earth can only support a small fraction of us alive today. That’s the reality we hate to face. We are, by definition, psychotic, out of touch with reality. How’s that workin’ out for ya’? Stress R Us

  • ThisOldMan

    The point about all this being a parade not a march is well taken, but I’m afraid we may be setting ourselves up for failure in another, not yet widely anticipated, way. This stems from the sad fact that most people are not engaged in this battle at all, even if we’ve finally gotten to the point where most people, even in the USA, now know that climate change is becoming a immediate problem. And there’s only statistic scarier than 415 ppm, and that is 45% – the approximate fraction of registered voters who approve of Trump’s job performance right now.

    What will engage this proverbial “silent majority” is when their own economic situation deteriorates noticeably before their eyes, and then they’ll be looking for scapegoats which the rabble rousers of the day will be only too happy to provide them with. To the extent that the climate movement is successful (and its success must, at the very least, lead to an increase in the price of gas), it will become the perfect scapegoat, and at that point I suspect it will quickly become impossible to have a parade that is not a march.

    This leads me to wonder if it might not be better to let nature take its course, meaning to let the steady fall in the quality of the world’s rapidly declining oil and gas reserves, or more likely in the near term, a war in the Near East, put a price on carbon for us? Probably not, but I felt the question should be raised anyway, and I hope those who maintain this fantastic website will see it.

  • You would have loved to march with us at VMAs in protest of the city of Newark NJ and its inaction to the water crisis there; higher levels of lead than Flint. No permits, we just showed up and took the streets and had the 350 cops who were protecting the attendees and more importantly the mayor’s reputation confused as fuck. These were predominantly POC, organized by same, showing strength despite being ignored by the city. 6 of us as part of XRNJ were arrested that day, not out of any agenda we had but at the invite of the local org. Newark Water Coalition . This is in keeping with the 4th demand of XRUS.

  • voza0db

    Just to show how quickly these trends are forgotten…

    Another great example of collectively hysteria was the OZONE HOLE event!

    Funny part the HOLE is still there with almost the same size and no one cares anymore!

  • voza0db

    if those that are most interested in change are prepared to do what needs to be done.“, simple and careful observation reveals that NO, they aren’t. And most of them don’t even know what is necessary.

  • Please share more of the wisdom gained by your “simple and careful observation.”

  • voza0db

    It’s not wisdom, and if you like to play dumb slave game, you’ve just arrived to the right place.

    WELCOME dumb slave

    Are you not able to perform simple and careful observation?

    If not… also very simple,
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/78f85ab494b05d68f43a0012ef4954a163ccc4f46608f45c181bc20d0123e60d.jpg

  • voza0db

    About the system I’ve made a long time ago a simple picture to describe the SYSTEM and its Owners…
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/513506d24b1d0aac0b5280046c8f2de8bad82a78ca9edbd0a19611b4e3ef7ae6.jpg

    This is the present result of all our collective work throughout millennia.

    After a certain point of complexity the main system can only the CHANGE in one way… Utter destruction. No amount of small fixes in the sub-systems can CHANGE the main system, especially if those that want the change aren’t even aware of the existence of the main system and if aware they can’t actually do anything to it!

    Not a pretty scenery but this is what we have…

  • Yes, unfortunately I agree; only after the destruction takes place will it be possible to hopefully create something worthwhile. On a (tongue-in-cheek) more positive note, given the state of the global economy, geopolitical situation, and deteriorating social conditions, we are on our way toward that necessary destruction right now.

  • Well, the economic situation is well on its way toward a mega collapse – the mainstream media isn’t telling people this but it is true. i could write a multi-page explanation of why this is so but for the sake of brevity, I will simply mention one word – DEBT. Sovereign debt, corporate debt, personal debt all at astronomical and completely unsustainable levels that no amount of interest rate reductions or money printing (QE) will be able to fix. This time, after the Central Banks throw everything at the problem they can (interest rates to zero or below (negative interest rates extract money from savings) and printing money until we have the privilege to experience hyperinflation) we will witness the destruction of the fiat monetary system. The dollar and all of the other fiat currencies will become essentially worthless. If you want to have anything left after this massive destruction of ‘assets’ takes place, look into purchasing precious metals – especially gold and silver.

    On the Near East war subject, wherever it starts, it will spread. And what Americans don’t seem to be able to grasp is that this time it’s not going to stay ‘over there’. This time it will come home. And the sickest part of all is that Americans will have the ‘honor’ of starting this coming global war either directly or indirectly through our foreign policy actions.

    I’m afraid that the silent majority, should they stay silent much longer, will not have the opportunity to speak. They will break their silence with screams.

    Many of you that read this comment may think I am behaving as an alarmist. To the effect that I am trying to sound an alarm for you, yes. I do not want to create undue fear and I do not want to see unnecessary devastation to people’s well-being by not saying anything and therefore enabling you to remain uninformed and without an opportunity to prepare for our lovely near term future as best you can.

    There are a lot of people that visit this fantastic site (as ThisOldMan aptly described it) that are here because they give a hoot and want to help make things better in whatever way they can. There are many things that can be put in the works now and during the upcoming struggles to provide us with a chance at a positive future. But, if you do not take measures to protect your own well-being now, it will be very difficult for you to be of help through this process. Many many people will not be prepared; it is up to those of us who understand what’s coming down the pike to prepare so we are in a position to help others.

    If you would like to ask questions, feel free. I’ll respond as briefly as possible.

  • I replied earlier but it was removed as ‘spam’. This has become rather disconcerting as on the few other occasions that I have attempted to share information that could prove useful to people, it was also removed as ‘spam’.

    I will try again by using multiple replies to get the information across. Here goes…

  • one paragraph at a time to try and avoid having this information deleted as happened earlier…

    Well,the economic situation is well on its way toward a mega collapse – the

    mainstream media isn’t telling people this but it is true. i could write a
    multi-page explanation of why this is so but for the sake of brevity, I will
    simply mention one word – DEBT. Sovereign debt, corporate debt, personal debt
    all at astronomical and completely unsustainable levels that no amount of
    interest rate reductions or money printing (QE) will be able to fix. This time,
    after the Central Banks throw everything at the problem they can (interest
    rates to zero or below (negative interest rates extract money from savings) and
    printing money until we have the privilege to experience hyperinflation) we
    will witness the destruction of the fiat monetary system. The dollar and all of
    the other fiat currencies will become essentially worthless. If you want to
    have anything left after this massive destruction of ‘assets’ takes place, look
    into purchasing precious metals – especially gold and silver

    …continued in next reply

  • reply number two…

    On the Near East war subject, wherever it starts, it will spread. And what
    Americans don’t seem to be able to grasp is that this time it’s not going to
    stay ‘over there’. This time it will come home. And the sickest part of all is
    that Americans will have the ‘honor’ of starting this coming global war either
    directly or indirectly through our foreign policy actions.

    continued in next reply

  • reply part three…

    I’m afraid that the silent majority, should they stay silent much longer,
    will not have the opportunity to speak. They will break their silence with
    screams.

    Many of you that read this comment may think I
    am behaving as an alarmist. To the effect that I am trying to sound an alarm
    for you, yes. I do not want to create undue fear and I do not want to see
    unnecessary devastation to people’s well-being by not saying anything and
    therefore enabling you to remain uninformed and without an opportunity to
    prepare for our lovely near term future as best you can.

    final part follows…

  • final part of reply…

    There are a lot of people that visit this fantastic site (as ThisOldMan
    aptly described it) that are here because they give a hoot and want to help
    make things better in whatever way they can. There are many things that can be
    put in the works now and during the upcoming struggles to provide us with a
    chance at a positive future. But, if you do not take measures to protect your
    own well-being now, it will be very difficult for you to be of help through
    this process. Many many people will not be prepared; it is up to those of us
    who understand what’s coming down the pike to prepare so we are in a position
    to help others.

    If you would like to ask questions, feel free. I’ll respond as briefly as
    possible.

  • voza0db

    The slogan in the article image reveals our lack of understanding…

    “SAVE OUR WORLD”

    Dear child, we aren’t able to save ourselves how could we save an entire World?

  • voza0db

    I always laugh when the algos “think” long comments are spam!

    Happened to me once, and never again! No more long texts!

  • voza0db

    meaning to let the steady fall in the quality of the world’s rapidly declining oil and gas reserves” this one is very interesting!

    For what I read in the OIL&GAS reports and news sites, that is simply not the case!

    And don’t forget that our excellent and awesome SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY will improve greatly OIL&GAS activities… From robotics, to machine learning to artificial intelligence and so on, OIL&GAS are just starting to bring all these techs into operation mode!

    Unless you know some dark web secret that seems not a very accurate statement!

  • I wondered if that was the problem. But was doubtful because I’ve responded with long comments with other sites. Thanks for sharing your experience. I have to learn to be less verbose or submit several brief comments ;P

  • voza0db

    And you’re lucky… That time it happened to me I did the same as you the the algo went for the parts as well!

    And after this event anything I posted was automatically tagged as SPAM
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/fe531deaf22e5ed94b18a9ba3a22530adde1e3acf1c1d545fa2925cbc635bcdc.jpg

    Just imagine what the world is going to be with crazy algos powered by quantum processors running artificial intelligence!

  • voza0db
  • A world that doesn’t need people.