We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Am I an activist for caring about my grandchildren's future? I guess I am

by James Hansen from the Guardian.This noted NASA scientist, climatologist, and conservative initially bridled at being referred to as an "activist".
I was about to protest the characterisation – but I had been arrested, more than once. And I had testified in defence of others who had broken the law. Sure, we only meant to draw attention to problems of continued fossil fuel addiction. But weren't there other ways to do that in a democracy? How had I been sucked into being an "activist?"
It brings to mind how Galileo was tormented by the Catholic Church authorities after offering more evidence to support Copernican's theory that the Earth was not the center of the universe. The analogs here are the "church of capitalism" and heretics such as Hansen whose findings clearly suggest that the growth imperative of capitalism is on a collision course with human life support systems of the Earth.