In defense of the recent People’s [sic] Climate March, I’ve often been told: “But at least it raised awareness.”
Awareness (noun): knowledge or perception of a situation or fact; concern about and well-informed interest in a particular situation or development
Everywhere we hear about the need to raise "awareness." So much so, that awareness and consciousness appear to have become the goals: ends in and of themselves.
If only we were conscious of “what's going on” in some place like Syria or aware of “how prevalent” this or that disease has become or whatever else it is we need to recognize, it seems most folks would be mighty satisfied.
My sincere question: When exactly does all this goddamned awareness translate into authentic solidarity, productive action, and tangible change?
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