THE CITIZENS’ CLIMATE REVOLUTION
“Unite in a national effort to save from destruction all that makes life itself worth living.”
~ MacKenzie King, Canadian Prime Minister during the Second World War
We need nothing less than a climate revolution, and that revolution begins in your head.
Enter our new podcast series, The Climate Revolution.
This is the first of a series of episodes about finding your role in the climate revolution. This episode is dedicated to all the climate action campaigners who have burned out after being involved in a decade-long fight for a safe climate that so far appears to have led to nowhere. The graphs are still rising: carbon emissions are going up, global temperatures are going up.
The aim of this podcast series is to provide you with “the Why, the Who and the How.”
Understanding precedes action
The climate action movement needs a change of strategy. The premise and a fundamental principle for the way we approach the community must be that understanding precedes action.
“We need to see the threat clearly, see the solutions, and have a plan,” Dr Giselle Wilkinson tells us. “And that package of threat, solutions and plan lets you hold fear.”
“One thing has become clear: the powers-that-be will not choose to stop climate and ecological breakdown. They will use the right words, but only to delay. Therefore it is up to us. We have to up our tactics. The advantage we have, and that we must keep building, is numbers.”
~ Peter Kalmus, NASA climate scientist
“This has become a matter of trust – we need to collectively deliver on that.”
~ Alok Sharma, COP26 president, about the coming United Nations Climate Summit in Glasgow in November 2021
“Coalitions between people who haven’t worked together, or between national and local players, require trust. Trust takes time. Time to break down the stereotypes (“blokey” unionists, “demure” Christians, “hippy” environmentalists) and time to discover where the common ground may lie,” wrote Amanda Tattersall, an Honorary Associate at Department of Geography at University of Sydney, in 2015.
“Without trust we are lost.”
~ Christian Nikolajsen, Danish tourguide and consultant
00:05 Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General
00:25 Movie clip: Marvel, Thor: Kaorg speaks to Thor about revolution (also at 53:52)
00:46 Jose Ramos: “What is my role and my place?”
00:54 Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director, Greenpeace International, quotes Bob Hunter
01:01 7News Sydney: NSW Rural Fireservice firefighter
01:16 Californian firefigther on SBS News
01:24 BBC World Service during Second World War: “This is London calling”
01:50 Stuart Scott speaking in Stockholm in 2018 (also at 27:57, 29:40, 35:49)
06:20 9-year-old Eve speaking in London at Extinction Rebellion rally
07:31 Reuters: Deadly floods hit western Europe
09:18 Kinya Seto, CEO, LIXIL Corporation
10:11 Chris Hayes on MSNBC: extreme weather news
12:01 Movie clip: Marvel, The Avengers: “And the humans, what can they do but burn?”
12:42 Movie clip: The 100, s1 e5 at 26:20: “This will cause a riot! Good. We need one.”
12:48 Movie clip: The 100, s2 e8 at 8:20: Abby talks about trust
12:55 Breakthrough interview with Admiral Chris Barrie
14:45 Jennifer Atkinson at 6:00 in Episode 1 of Facing It podcast, ‘Facing Down Climate Grief’
16:19 Amitav Ghosh, Indian author, interviewed by Rune Lykkeberg, editor of Information
17:50 Adam Bandt, leader of the Australian Greens, addresses Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack in the Australian Parliament on 17 June 2021
20:31 Arnold Schwarzenegger speaking at the Austrian World Summit 2021
22:32 Angela Francis speaking at TEDxLondonWomen in December 2019
25:46 Emily Atkin, Heated podcast producer, interview on CNN
27:31 MacKenzie King, Canadian Prime Minister, speaking during the Second World War, featured in Climate Emergency Unit’s 4 Hopeful Lessons from WW2 to Confront Climate Change (also at 52:31)
28:32 Greta Thunberg: “You cannot solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis.”
29:13 ABC News: Landmark climate court ruling against Royal Dutch Shell puts Australian firms on notice
30:35 9News reporting on Antonio Guterres call for governments to declare a climate emergency
31:26 Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director, Greenpeace International, quotes Bob Hunter
31:36 Movie clip: The 100, s2 e13 at 18:50: Bellamy and Maya talk about revolution
31:52 BBC World Service during Second World War (also at 53:40)
37:56 Jem Bendell: Living in the Time of Dying
40:47 Movie clip: Marvel, Guardians Of The Universe: “I have a plan”
41:09 Dr Giselle Wilkinson speaks about her doctorate “Mobilising whole communities to restore a safe climate” at the webinar Finding a Safe Passage to a Safe Climate (also at 42:46, 50:08 and 51:59)
41:53 Movie clip: Larry Kramer in ‘Love and Anger’: “Nobody knows what to do next!”
42:33 Brenna Quinlan, illustrator, interviewed in ABC’s Gardening Australia
44:40 Michael Shaw, teacher and therapist, in Conscient podcast
46:36 Rob Hopkins, Helena Norberg-Hodge, Stephan Harding and others in an excerpt from last part of Peter Armstrong’s documentary film ‘The Sequel’
52:15 Movie clip: Enola Holmes: “The future is up to us!”
52:27 “All revolutions seem impossible until they are inevitable.”
52:44 Jason Bordoff in Planet A podcast with Dan Jørgensen on 3 July 2021
54:14 David Attenborough, excerpt from BBC’s ‘Greta Thunberg: A Year to Change the World’: “There just could be a change in moral attitude from people world-wide, politicians world-wide, to see that self-interest is for the past, common interest is for the future.”
54:41 The Kookaburra laughs
54:55 Prince Ea: Three seconds
00:00 Alex Aidt: Icecream (also at 04:58 and 26:40)
00:49 Twin Musicom: A Dream Within a Dream (also at 02:56, 7:26 and 16:58)
01:24 Serge Pavkin: Dawn
03:11 Wayne Jones: Connection (also at 30:05)
03:35 Serge Pavkin: Reflections on Life (also at 23:36)
06:60 The 126ers: Water Lily
08:30 Density & Time: Ether-Real (also at 52:36)
09:18 Hang Massive: Heritage of Queens and Kings
09:24 Colin Mockett in The Sustainable Hour
09:58 Peekaboo: Arrival
12:10 Wayne Jones: Resolution (also at 13:42)
15:25 Climate Clock (also at 42:25)
32:07 Hang Massive: The Moon’s Reflections on Countless Ponds (also at 51:42)
42:45 New Oddyssey
44:40 Wayne Jones: A Quiet Thought
45:45 Louis Wilson: Droplets
50:05 South London HiFi: Sunrise Drive
53:20 Gil Scott-Heron: “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”, 1970
A big thank you to the musicians for allowing us to use this music in the podcast.
If you think an hour-long podcast is too long for you, we recommend you think about it diffently. The overall idea with us doing these long podcasts (we’ve done 400 of them by now, and they are all one hour long) is that our listeners listen to them for instance when they are in transport – sitting in a car or train – and press the pause button in the podcast player when they reach their destination. And then press play and listen onwards next time they are back in transport. In other words, cut it up in smaller bits suitable to you. You, not we, decide where to make the breaks yourself.
Five years ago we were told that our Climate Emergency Declaration campaign would never work. Leaders in the Australian climate movement informed us that while they were fully aware that the planetary climate breakdown is an emergency, they would not make use of that word until there is a plan of action to support it at the time when an emergency proclamation is made.
“Basically people in positions of responsibility who will be listened to and who will be willing to go out with the call for emergency action are not going to do that until they are confident there is a plausible plan of action. An emergency won’t be proclaimed until there’s a plan,” we were told.
Normally, we’d look to our government for such plans, but since Tony Abbott was elected on ‘Slash the carbon tax’ and ‘Climate is crap’ slogans in 2013, the Australian government has been hell bent on protecting its current income source from the fossil fuel industry, which they cannot see beyond. Their cognitive dissonance doesn’t extend to planning for a scenario that is the antithesis of that extractive growth economy which they persistenly hang onto.
Our response at the time was that one could just as well say there won’t be a plan developed until there is a push for an emergency declaration.
As history has shown, doing it this way around can actually create significant progress at the level at which local governments see themselves able to step up and address the climate emergency. First you acknowledge and understand the threat, then you figure out what you are going to to about it and what measures need to be taken.
The threat? Tick.
Today, more than one billion people live in a jurisdiction which has declared a climate emergency, because more than 2,000 councils have done this, and in many cases it has resulted in bold and ambitious, both council- and community-driven Climate Emergency Response Plans being implemented shortly after.
The solutions? Tick.
We know what the solutions are to the planetary climate emergency, which at its core is a decarbonisation crisis. Australian organisations such as Beyond Zero Emissions have pretty much done all the research that we need on what we have to do in practical terms. Some of these solutions not only save us money, but also make us healthier. Other solutions create relationships and connections in the community.
Compared to what the government spends on Covid-related initaitives, or on 10 new submarines, decarbonising society is not as expensive as we are being made to believe. Researchers have shown that price rises in the level of 1% to 3% could make all the difference. Whereas continuing to ignore the climate issue could add up to 10% of GDP for the next generation in damages and destroyed infrastructure due to extreme weather events.
Every single major non-governmental organisation in the climate movement has published a plan for how we can address the climate crisis and achieve carbon neutrality. However, none of them have had the luck to break through the media wall and into the minds of the general public. Maybe because these plans still lack the necessary accompanying ecological and climate justice-type ‘manifesto’ that people can excited about.
As a community or as a movement, we have failed to come together around one specific, plausible action plan, which a majority of the population will agree with.
We see the threat, we are aware of the solutions, but we are missing The Plan.
Currently there is no legislation under which the Australian Parliament could declare a climate emergency and mobilise resources accordingly.
For the Australian Parliament to implement a meaningful legislative framework for national Climate Emergency Response Plan, we will need to see a bigger part of voters give climate-action oriented politicians the necessary political muscle and mandate to carry it through in Parliament.
However, the need for change in numbers at the next federal election is actually much more modest than most people realise.
On 2 December 2020, the Climate Emergency Declaration Bill 2020, which had been proposed by Adam Bandt and the Australian Greens on 2 March 2020, was rejected by the Australian Parliament with 63 members voting against, 58 voting for. In other words: If just three more parliamentarians had voted for instead of against, the Bill would have created a significant turnaround in Australian climate policy.
The reality is we are not in any lack of plans.
Back in 2016, shortly after we had launched the Climate Emergency Declaration campaign, Philip Sutton drafted what a Climate Emergency Act could look like – a 40-page ‘Climate Emergency (Restructuring & Mobilisation) Act’ illustrating the type of legislation that is required in order to declare a climate emergency and establish the mechanisms necessary for an orderly and effective restructuring of the economy.
The independent Member of Parliament Zali Steggall has made a softer attempt, which she calls “The Climate Change Bill”, and which will be presented in the Australian Parliament within the next few months. It has so far been supported by close to 100,000 individual Australians.
So, really, the thousand-dollar-question here is not “what?” or “how?”, but “who?”:
Who would the climate movement, the politicians and the population in general accept a plan from and unite themselves around? What will it take for the climate movement and the broader community to consider it legit, and who in Parliament will eventually vote for such a plans’ approval?
These are questions the Australian climate movement need to come to some sort of consensus around as soon as it possibly can. And while this is happening, we are an international group of climate campaigners, who invite you to help us with out poster-project that will help create awareness and debate about the emergency issues and how we deal with them as citizens and in various sectors and groups in society. More about the ‘Find your role’ poster for citizens below.
~ Mik Aidt
“Self-interest is for the past. Common interest is for the future.”
~ Sir David Attenborough, in BBC’s documentary ‘Greta Thunberg: A Year to Change the World’
Preliminary draft – to be finalised and published within the next months.
We are facing a climate emergency posing an existential threat to humanity. The crisis requires “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”, says the United Nations’ IPCC. If we want to ensure good living conditions for all, within the limits of the planet, we must redefine what living well means, and create an economy that does not depend on growth.
Too many have been waiting too long for others to solve the problem. But all actors in society have important roles to play in the transition ahead. In order to get there in time, all of us, individuals and organisations, need to become activists now. This is the core of the #AllForClimate campaign.
As citizens, we have both the right and the duty to help shape the society we want. This has never been more necessary nor more urgent if we are to slow down climate change and create a sustainable society. We are calling on all citizens to follow seven recommendations for a rapid and socially just transition to a carbon-neutral society.
Acknowledge the extensive research establishing that we are now in a climate emergency. Recognise the need for rapid and radical social change that requires your active participation. Do not wait for others to act. Decide to take your share of responsibility and prioritise this task above everything else.
Use a carbon footprint calculator to measure your climate impact. Eat a seasonal, local, plant-based diet and avoid food waste. Use a bicycle, public transport, carpooling or car sharing. Drop planes, cruise ships and your own car. Only buy things you really need. Borrow, share, buy used, repair or do without. Live in fewer square metres. Minimise your energy consumption and use climate-friendly energy sources.
Spend more time being present and caring for yourself and others. Become an even better friend, colleague, spouse, parent or child. Cultivate your garden, explore an artistic talent or (re)discover the pleasure of reading. Explore local nature and culture. Stay curious. Slow down.
Participate in the search for new ideas on how our economy, infrastructure and institutions can be organised to benefit the community and nature. Define your success by what you do for your loved ones, your local community and the planet’s balance, rather than by your material wealth.
Always vote for the most climate-friendly party. Choose the most climate-responsible media, shops, banks, etc. Let those you do not choose know why you are dropping them. Make sure your pension savings and other assets are invested in the green transition. Promote climate-friendly initiatives in all the communities you are part of, such as your workplace, your children’s school and your sports club.
Join forces with others to push politicians and all other actors of society to take responsibility. Engage in the public debate. Participate in demonstrations, file lawsuits and use civil disobedience if necessary. Be creative and find new ways to influence decision makers.
Inspire your family, friends and acquaintances to live a climate-friendly life. Talk about the climate emergency, our shared responsibility and how we as citizens should contribute to the necessary change, even if it kills the mood. Start the vital conversation about what a good, sustainable life and society can look like.
→ Read more on the #AllForClimate website (betaversion)
Practical steps to prepare for climate change by Alex Mell-Taylor
“This short list will not suddenly make the world better, but it might help you sort out some things when it comes to dealing with the catastrophe that is to come.”
Alex Mell-Taylor’s short list:
→ Know your neighbours
→ Get used to less
→ Participate in alternative economies
→ Engage in (local) politics
→ Don’t move alone
→ Find joy in the small moments
→ Former Chief Australian Defence Force Chris Barrie on Vimeo
Giselle Wilkinson’s advice:
The first main section of the documentary film ‘How to Change the World’ about Greenpeace-founder Bob Hunter is entitled “Rule One: plant a mind bomb”.
A media “mind bomb” was a term coined by Bob Hunter in the early 1970s – essentially the same as something going viral on the Internet today: an image that would explode in people’s head all over the world, changing social consciousness.
Many early members of Greenpeace were journalists.
“We believed that electronic images could change mass consciousness. We decided to perform crazy stunts to create the images that would inspire an ecology movement. We did not set out to make Greenpeace famous, but to make ecology famous.”
“Look at the history of well-intentioned, sometimes visionary people sticking to tactics for normal times and having no effect on carbon emissions. It is indeed distressingly accurate that nothing has worked:
Not endless meetings at COPs 1 through 25 (maybe something will happen at meetings 26 through 50);
not the IPCC’s increasingly panicked reports of warming to come and warming already here;
not Greta Thunberg’s agonized despair, and
not the schoolchildren by the millions abandoning class to follow her lead;
not Bill McKibben’s earnest plodding entreaties;
not the shutdowns of London by the massed peaceful disrupters of Extinction Rebellion (XR);
not the broader peaceful protests inspired by XR and others during 2019, before COVID cancelled crowds everywhere;
not endless entreaties to a swing-vote U.S. senator who, The Guardian revealed the other day, owns millions in coal stocks;
not the known and accepted fact that we are now headed for a 3ᵒC-degree warmed world, which will produce terrestrial hellscapes with dire consequences for global society, starting with mass migrations and moving into mass die-offs.
No, emissions continue to rise, the climate continues to fracture, while ecosystems, whose pillage is separate but related to the saturation of the carbon sink, spiral into chaotic dissolution and the silences of extirpated and probably soon to be extinguished species.”
~ Christopher Ketcham, American free-lance journalist and author
“At the present +1.2°C, the world is being savaged by deadly high temperatures and global warming-exacerbated droughts, floods, forest fires, high energy intensity tropical storms, sea level rise, storm surges, massive ecosystem loss and irreversible biodiversity loss. A +1.5°C is inevitable in the coming decade and in the face of remorselessly increasing CO2 and CH4 in the atmosphere one concludes that a catastrophic +2°C is effectively unavoidable. Nevertheless we are inescapably obliged to do everything we can to make the future “less bad” for our children, our grandchildren and future generations”.
~ Dr Gideon Polya, in his 2021-book ‘Climate Crisis, Climate Genocide & Solutions’
“Take the tools you’re given, take the talent you have, and use them for something. You may think you don’t know what to do, or how to contribute. But I think you do. We’re past the moment where inaction is acceptable. That’s not me preaching. That’s just where we are.”
~ Kris Tompkins, former CEO of Patagonia
“Imagine most people decide to reduce their carbon footprints. If we managed to do that, the impact would be visible. We could even halve CO2 emissions. At the same time, we’d reach something far greater. We could get into a sustainability loop. The equation is straightforward: voters support climate action with their votes and behavior, governments get frightened they’ll lose their supporters and pour money into sustainable projects. Start-ups see an opportunity there and create sustainable solutions. Existing organizations react and try to adjust.”
~ Eszter Brhlik
→ Medium / Age of Awareness – 24 July 2021:
Start Obsessing About Climate Change Because What You Do Greatly Matters
“Even if it doesn’t seem like that, your behavior contributes to the bigger picture.” By Eszter Brhlik
“If we don’t take advantage of this moment in a time where we have demonstrated that society can accept deep changes, then we will pass up our opportunity of a lifetime to help future generations.”
~ Alice Larkin, Professor in Climate Science and Energy Policy as part of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, and Head of the School of Engineering at the University of Manchester.
→ Responsible Science Journal no. 3 – 29 June 2021:
What if we treated the climate emergency as seriously as we treated COVID–19?
“I often get asked “what can I do?” or “what keeps you going?” And this is my answer: community. Community building, community organizing, community resilience, all of it.”
~ Amy Westervelt, American radio journalist
→ Hot Take – 25 July 2021:
The Best Solution to the Climate Crisis Is Community Building
“Unsure what to do in the face of more climate change news? Audubon has put together a multi-step handbook to show you how to amplify your efforts to make lasting change in the world.
Here’s where to begin and how to amplify your efforts to make lasting change in the world:
1. Start the conversation
2. Lead your community
3. Rebuild the machinery
4. Join a national cause”
“The planet you think you’re living on no longer exists.”
~ Ben See on Twitter
Are we ready to shift our mindset and choose a different future? I am. If you are too, let’s meet.
And I don’t mean physically, for now, but in The Tunnel – the digital tunnel.
We have a members’ area on climatesafety.info which is growing little by little. Its a space for figuring out how we can – and sometimes must – act as individuals and as a community in a climate emergency.
The choices we make right now matter. Our words matter. Have a positive think about how you will step in and become part of a regenerative and transformative renewal of our thinking.
It’s all happening in ‘The Tunnel’ that the Covid-19 crisis created for us. What each of us need to do, is to prepare for all the action we will launch at various levels as soon as we come out on the other side.
~ Mik Aidt
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