“What is something you learned today”? Eric, my “kayaktivist” brother poses a question to the closing circle of our training. There are about a dozen of us who’ve come together six weeks in advance of a global day of fossil fuel resistance, “skilling up” so that we can safely and effectively confront the titans of industry and their legal enforcers as the battle to save the planet heats up.
People share about how empowering it is to work together in community, how beautiful life is. When it is my turn to share, I reflect on how I took a couple of short breaks from the training to surf passing boat waves, gliding across the face of the waves in my kayak, riding a moving smile across Mother Ocean. “The Earth just wants us to be happy,” I share to the group.
We are feeling exuberant and positive, because we know it is key to our survival. Unspoken, though acknowledged is the recognition that we – as a species – need to face our climate predicament boldly. We’ve run out of time and can no longer fool ourselves about the inefficacy of non-binding political targets. Climate change is here.
We’ve all heard about the cooked frog analogy. It’s not just about adjusting to temperature, but more pointedly, it illustrates the power of denial that can paralyze an organism’s capacity for responding to an imminent threat.
In my home town of Seattle, I live on a street with nice houses and lots of trees. When I turn on the kitchen faucet, relatively clean water flows from the tap. I go to the food co-op and there are beautiful organic vegetables, fruits, grains, and such. I do not need to huddle in the rubble of a bombed out building when I hear planes overhead. I do not need to get in a leaky boat and cross an ocean, maybe never to arrive at the far shore. I do not need to wonder where I will live when the ocean floods my village, my entire nation. Yes, privilege unfortunately enables many to ignore climate change, and unfortunately, the privileged are the ones with the most power to change things.
More than a billion people, perhaps two billion, are not so fortunate. And their numbers rise every day. Even so, our privilege cannot protect us forever. The proverbial melt waters of climate change are inching closer to our door step, our grocery store, our water supply, and our weather, with each passing day. Difficult times are coming, but we can turn it around and prevent the worst case scenarios if we jump out of the frog pot now.
May 13 to 15, activists from around the Pacific Northwest will be gathering to shut down business as usual at the Anacortes Refinery with non-violent civil disobedience action – on land and sea. You Are Needed. There is a role for everyone to play. Kayak trainings are happening (check the website), transportation coordination is coming together. It really only takes a handful of people, a critical mass, to turn things around. Please join us. Act now, before this opportunity passes. The most powerful antidote to fear and anxiety is action. Denial and distraction fail us in the end. Learn more here: http://breakfreepnw.org/. If you live in another part of the world, check the global site for actions near you: https://breakfree2016.org/.