What are we climate striking for?
-the mechanisms of climate solutions
-what’s in a strike?
-unease but hope and courage
I’ve never been on protest or a strike. I’ve always been uneasy with the mentality of herds.
This year, I’ve met more activists both young and old, retired and starting out. They’ve pointed out the power of non-violent protests that stretches back to how the fight against slavery, for women’s rights, black rights - a whole host of social progress has been won.
As regular readers know, I have a deep held side gig interest in saving the world. I’m a creative but have a strong data side to me.
Still, I thought I should go and more fully understand what the younger voices are saying and arguing and stand with them. Plus I’m a believer in cross-silo thinking and the power of connections.
That’s a long preamble to my experience in joining the climate strikes.
A few observations struck me:
The amazing energy of crowds the rituals of chant and reply and answer. I feel sure friendships, even love formed or were made stronger. I don’t think this should be undervalued. There was a spirit and joy that showed a light side of humanity.
Events like these are much more important and informative than an average day at school or an average day at work - or any average day.
And you must go and explore something rather than not. In much the same way I am reticent about how developed country people talk about, say, hunter gatherer tribes without having met them or read primary narratives about them. (Especially as I went to go and visit some in Indonesia).
Yet that same energy did give me a touch of uneasiness.
Shouts of climate justice turned to migrant justice turned to reparations turned to the global north versus the global south. Turned to a tale of challenges in Southwark, London. (Greta is typically more focused on what the science is suggesting although can talk about inequity as well)
I ended up talking to my seven year old saying.
That’s not quite true.
It’s more complex than that.
That’s a valid point but the solutions are difficult.
And we all shout along…
I understand that many feel strongly about the deep inequity we can see.
The environmental damage we are doing - and my primary reason for being at the demonstrations - is one of the major if not the most major challenge of our times, although you could list many present humanitarian challenges now perhaps in a similar bucket.
But there seems to be limited regard for how far we have come (cf. Factfulness) and whether we can use any of those mechanisms for the forces of good. (If I was born a generation ago, I’d likely be dead and one of my sons likely institutionalised, so from where I’m standing we’ve had progress).
I understand my socialist friends (recall I view myself as a-political) have suspicion of market based solutions and mechanisms. This is because markets although are great at growing the pie, they tend to be poor at splitting the pie. (see Ray Dalio and earlier blogs on this).
But from the point of view of the planet, you’d want to use all the solutions you have to hand - and that would include government funding for innovation into the green economy as well as carbon taxes/dividends and performance standards plus the hundreds of projects you could enact now. A major point is that we’re not doing enough.
Still, was the rhetoric I heard better or worse than that from politicians, eg Boris Johnson or many of our politicians on the global stage? No. The young people were striking closer to the truth than Johnson, even as I could disagree about the harm/benefit of the proposed solutions.
It’s a failing of the elite to propose, articulate and execute on viable solutions.
In that sense it’s the young who give us hope and courage.
It’s also the next generation that needs to prove the last generation wrong.
I kinda hope they do.
My range of ideas and solutions that I am discussing you can see here and heavily inspired by Drawdown and other works. Although I am increasingly drawn to the idea we are underinvested in green tech solutions.
Sustainability solutions: https://www.thendobetter.com/thinking-bigly
Under investment in GreenTech: https://www.thendobetter.com/investing/2019/9/25/under-investment-in-green-tech
Ray Dalio on reforming Capitalism: https://www.thendobetter.com/investing/2019/4/6/ray-dalio-on-reforming-capitalism