News flash

Videos of SAL/UER Climate Week events

Racism and the Collapsing Society, Barbara Love and Tim Jackins, June 7, 2020

RC Webinars listing through July 2021

New Online Workshop Guidelines Modifications


 

Making Big Changes

Tim Jackins has for many years had us working on fighting for ourselves, on not believing our feelings of defeat and discouragement, and on remembering our importance to and connection with one another. This work has not only been giving us back our minds and our lives, it has been preparing us to tackle the biggest problems facing our so-cieties. We can now use what we have gained from this work and move as a Community to be a powerful, visible force in turning around climate change.

The current situation facing us is stated well in the recently released RC pamphlet Sustaining All Life:

“Carbon emissions from the mining, processing, transporting, and burning of fossil fuels, along with the destruction of forests, grasslands, and other carbon sinks, are creating a heat-trapping blanket around the Earth. Reliance on fossil fuels and other unsustainable practices is also damaging the natural systems on which our lives and well-being depend. All of this is driven by consumption-based societies.

“Nearly all climate scientists agree that carbon pollution is causing global climate change. The pollution is already generating unusual and severe weather across the world. We are seeing more and bigger floods, increasingly severe droughts and wildfires, extreme temperatures, and destructive storms. Rising temperatures are reducing ice volume on land and sea. The global sea level is rising; coastal lands are flooding. The oceans are absorbing carbon dioxide and becoming more acidic, with negative impacts on marine ecosystems.

“Additional planetary warming will create new problems and increase the severity of current ones, such as smaller crop and fishing yields and reduced access to fresh water. Thousands more species will go extinct. There will be more severe weather. Widespread disease, poverty, social disintegration, and war will also become more likely.

“The damage done by human-caused catastrophic climate change and environmental destruction disproportionately impacts communities of Indigenous people, people targeted by racism, and poor and working-class people (referred to hereafter as frontline commu­nities). It disproportionately impacts the nations that have long been targeted by colonialism, genocide, and imperialism, many of which have populations that are mostly people targeted by racism (we refer to these hereafter as frontline nations). And the damage disproportionately affects the women, children, and elders of these communities and nations. All of this is largely the result of racism, the oppression of Indig­enous peoples, classism, and sexism.”

Climate scientists say we have a fifteen- to fifty-year window in which to change direction and turn the climate crisis around. Because capitalism is the root cause of the crisis, the only way to solve it is to directly challenge capitalism—its structures and policies and all of its other manifestations. We can do this by uniting across races and all oppressions to form a mass movement that will speak in a united voice so loudly, clearly, and persistently that it cannot be ignored.

We will have to speak out about the cause of the crisis and its damaging impact on those who are already so severely oppressed and exploited. We will have to build a worldwide coalition that includes the environmental movement; the movements to end racism, genocide, poverty, sexism, and war; the labor movement; and all who would work for a sustainable, just future. Quoting from a speaker at Beijing+20, “Climate change is poised to become the most massive human rights violation the world has ever seen.” Yet organizing to reverse it can serve as a basis for uniting us all.

To do this we will have to challenge all of the ways we feel small and unimportant, stupid and inarticulate, discouraged and hopeless, scared and passive. We will have to call for a new kind of society—one that supports life and liberation. We will have to shake the structures of capitalism with our numbers, our voices, and our visible actions.

Tim talks about how we have built good lives but with our early hurts still in place, how we have mostly accommodated our defeats and lived with their effects. We haven’t been good at making big changes, in ourselves or in the world. We haven’t been good at standing tall, grabbing attention, making demands, and shaking the structures of our oppressive society. We have settled for small gains. We haven’t gone for changing everything all at once—and now we need to, for ourselves and for the world.

We have done enough discharging that we can take action now. We can apply our best thinking, bring people together, and support and propose actions to move everyone forward. We won’t feel ready or like we know what to do, but those feelings don’t need to stop us anymore. We can assume they are rooted in our past and discharge them. We can go forward, knowing that we will make many mistakes and face many setbacks.

We can remind each other that just as the defeats of our past weren’t the real problem, any present-day defeats won’t be the real problem either. Defeats are only a problem when we don’t discharge them. And we have our ever-clearer minds, our relationships with each other, and our Community to fortify us and send us forward against our distresses and the challenges of the present. Why not move together and take action now?

Diane Shisk

Alternate International Reference Person for the Re-evaluation Counseling Communities

Seattle, Washington, USA


Last modified: 2020-07-17 20:50:52+00