Giving Myself Permission to Be Anti-environmentalist in Sessions

Dan Nickerson’s1 posting in which he asked the question, “Why are there not more working-class people in the environmental movement?” inspired me to write something about my journey toward becoming an activist on environmental issues.

I have been an activist since I was sixteen (I am fifty-nine now) but have always steered clear of the environmental movement. Rightly or wrongly, I have seen it as a very middle-class movement and felt that it cared more about the environment than about the exploitation of working-class people.

In February 2015, Diane Shisk2 led a gathering for RCers in London on care of the environment. In every mini-session I discharged heavily, saying furiously (with sweating, shaking, and laughing), “I am not an environmentalist. I’m a socialist, I’m a feminist, and I’m an anti-racist, but I am not an environmentalist and I never will be.” I also worked on saying furiously, “I will end capitalism, and that will save the environment anyway, so stuff you!”3 I’ve no idea who I was talking to, but it made me laugh a lot and discharge lots of terror.

Shortly after that, Kathy Taylor4 led a few evenings in our local RC Community on care of the environment, and I carried on5 working in the same way. The next stage for me was having sessions on just reading the goal on care of the environment6 and discharging whatever came up. Kathy gave us homework—to read something about climate change—and I found some good articles that I forced myself to read. (Up till that point, I definitely wouldn’t have read them.) Then I decided to read a book about it, which I’m two-thirds of the way through.

I recently had an amazing conversation with my solicitor7 (who was representing me in a fight with my ex-employer) about climate change, and at the end of it he said, “Well, if I become an environmental activist, it will be as a result of this conversation.” And I’ve started asking people I know to come on the climate march here in London on 29 November.

So something has definitely shifted for me. I think the key was giving myself permission to be openly and blatantly anti-environmentalist in sessions (as opposed to being scared to show those feelings, which weren’t the “right” ones to have), knowing that discharge could only lead to my becoming more rational.

Terry Day

London, England

(Present Time 182, January 2016)

1 Dan Nickerson is the International Liberation Reference Person for Working-Class People.
2 Diane Shisk is the Alternate International Reference Person.
3 “Stuff you” is a way of expressing anger at someone.
4 Kathy Taylor is an RC leader in London, England.
5 “Carried on” means continued.
6 A goal adopted by the 2013 World Conference of the Re-evaluation Counseling Communities: That members of the RC Community work to become fully aware of the rapid and unceasing destruction of the living environment of the Earth. That we discharge on any distress that inhibits our becoming fully aware of this situation and taking all necessary actions to restore and preserve our environment.Distresses have driven people to use oppression against each other and carry out destructive policies against all of the world. A full solution will require the ending of divisions between people and therefore the ending of all oppressions. The restoration and preservation of the environment must take precedence over any group of humans having material advantage over others. We can and must recover from any distress that drives us to destroy the environment in our attempts to escape from never-ending feelings of needing more resource.
7 A solicitor is a type of lawyer.

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00