By: Hermann Bellinghausen
It is in the nature of contemporary media and social networks that we waste time among the weeds to avoid the important. The forms of self-deception, pretexts and procrastination fill our hands, disguised as likes and dislikes, ceaselessly interrupted by owners and advertisers making sure that our ideas and actions are fragmentary, effective, emotional, satisfying like a treat (in Ignacio Ramonet’s terms), fleeting, forgettable, replaced by the next and the next until nausea or numbness. Sometimes the impact is bigger. The Nordic saga of Greta Thunberg, the student who one day decided to skip school and save the world, generated a massive and ongoing wave of responses, especially from youth, to talk and demand, protest, disrupt.
These kids, from the First and Second worlds, who in effect have three meals a day, go to the dentist and may be white, although not necessarily (the Swedish factor is secondary), are provoking media impact in the guilty metropolises, even if it makes us itchy and we talk about the children of Syria and La Montaña of Guerrero, let’s see how fucking privileged kids cry, they lack the leather to tie their straps.
That said, wanting to waste time with memes, hashtags and opinions on the fly, happy to suspect that there is something fishy, nobody fools me, who is behind it, to see what prince put in the sailboat, what “green” company wants to unseat coal and oil.
Greta matters, regardless of her merit in opposing the parliament and right-wing philosophers in France, Fox News, the large extractive and warlike companies, their think tanks and last but not least, the holders of the planetary political power Putin, Trump, Bolsonaro and company. She also added the irritations, boasts, and disdain of left and radical thinking in the First, Second and Third worlds, including proud “ethnics” of any denomination. What unanimity! The Swedish girl whose clinical history is public (the new Assange?) gave a media dimension to the central claim of our time, took it to European parliaments, to the exasperating UN assembly, echoing in the streets of more than a hundred cities after infesting high schools and youth clubs.
The planet is dying, at least as we knew it. That is, in the conditions that made it habitable, unique in the galaxy, the habitat of all civilizations. The problem is not whether Greta is Joan of Arc (which she is), or whether we like it or not. There are alternatives of consciousness, struggles and resistances of greater depth and eloquence, but instead of turning to them and acting, we suck our finger of candy on candy, of indignation on indignation. The one that brought us is taking us and we are still wasting time.
You don’t like what children do? Hey, there are alternatives for adults. It stands out for its clarity and forcefulness Extinction Rebellion (ER), a new direct resistance movement, originated in London, which as of October 7 carries out actions in 60 cities (I fear not ours) that really challenge corporations , governments and their police. They are killing it. Their impeccable reasoning is what we should discuss now. Their logo, an hourglass, tells us: “time is running out”. Are we going to keep saying goodbye to jungles and glaciers between tears and prayers? As David Bowie recites: “I demand a better future.”
The world is going through a mass extinction event, ER argues. It is estimated that between 30 and 40 thousand species become extinct every year. The ongoing destruction process is caused by human activity. Such catastrophic loss of biodiversity is likely to generalize a collapse of ecosystems that would leave the planet uninhabitable for humans: “Something’s happening. You know it, you feel it. It calls you to be a part. ”
ER says: “We are reaching a point of no return. Governments do nothing. Neither do businesses. It is not a distant apocalypse. People suffer and die in the world right now. Whole species disappear. And it will get worse. The time to act is today. It is happening to others. Soon it will be you and the ones you love. Don’t count on us, or Greta, to do it for you. Look inside yourself and rebel. ER calls to peacefully occupy the centers of power and close them until the governments act for the climatic and ecological emergency. “Leave your desk, invite your boss, turn off the television, put the cell phone aside. Take to the streets. Respect the existence or expect resistance. ”
Originally Published in Spanish by La Jornada
Monday, October 7, 2019
Re-Published with English interpretation by the Chiapas Support Committee