Act: Inspiration

A Revolution of the Heart

November 16, 2021

How do we feel as we see COP fail?

COP Fails, since it doesn’t stop fossil fuel extraction, but just calls for a phasing out of subsidies.

COP Fails, since all the promised policies (even if they were acted on) put us on track for 2.4c warming

COP Fails, since actual policies head us to 2.9c, with ex-Chief Scientist, David King, saying we could hit 1.5c by 2030. That is calamitous. We’re only at 1.2c and seeing wildfires, flooding, drought, storms. This is an environmental crises, a social justice crisis, and a crisis for millions now of no food on the table, no roof over the head. No justice.

COP Fails, as it inevitably would, since it’s captured by Governments such as the UK’s who put £10bn of our money a year into subsidising fossil fuel companies,

COP Fails, as it inevitably would, since this is the first COP in 26 COPs to even dare mention fossil fuels as driving the crisis,

COP Fails, as it inevitably would, since the fossil fuel lobby has more delegates at the COP than any government.

What do we feel as we see COP fail?

Do we feel numb? Do we feel Incandescent blazing rage-full grief? Do we feel burnt out from all our efforts?

When we’ve slept and eaten and recovered our energies we’ll need to step forward on a different path. COP is no more.

All the work of the scientists in the IPCC matters. All the wisdom and experience brought by indigenous peoples, by frontline communities, matters. All the wisdom of youth matters.

But, from today, COP is no more where we should be pouring our energy, our pleadings, our experience, our protest.

COP is no more.

Will we step forward from understandable weary numbness into incandescent love in action?

We will need more folk, less burn out.

We have to be the governments we hoped they’d be.

We have to be rid of corporations who deal out deathlihoods not livelihoods, rid of corporations whose profits kill our planet. We’ll need to strip the ultra-rich of their soul-killing greed, of their ultra-lethal wealth that is killing our world.

We have to meet our needs ourselves without pumping our energy into making them powerful.

The domination system (call it what you will) comes down on us viciously if/ when we try to take back power.

Look at what is happening to indigenous peoples trying to defend their lands, trying to defend their belonging to each other and their lands, look at the violence they suffer/ and look at their refusal to give up.

Do we just give up?

Or do we try to take back our power?

There is no longer a middle way between these options.

We’ve tried voting Green, Sanders, Corbyn, independence for Scotland etc. The power of the corporate media is just one tiny part of what thwarts us.

So we need a way way deeper change.

And we EITHER choose to be that deeper change and take the consequences, OR we choose to be on the sidelines, to not be the change, and so watch as those who try fail, and we all take those consequences.

It may be tempting to give up, and just suffer the so-called ‘inevitable’, rather than also suffer for trying for a future.

But even there there’s a deeper choice, which we all know full well.

The choice between being able to look children in the eye, or not being able to look them in the eye.

We can only succeed if we try.

If we try then – succeed or fail – we can look each other in the eye.

I feel traumatised by this system. We are all traumatised by this system.

But we are NOT this system.

We can take joy in the courage of those who act from the heart.

As Marisol García Apagüeño said last week: we have to move from Resistance to Revolution, starting with reclaiming our hearts, reclaiming our humanity.

A revolution of the heart.

Such a move is happening in a billion acts, gestures, movements, uprisings. One of our gestures is

For those who can give time and energy to this struggle, let’s do it.

For those who – for whatever reason – don’t have the energy or time beyond the care you’re already needing or giving . . .

All that’s being asked is not that you do more on a daily basis – you may well not be able to, but your part is absolutely critical . . .

All that’s being asked is that, when you are faced with choices of either speaking up or staying silent, when someone needs to say “The system tries to tell us our humanity is the problem, when it’s not. This inhumane system is the problem”, when those moments happen, when you are needed, please speak up, please be there.

We – who think we’re powerless – are the only ones who can do this.

They – who think they’re powerful – are the only ones who can’t.

We need to move from civil disobedience to political disobedience.

We need to move from captured corporate representative democracy (democracy in name only) to the real and deep democracy of deliberative peoples and citizens assemblies.

Not citizens assemblies bestowed from above as greenwashing exercises in toothless consultations . . .

But citizens assemblies that arise from below in response to people’s assemblies, assembling to meet our real needs and ensure a liveable future.

Moving from civil disobedience to political disobedience will be a huge task.

It’s also an inevitable task. It’s just a question of when we do it. The sooner we do it, the greater chance of a more liveable future.

Lets do this.


Teaser Photo by Alexandru Acea on Unsplash

Justin Kenrick

Justin is an anthropologist and activist from Edinburgh. He is a member of Extinction Rebellion Scotland. Since 2009, has worked with the Forest Peoples Programme, supporting communities to secure their community lands and determine their own futures.

Tags: building resilient communities, Citizens' Assemblies, climate change responses, climate justice movements