Enough to break the ice.
Within as little as 100 years two airports in the San Francisco bay area will be under water. I love urban culture for the art in everything– from the fashion to the architecture, from the tattoos to the murals. The biggest of tragedies in my mind which climate change is producing is its inherent threat to the world’s coasts, where the majority of the country’s big cities lie. The last thing I want to see is generations robbed of the beauty of city culture and all the unique diverse ways life is expressed in those places. How do I break the news to my loved ones? It’s all about messaging. I saw recently in Slingshot newspaper (radical, free newspaper published independently out of Berkeley) a survey being taken on how to make protests more kid-friendly. I think this is spot-on thinking. Now is the time more than ever to collaborate and send the right positive messages to youthful generations. In this high-tech and information-dense era, how do we reach each other?
The average American sees over three hundred advertisements every single day. This year at Earth Day I stood at the Civic Center in San Francisco handing out flyers for people to join our Arctic Day of Action and it didn’t hit home with strangers walking by as much I’d hope it would. They showed interest but it seemed to blur the line between organizing and advertising, the line all the other vendors were blurring with their flyers as well.
When 2pm came, we all gathered in an open area and held our big red heart out to the public and invited everyone around us to join in our action to make an I <3 the Arctic banner. Greenpeace volunteers, interns, activists and employees came together to send a message. These human banners were constructed around the world and sent in a scrapbook to Secretary of State John Kerry. When we told people how oil companies are trying to use the melting ice caps (that they helped create through global warming) as an opportunity to drill at the top of our melting Earth; folks changed from strangers to community activists in love with this planet just as much as we are. People were riled up and overjoyed to be part of our action happening right then and there!
“Boots on the ground” will always be our best tool in organizing because nothing gets people’s attention so much as human beings standing in front of them. Face to face. This notion was further expressed by Derek Sivers, creative entrepreneur, in his TEDtalk. He identified the real hero as being not the one who leads, but the first person who has the courage to follow, the first person to shift from stranger to community activist.
In leading the young generations who are taking over activism we need a message of empowerment, opportunity and a belief in this generation to be more capable and worthy than the last generation of activists. Earth Day 2013 demonstrated that handing a giant fabric heart over to the public was the best way to show people that we are all a part of something bigger worth fighting for and actually get them to fight with us. John Kerry has been a champ for the Arctic in the past, but he’ll need our support to stay that way. We have one more powerful tool in our activist toolbox. This tool will help shepherd in the generations inheriting this Earth and inspire them to join us. Our best tool in saving our relationship with this planet is building relationships with each other.
Click here to get involved with our Save the Arctic campaign.