Subject: Re: Further significance of the climate camp [CF]
Chris - I am happy to hear that you found the camp to be a cause for hope.
The arguments on John Vidal's Guardian weblog seem to indicate that you and I [all of us] need it.
Knowing this is at odds with the Gods - not-to-mention MediaLens - I re-subscribe to the view that the 'leadership/movement' dimension is one that invites us all back to re-invent the failures of perception in the past [political and otherwise] that create as many problems as are often claimed they solve. The 'media' are part of a problem here; they are not the problem per se. I am uncomfortable with the zero-tolerance strategy of media-lens in the reporting of this matter. Words are proportional to complexity; numbers are significant when a function of the deep-simplicity underlying complexity. It is the choice of the 'numeraire' [the unit of measurement] that is the challenge. Words without this choice are just that.
There is a Zen Buddhist saying that, 'we should not mistake the finger for the moon'. It gets even harder when the finger starts wagging because sooner or later, it is a finger on the hand of a Stalin poised over the ephemeral button of 'power'.
The camp didn't get near any of that, but the moon didn't get seen either. The journalists were not the only parties to that [what for me is] 'blindness' or error.
Anyway - uncharacteristically for me perhaps - what follows was intended in the spirit of David to Saul.
"Those whom the Gods would destroy, first they drive mad."
The strict purpose behind of all this climate-comment and climate-activity is achieving the objective of the UN Climate Convention, which is safe and stable atmosphere greenhouse gas concentration.
The potential for achieving this diminishes daily for many reasons but all these seem to have one thing in common, namely talking and acting in ways that are increasingly forgetful of and even alienated from this purpose.
The climate-camp took a necessarily critical but also an essentially modest and rational position on the airline-industry in relation to the objective of the UN Climate Convention. Certainly with the help of journalists like Johann Hari of the Independent, that point was won and came through clearly - peer-reviewed-science; climate change - danger; injustice - we fly and they die.
So really well done to the climate-camp. This was a genuine achievement tooted in Woody Allen's first rule of success; "be there". You were - Gandhi would have been proud.
It would be a pity now to diminish or obscure that focus.
History is largely a long record of people just getting mad with each other for perceived 'infringements' and having disagreements that turn nasty and forgetting what they were really trying to achieve.
Yes - blogs are for letting off steam and this one need be no different. But the danger is that the focus diminishes as we get caught in sniping - [for those wonder, yes guilty as charged - though I am loathe to wear it - I recognise the cap].
Journalists are just humans being human. Generally over the twenty years [of at least my own involvement since 1988] the media record on climate change has been has been pretty feeble. However, there have been some journalists who have made and sustained stand and at a cost: - Geoffrey Lean, Fred Pearce, Alex Kirby, John Vidal, Paul Brown, Larry Elliott, Julian Rush, Nik Gowing to name an honoured few. [Lest we forget one could also name a few who didn't].
That said, it is not hard to understand why a seasoned journalist like John Vidal, [who in my experience was generally more interested in reporting on being down a burrow with Swampy that writing up Contraction and Convergence - for any who wonder where I'm sitting] would take offence at not being recognised as one of them. I can see why he would react at being treated effectively as 'unreliable' rather than with trust.
Also, it is not hard to understand why a campaining journalist like George Monbiot would find - and even want to find - new reasons for hope about dealing effectivley with climate change at the climate camp. For the record he has been more candid about the jeopardy we are in than most. And the fact is he did find hope and he had good reason to: - the basic mmessage from the camp was projected and well focused and did did come through: - climate change extreme danger; injustice we fly they die; peer-reviewed science.
That said, projecting 'new political movements' is not necessarily the most constructive way of consolidating that focus. The 'memories' are mostly bad and none are precedents for this dilemma. Moreover, in this context projecting this is unavoidably and I would say unnecessarily provocative. And then what follows is that we, as each other's judges, drive each other mad with some rancourous post-mortems. That saves the Gods the job and helps us to further destroy ourselves and without their help . . . . and I suspect 'the media', let alone the rest of the world-gone-shopping, will be truly indifferent to this.
The odds are already so against all of us stopping climate change. Also, while many people who want and like to act effectively and are inspired by the climate-camp and its operations, they may also just be demoralised by more noise and anger in the green-movement and give in to their worst fears. I can honestly say that for me its now sometimes a battle not to. In twenty years we have just made the problem worse and worse . . . . [Though the medicine is that if you want to die laughing, you have to practice every day].
At the US Embassy climate Demonstration eighteen months ago, George Monbiot eloquently spoke of the challenges that confront those climate-aware people who now uniquely ask for less, not more. Then, pointing at his own head he said, the problem is not George Bush et al, it is 'in here'.
This was very touching. It was not a call for 'new political movement', so much as a call for a renewed stillness - going to the source of the sound.
For me that is the source and the focus of Contraction & Convergence. I am glad that C&C was discussed and upheld at the camp. I hope it was taken as it was conceived - a rational argument in which our best aspirations can yet take root. It is big enough to get everyone in and could yet be small enough to be effective.
Maybe we can yet deny the Gods our own destruction? As George said, if shouting at each other solved the problem, it would be long gone.
Chris <[log in to unmask]>
I attended the climate camp and found the event deeply inspiring and uplifting. The camp was characterised by values of selflessness, solidarity and cooperation. I have never known anything like it - intelligent and deeply committed people acting together for a greater cause. My predictive powers are no better than Russell Grant's, but I sincerely feel this is the beginning of a movement which will have a profound impact on how we live our lives.
----- Original Message -----
From: [log in to unmask]
" href="mailto:[log in to unmask]" target="_blank" onclick="return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)">SoW Net
Sent: Tuesday, August 21, 2007 5:31 PM
Subject: Fw: Further significance of the climate camp [CF]
----- Original Message -----
From: [log in to unmask]
" href="mailto:[log in to unmask]" target="_blank" onclick="return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)">Save our World
To: [log in to unmask]
" href="mailto:[log in to unmask]" target="_blank" onclick="return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)">
Sent: Tuesday, August 21, 2007 5:12 PM
Subject: Further significance of the climate camp
Further significance of the climate camp
There is a further way that the Climate Camp at Heathrow has been significant, in addition to the elements of participatory democracy that George Monbiot has mentioned ('Beneath Heathrow's pall of misery, a new political movement is born' Guardian 20 August). It demonstrated a radically different set of cooperative values from the dominant, exploitative ones which have led to the human effects not only on climate change, but also on all the other threats to the preservation of life in its present form. Governments and individuals have to go way beyond changing behaviour alone, in a deep commitment to change underlying motives, priorities and fundamental values. Either we do this willingly, or the escallation of catastrophes will eventually force this upon us all.
SAVE OUR WORLD
14 Richborne Terrace,
London SW8 1AU
020 7640 0492 & 07717 221617
37 Ravenswood Road
LONDON E17 9LY
Ph 0208 520 4742