By Joe Montero
Drought, no doubt made worse by climatic change brought about by the emerging effects of human induced global warming, ignites destructive fires in New South Wales.
A wall of fire hit the village of Rappville, south of Casino in the north of the state. Twenty homes are incinerated. It could have been worse. Fires like this can take lives.
Bushfires are becoming more frequent and happening in places where where they didn’t use to.
Last week, the focus of the usual cabal of deniers and fossil fuel industry defenders was not on the fires, but on taking shots at Extinction Rebellion. In their eyes, these people committed the unpardonable crime of taking part in a Spring Rebellion, and having the audacity to disrupt buSiness and hold up traffic.
It does not take a genius to work out that bushfires are much more inconvenient, and the impact of serious climate warming would be devastating. This is exactly where we’re heading, unless enough is done to stop it.
Realities like this expose the weakness of the critics. They cannot deal with the issues, when they have nothing solid to stand on. so they resort to name calling and ridiculous fantasies. It’s the only weapons they have left.
They wail in horror about those who are demanding action on the threat of the climate crisis and show they are in this together on the streets of our cities and towns. They snarl at every image of and word from Greta Thunberg. Who would have thought she would scare them so much?
Besides all the claims about fake news and people been manipulated by sinister forces, the one ingredient missing from the collective make up of these critics, is a sense of empathy.
Contrast this with those who were taking part in the Spring Rebellion actions, who went out of their way, to talk to those being inconvenienced, or handed out flyers expressing sincere regret that the situation has become so serious, that it has to be this way.
Who is it that really cares about people?
An urgent response to the crisis is necessary, if we are to avoid calamity through disastrous environmental destruction, economic collapse including a water and food crisis, and the breakdown of society.
The thing is, most people get it. They are not hostile to Extinction Rebellion. They may not be sure about how serious the problem is. But they do want something done about it.
Last week’s events came on the heels of the massive climate strike on 20 September. Together, they brought home the message that a strong movement for change exists in Australia.
The Spring Rebellion showed that Extinction Rebellion is a force to be reckoned with, and has a great potential for growth. It exists and has been able to pull off what it has, because comes from the rising concern of the broader population.
It exists because of the sad truth that many of our political leaders are failing in the hour of need, and the existing political institutions show that they are not up to the task of delivering what is needed.
The polls keep on telling us that most of the Australian population has little trust in them.
When 59.4 percent of Australians didn’t trust the politicians and political and institutions in 2018 and this is tipped to hit 90 percent by 2015; and when even more believe that there must be more action on global warming, the Australian public has become a powerful force.
If this sentiment was to transform into active participation in action, there would be no stopping it. And it is this that the supporters of the fossil fuel industry fear most of all.
Rising distrust is not caused by the climate crisis alone. It is the same for every major economic and social issue of our time, and it’s starting to transform the political landscape.
The rise of Extinction Rebellion is part of it.
Change must be more than cosmetic. This is becoming better understood, and this is causing a shift from the politics of protest to the politics of rebellion.
One is reactive and relies on appeals to the political leaders to do the right thing. Ultimately it means reliance on them.
The other is proactive, focusing on taking the initiative to bring about change from below. Appeals are secondary to working towards the conditions, which will either compel the political leaders to act appropriately, or push them out of the way.
A week of Spring Rebellion has provided a glimpse of what is possible, and laid the foundation for more in the future. This is only the beginning.
By stacking to its three calls, tell the truth, net zero carbon emissions by 2025, and a citizens assembly to make the decisions, Extinction Rebellion will remain on course to win the future.
Pressure to deviate from this course will be applied by those who want to harm Extinction Rebellion or try to impose their own formulas. This must be resisted. Being comfortable on the political margins must be replaced, by moving onward into being the political mainstream.