Its true, I understand completely what Greta Thunberg means when she says that she fell into a depression after seeing that there is a CRISIS for thirty years at least and no one is “doing” anything about it, as she explained in a recent interview on Democracy Now! That everyone was saying “I care, I care” but no one was actually dropping everything and treating daily life like a disaster zone; except I suppose for people who were already literally or metaphorically putting out fires around them; their burning home, their flooded home, their home torn to pieces–Those who already were living in a disaster zone. She got really angry. This kind of hysterical anger, I remember it well, as Ive been there myself. The kind of unacceptable hysterical anger that age and therapy and new forms of anger-management has told me to redirect.
But then, why shouldn’t we be hysterical, if this is really a crisis, why are we being so polite about it. I mean shouldn’t we be more hysterical. Why are politics so polite (except for the popular example recently in British parliament of the speaker John Bercow https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/may/22/john-bercow-reported-to-commons-watchdog-over-stupid-woman-claims who is calling for order but being abusive and rude at the same time and abuses his power like a drunk white man and I urge America not to become too bedazzled by this).
I mean why aren’t we getting more angry? Well for one thing it feels like even the most benign suggestions are often met with confusing and even indignant coldness. The idea of flying less for example. –Somehow seems ridiculous to so many people. Or worse, not that its not a good idea but that somehow the entire idea of using less and consuming less is actually part of the long game of the corporations who just want to keep polluting and wasting and put the onus of the responsibility on us; burdening us with guilt so they don’t actually have to do anything https://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=757539617. Well its not that its not true, its not that its not true that big corporations waste more and should be doing more, and were behind multiple campaigns to get us to buy disposable things in the first place, and then were behind multiple campaigns to get us to deal with our own trash and now no one feels like the individual can do anything anymore and its actually their fault for all that manipulative advertising but for fucks sake!
At what point do we actually take a responsibility for our action and not blame some “campaign”, thinking somehow we would have done different if a Russian bot hadn’t been telling us to drink the Kool-aid? For fucks sake. Are we seriously all that stupid that we cant take responsibility for who we voted for and what we buy?
And if we are getting angry now, where do we direct this anger, what now do we do with this anger? Because im angry now, agitate really, with those who say the individual makes no difference, and that there is no real consumer power and they were manipulated by ads.
But I’m mad at Greta too (no, not really, but the movement inspires more agitation in me, as perhaps it should). Im mad because I want to know what the fuck it means to DO something on Monday morning and you’re meant to be at work. If she/we look around and it seems like “no one” or “most people” aren’t doing anything, and not fast enough, just going back to work on Monday morning because what else is going to pay our rent? Because a crisis seems more than just “everyone just do a little bit.” No – a crisis means everyone drops everything and stops what they are doing NOW and DO something. I don’t want to hear inspirational messages about giving us the power to do something. I want real concrete answers. I want everything to actually stop. But then what? Who exactly gets to stop? Who doesnt?
What exactly does it even mean to DO something once a person has tried to do the things: the no flying and the no new plastics and the no buying new things and the no using new electronics and the general stop on consumerism. None of these things, by the way, are a sacrifice—it is a privilege and a joy to say no to these things. It is a privilege and a joy to refuse to have an Alexa, a car, a television. Life is so much better without them.
What then, what then is a person to do when they feel like they’ve done the things and they really don’t think that standing outside with a sign without receiving government support for their livelihood will be very smart. How are they going to eat. Who is going to feed us if we were to all live in trees or all picket on the streets. What now. We should all be working less and working less for money but now what. I’ve seen all those wonderful people protesting in tress in Hambacher Forest. Ive seen the network of supporters helping them. The network functions, they believe it will, and it does. It persists. So. If more and more people join them—is this the answer? Does our network, support, continue to survive, how do we shift the production lines, how do we do it quickly like what Greta is describing. Because she is describing a kind of speed with which we all throw down everything and decide to grab a shovel and unless we all do it at once its this terrible waiting game.
She says to direct our anger, transform our anger. But this is what the adults have always been saying. This is what we have been doing, isnt it?
Democracy Now! With Greta Thunberg
The Litter Myth https://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=757539617
John Bercow https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/may/22/john-bercow-reported-to-commons-watchdog-over-stupid-woman-claims