The actions of Extinction Rebellion have captured some of my attention recently. People are engaging in civil disobedience, disrupting the flow of traffic to shut down areas of London, and then other locations, being willing to be arrested to bring more attention to what is happening with global warming and climate change, with the legal defense of justification because society is not reducing our greenhouse gas emissions on the scale that is necessary.
The Extinction Rebellion organizers have come up with a list of principles. That's good. They have also come up with a list of demands, which is even better.
1. We demand the truth from our government.
2. We demand that we halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
3. We demand that citizens assemblies be part of the process.
4. We demand justice for indigenous and poor people.
Demand #4 was added in the United States after the first three started in London.
There are legitimate questions that could be asked about the above. Considering the infrastructure that is already in place, such as existing housing, transportation, and so on, is it even possible to reach net zero emissions at the level of society by 2025? That might be exactly what needs to happen, but is it even physically possible?
I might be close to net zero in carbon emissions myself. My studio apartment has only one exterior surface, the east-facing wall. I don't own a car, and get around mostly by bicycle, with occasionally walking and using public transit. Most of the food that I eat is organic.
Growing food organically helps take carbon out of the atmosphere. Organic growing puts plant and animal waste into the soil to feed the microorganisms and other organisms that live there. It's part of the cycle of life.
Different people face different prospects for risk by participating in civil disobedience. Being semi-retired, I probably face relatively little risk personally by participating in civil disobedience, and being arrested. I'm thinking about it.
Here's a thought. I demand that people in Extinction Rebellion recognize the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Earth Charter as supreme law for all of humanity. An organization that is not ready to unite on that, and help take things to a completely new level, is probably not worth my time. It just helps to establish the rules of the game before we start playing.
The previous article was "Time and Space."
April 22, 2019