Mass global protest in what’s being called the autumn of discontent is on the rise in Chile, Lebanon, and Hong Kong to name a few. The actions of Extinction Rebellion (XR) in the UK pressured government to declare a climate emergency in April. In October, after two weeks of action, the government has declared a citizens assembly on climate change that should have a report ready for the next parliament. This citizens assembly does not have legislative authority, but it seems better than nothing. More must be done. More people need to take risks, make sacrifices, have fun and meet new people, and become actively involved.
We cannot just sit by and let imaginary super heros hypothetically save the world or rest assured that someone else in the real world will clean up the mess and make things right. You and I need to be doing whatever we can to make things right. Maybe you are and that’s great. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with stepping away for a time for self care to continue the fight in the long term. I’m pretty XRed out to be honest.
Most media coverage of protest focuses on police violence, but what should remain is a focus on the outcome; an attempt in our pre-apocolyptic era to try to fire the imagination after a lifetime of trauma caused by inequality, atomization, over-work, a seemingly narrower set of choices despite an increasing variety of distraction, and the prospect of impending doom.
Climate scientists continue to sound the alarm as they have since the 1970s with a recent report backed by the signatures of 11,000 scientists to demand governments declare a climate emergency. So now we must act like we are in an emergency. What do we do?
- Determine top experts in science, engineering, and related fields that have best assessed the ongoing destruction coupled with a variety of detailed and executable action plans.
- Form expert assemblies, similar to citizens assemblies, that identify the problem areas and suggest what problem areas should have priority. The final say would come from decisions made by citizens assemblies.
- Form Expert councils to specifically target problem areas, since the largest corporates are the primary polluters — just like citizen assemblies should have power in policy making — expert councils should have power in executing the policy by radically augmenting and swiftly transitioning business practices into a centralised unit, further eliminated the waste of effort and resources, while also forming local expert councils to ensure the particular needs of a local area are met.
Grassroots, Free and open source, cooperatives, peer-to-peer, and the commons can all be thrown into the basket of ‘regenerative culture’ and applied as foundational principles going forward, but relentless pressure must continue to ensure these institutions form and have teeth. How can this be done? By forging alliances followed by mass collaborations in strategy and planning.
- Create a think tank alliance, perhaps with New Economy Coalition being a contender, listing and promoting policies from like-minded think tanks attracting top experts in a variety of areas to form a massive conference dedicated to action. Some of these think tanks include: Center for Economic and Policy Research, Institute for Policy Studies, The Democracy Collaborative, People’s Policy Project, The Gravel Institute, and Global Redesign Institute. What others should be on this list?
- This can spread to a greater alliance of non-profit organizations and other institutions or associations from city planning to agriculture; and city plans that include agriculture like that of the completely self sustaining Smart Forest City Cancun.
- These conferences would outline how to effectively build and operate citizens assemblies and expert councils and how they will address the problem areas.
Other pressure tactics such as civil disobiedience should continue to play a role until capitalism is abolished.