Recycle. Eat less meat. Buy electric cars. Have fewer kids. Reduce consumption. Install solar panels on your home.
These are just a few of the (primarily middle-class oriented) ideas that the media have offered over the last year to help you figure out “what you can do now” to address climate change and to avoid its most devastating impacts.
Yet, in view of the 24th Annual Conference of the Parties (COP24) in Katowice, Poland–a fiasco that produced no binding commitments by nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions so as to avoid catastrophic climate change–these actions are clearly not enough.
They never were enough.
So, that being said, here are a few more things you can do:
1) Join the Extinction Rebellion.
Started this year in the UK, the Extinction Rebellion–which has spread to at least 35 countries–is a movement dedicated to taking radical, nonviolent direct action in rebellion against government inaction on climate change.
If the Extinction Rebellion is not your cup of tea, however, then find or start a rebellion that is, because by now it should be incandescently clear that radical, massive, strategic nonviolent civil disobedience, disruption and noncooperation are precisely what are called for in the face of governmental elites’ intransigence regarding climate change. We must disrupt, disrupt, disrupt until they surrender their allegiances to fossil fuel interests and neoliberalism, go back to the negotiating table, and then in good faith hammer out a robust, binding, enforceable and equitable global climate agreement.
2) Organize where you are.
An existential crisis demands more than signing petitions and climate marches.
So, take responsibility for canvassing at least 25 homes and apartment complexes where you live. Recruit concerned neighbors to help with canvassing and to organize neighborhood events and climate resistance. Leave literature! (In other words, be like the Jehovah Witnesses who, without fail, knock on doors every Saturday morning. Except talk about climate change, of course.) Converse with and organize members of your family, your faith community, and others with whom you socialize as well as work.
3) Support and demand, by every nonviolent means necessary, a Green New Deal.
Not a neoliberal/neocolonial Green New Deal, but an ecosocialist, global justice, labor-oriented, equitable, bottom-up Green New Deal, one that presumes not only that we need a “command and control” economy to effectively address the climate crisis; but also that we need to end further military spending and, ultimately, war itself.
That Green New Deal.
4) Join, expand, and/or create radical, self-determined, non-hierarchical, decentralized, and intentionally diverse (class, race, sexuality, gender, species) transcommunity networks, co-ops, coalitions, and other forms of organizing designed to meet people’s everyday needs as well as to respond–with food, work, medical care, housing, and other means of support–to climate catastrophes as they arise.
Because not only must we be ready should our governments fail us (or increasingly turn against us–in proper COINTELPRO fashion–in order to secure the interests of corporations and economic elites in the midst of growing unrest); but we must also prefigure the kind of world we want.
Moreover, if dystopia is our future, then at least we can make it a just one.
5) As you recycle, eat less (or no) meat, use public transportation rather than drive, cut down on how often you fly, purchase local produce, and vote during every election cycle–as you do all of these things, desegregate and decolonize your personal life. Question and transform your commitment, at the level of everyday acts and habits, to private property, national identity, militarism, capitalism, patriarchy, speciesism, and other global hierarchies of power.
In other words, if what you hold dear keeps you tethered to systems that will kill us all off, then you need to forget about it anyway. After all, it is extraordinarily difficult to change what you personally support.
This article was originally published in Counterpunch.