History is in motion. Can you feel it?
From the birth of new democracies that rose up during the Arab Spring, to the massive mobilizations across Spain and Greece, to the Israeli encampments, to the emblematic occupation of Wall street, this “movement of movements” is gaining speed.
We know why we need this movement — the climate crisis is already beginning to be felt across the world. Drought in the Horn of Africa, floods in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Thailand, and massive hurricanes and cyclones hitting the United States, the Philippines, and Mexico.
We know what is holding the world back from bold climate action: corporate polluters that value profits over people. These big polluters have corrupted our governments and prevented the democratic will for real action on the greatest challenges of our time. Time and again, these members of the 1% have blocked the clean energy and climate legislation that would benefit the other 99% of us.
Now, people around the world are rising up to turn the tide. In recent weeks, inspired by occupations across Europe, the Middle East and the impact of #OccupyWallStreet, hundreds of new occupations large and small have begun in cities around the world. People from all parts of society are gathering together in public spaces and discussing where to go from here. The common thread that carries through these global occupations is the process of open assemblies and direct democracy – everyone has the opportunity to speak and be heard.
The #occupy movements represent a real chance for grassroots people power to flourish — a chance for “the 99%” of global citizens to create the opportunities for real democracy and bold climate action.
As Naomi Klein has said: “What climate change means is that we have to do this on a deadline. This time our movement cannot get distracted, divided, burned out or swept away by events. This time we have to succeed.”
With the urgency of global climate change, the knowledge and skills of the 350.org network can play a crucial role in spreading and shaping the growing movements around the world. So get involved — whether it’s joining a local occupation, engaging in the global conversation, or just expressing your solidarity online.
The www.350.org/occupy page has more resources and reading material to get the discussion started. No one knows exactly what the #occupy movement will go from here — but it has the potential to be a true game-changer in the race against climate change.
If you go to a local event, remember that they are all being organized by a unique crowd-led, consensus-based process. There will likely be some parts of your local occupation that you love, and other things you might want to help change. A strength of the #occupy movement is its diversity, so there’s no way to know exactly what each local occupation will look and feel like. For many, this is a new process, so I’ve been encouraging everyone I know to approach each occupation with an open-mind and a good deal of flexibility.
And just as we’ve done during big days of action in the past, send us a photo from your local occupation or general assembly. Make a sign or banner that says how you feel, or send us a photo of the favorite sign you see. Send the photo as an attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org, or post on our Facebook Wall.
It’s time to take the pollution out of politics, and the #occupy movement has opened a door to do just that. Now it’s up to all of us to walk through that door.
Kevin Buckland for the 350.org team