I find it hard to criticize any of the aims of Extinction Rebellion. Almost all of what they advocate accords with my own deeply felt convictions on what is wrong with our world.
I have no experience of “activism” and instinctively I have steered clear of trouble all my life. Not for me, banner waving in Parliament Square. Let alone getting mown down by a fireman’s hose or injured by a rubber bullet. But someone has to do the job I suppose.
I am greatly opposed to violence in any form but these people profess pacifism. I have always been a fan of Mahatma Gandhi.
I am only peripherally aware of what Extinction Rebellion has achieved so far. I don’t know the people involved and can not judge their sincerity or true motivation. But what I can do is to admire their vision. And to wish there was a political party I could vote for whose agenda included these aims, so close to my own heart.
Take a look at their vision. Can there be a man of any religious conviction at all who could quibble with these stated aims? Can there be a woman of any decency who can deny that all of this and more is needed to create a just world of which we can be proud?
Is any of this achievable in practice? The naysayers, the cynics, the greedy will deny it. But denial does not make such aims foolish or impossible. It would of course require a complete reversal of our evolutionary instincts but we can not grow as a species without abandoning vicious Darwinism.
Without further ado, let me quote some of my favorite passages.
We catch glimpses of a new world of love, respect and regeneration, where we have restored the intricate web of all life.
We rise in the name of truth and withdraw our consent for ecocide, oppression and patriarchy. We rise up for a world where power is shared for regeneration, repair and reconciliation. We rise for love in its ultimate wisdom.
We live in a world of fear, where dog eats dog and man’s insatiable lust for power and material possessions runs unchecked. We live in a world where the likes of Donald Trump are allowed to preach racism and violence. We live in a world where almost half of the richest nation on earth voted for a man of ignorance, deceit, and violence as their leader.
Our world values something we call “economic growth” above anything else. A world where beauty and natural resources are trampled and destroyed so that titans of industry can accumulate ever more. So that corrupt politicians and their supporters can continue to fill the troughs out of which they gorge themselves.
We need to bring about a world where we aim for growth in happiness, not the economy. An environment where what we care about is the eradication of poverty and suffering above all else.
My detractors will trot out well worn tropes, the trickle down effect being chief among these. But try trickling down to the people in Grenfell Tower. Try trickling down to the victims of Robert Mugabe or the human detritus so despised by the American presidency.
I am not a believer in Christ, but try reading the Beatitudes and see if you can spot any similarities with the aims outlined by Extinction Rebellion.
Take a look at the Eightfold Noble Path and dare to tell me I am wrong to feel the way I do.
For thousands of years good men (and women) have seen the “truth”. For thousands of years we have ignored and trampled such people underfoot.
If we are to rise to Teilhard de Chardin’s Omega Point, it is time to start listening. And time to act. Peaceably, but decisively. NOW.