[apologies for the length! Legal training can be a deficit sometime!!!]
(1) MY LEARNING FROM LOCK THE GATE
When I was first told about the dangers of fracking, I formed a group with about 4/5 others in the little town where I was. No one else was interested. We kept going to local markets, holding town meetings, liaised with QUit COal who provided support, then went to the local council and presented petitions, then it began to spread as a farmer in Seaspray did not realise that once he let a gas company person on his property, he could not get them off! He was a large country guy will no fancy city airs about him and not really articulate, but his pain and sorrow at what was happening on his land was palpable. I could not believe that two years later it was like a runaway boulder going down a hill - one by one the small towns across Gippsland did what we did - knocked on the doors of every resident and asked whether they wanted gas mined in or around our town, ‘traditional / conventional’ or by hydraulic fracturing. About 98% said “NO!”. Each town printed a certificate saying that their town had been declared by 97 / 98 % or so gas free. We then traveled to the city and met up with all the local groups from all over Gippsland. We all signed a large banner with where we were from, and the Premier was presented with this basket full of certificates. It was one of the most fulfilling days of my life…until the Vic govt allowed offshore fracking near the 12 apostles, and more recently decided (under the f&#$ing cover of the pandemic) to allow gas exploration (…but not fracking!!!) A Pyrrhic victory in the end. Then Morrison suggested the ‘gas fired extinction’ licking the boots of the fossil fool companies. That is why I joined XR.
The take away - once momentum builds, you will pinch yourself, but you have to start… and keep going!!!
(2) TARGET AUDIENCE
Our target audience, in my view, includes:
–> are people like me - 'middle class
- not so radical but shit scared that we are heading for extinction. There must be so many more - isolated and depressed!
–> farmers, engineers, lawyers, doctors - all professional groups for climate change
–> 350.org people, parents for CC, bayside action group, etc
–> children in the strike for climate, 16-19 years - the young first time voters who are disaffected
–> the unemployed - not even given a voice - perhaps contact the unemployed workers union
–> workers from anywhere - firemen, nurses, loggers, anyone!!! ANYONE who will listen or is ready to listen!!!
(3) APPROACH AND ATTITUDE - RE-FRAMING
I think a great part of the problem is focusing on what is going on that we do not want,and what might come if things don’t change and falling down the rabbit hole of despair. I was spending so much time angry at government inaction and this law and that law (by writing to politicians, protesting, forming human signs, signing petitions, lobbying to change this law and that policy etc) that it was all very negative.
It is a question of re-framing the ‘debate’. [George Lakoff - Don’t think of an elephant talks about this]. Have a message group on mattermost that focuses on ‘reframing propaganda’ - any rebel can contribute - there are so many creative and brilliant people out there!!
PRIOR TO THIRD WAVE - my suggestion is to go into the belly of the beast in a non-rebellious way about 2-3 weeks before the third wave. For ‘more bang for buck’ perhaps crowdfund some money for advertising - to get our message across and raise our profile.
The minimum - largest billboard nearest to parliament, in Sydney and Melb in the centre of the city, and in all other capital cities. If possible a short ad on YouTube, and even a 2 page spread in the MURDOCH press!
If too expensive, then just billboards in major cities,
A huge plain white billboard with words like this (and our web page):
Something like: "Do you want to keep heading towards extinction?
We have three demands:
- Tell the truth
- Take Action
- Convene a people’s assembly
RE-new, RE-vision, REBEL!
At the same time rebel local groups could (if they choose to of course! sos) saturate their areas with posters or chalk stencils with stark but memorable slogans on a rolling basis before wave 3 (stage 2?):
All that reframe the issue - turn the government rhetoric against it!!!
"NO GAS FIRED EXTINCTION FOR ME! WITH RENEWABLES THE EARTH CAN BREATHE!!!
Titanic planet? NOT for me - turn away from disaster for humanity!! OR
Not Drowning, Rebelling! [picture of someone standing on top of a pile of rubbish, or in ‘the gyre’?]
Do you want “Gas fired Extinction” or a Re-Vision - a joyous Carbon Neutral Future? [lots of rhetoric!!!]
As I said, the bottom line is that the key challenge for us is to re-frame the ‘debate’. Any time a government propagandist says ‘gas is a good transition fuel’, we say -NO! because we are committed to telling THE TRUTH.
eg - the many factors:
–> THE SCIENTIFIC: the IPCC gives us less than 10 years - there is no transition. Gas is a GHG
–> THE COSTS - gas and coal infrastructure does not make sense - politically or economically. THe price of renewables has come down so much…We will be stuck with infrastructure worth zero and diverting our precious resources
–> KEEPING UP WITH THE JONES’ - most other countries are massively investing in renewables - we will be left behind
–> ENVIRONMENTAL - pollution - gas that escapes, infrastructure disrupts precious wildlife, etc
(4) VIDEOS - emotionally stirring short films could help. Are there any film makers within XR? Do we have the resources?
Lock the gate did some great videos - ‘Gippsland is precious’ is one - very powerful.
Show a grey wet rainy Melbourne day, someone walking to work. They stop at the traffic light and take off coat - multicoloured clothes underneath - starts singing - an XR flash mob appears. With lots of instruments
OR show ‘rebels’ giving police jelly babies or cup cakes! Or the disco rebellion!
OR “We” could do three short films, based roughly on our 3 demands - called:
- RE-vise - change from fossil fuel to renewables and restructuring every strata of society - a whole lot of talking heads and enthusiastic idealists picturing how great the future could be --> or pan over the looged sites and huge stumps of what was forest, pan over the coal mines that are being decommissioned - show the gaping sores on our earth. Contrast with going over an organic farm or such.
- RE-new - focus on all the actions already that are renewing
2.1. agriculture (permaculture and acquaculture, key line water, organic small farms and ‘slow’ food,
2.2. business - cooperatives, B corporations, BALLE (canada), Transition towns (UK), co housing
- REBELl!!! List how the media and government are LYING TO US, and ignoring the latest science. That the largest fossil fools have corrupted the political elites - so that polite action is no longer on the table. Then show joyful rebellion all over the world, and interspersed with short snippets of the energy and inspiration each Rebel gained from being in that rebellion
(5) SONG Publicise an Australia wide Rebel competition (prize??? lots of hugs!!1), for the best song to encapsulate XR and the times we are in. Something as powerful as Helen Reddy’s “I am woman” but for our movement
(6) STORIES. Nothing beats just talking to people. Telling them your story, or a story about what is possible. It is story telling that makes cold scientific facts easier to understand, and the solutions as well.
When Churchill gave that famous speech about fighting on the beaches etc, things were very grim - there was a huge possibility that the UK would lose to Germany. It was by appealing to a moral core at the heart of UK citizens that all chipped in.
We need to do something like that as well. Tell a story - a bit like sliding doors or ‘back to the future’ where they go to a nasty dystopian time (which actually looks a lot like we have now!).
Images are powerful. Stories are powerful.
My ‘story’ moves people.
What I realised by joining XR is that it is time to join with those people who care a whole lot about changing things as soon as possible, who want to join us for the great transition from gas fired extinction to a renewed and recovering earth.
At the moment, the earth is like the titanic. Lets call it ‘planet titanic’. If we all join together we can make a difference. We can get the captains of industry and government to turn titanic earth around before it hits the iceberg and sinks forever. Yet, the science is grim, but what other choice is there? If you love your children and grandchildren and the beautiful sunny days where nature abounds, join us.
Its time for a RE-Vision and RE-Newal. Regenerating people, planet and passion for change. That’s why we REbel.
Instead of water levels rising, why don’t we?
Our government has chosen a gas fired extinction. This is just plain wrong. The science gives up less than ten years, so there is NO transition fuel. We have the technology, capability and people power to roll out renewables across Australia and restructure how we live and how we travel and what we consume RIGHT NOW. Let’s start the renewable million jobs plan!
Let’s all convince the captains of the good ship earth that it is not too late to turn back and avoid extinction
I have only been in XR for a few weeks, but the strength and inspiration everyone gives me is tremendous!