Peter Morris has posted his recollections of the Greenpeace occupation of Rockall back in the closing
days years of the last century, when we challenged the UK claim on a tiny rock in the Atlantic. The UK Government believed owning Rockall gave them rights to exploit a vast new source of oil that the world couldn’t then, and can’t now, afford to burn.
This was one of those daring actions in the defence of the Global Commons that just peg the meter on the gumption scale. Peter and three teammates had to abseil from a boat to get onto that rock, then spent 42 days in a kevlar shell strapped to the damn thing — 1 day longer than a British soldier had spent standing symbolic guard duty over the bird poop to declare Rockall a part of Britain, and therefore extending her territorial and economic claims far out into the Atlantic.
No New Oil was our slogan, and we called for 20% cuts of CO2, (compared to 1990 levels) by 2005. Ahh, if only people had listened — but back then most didn’t believe in climate change, didn’t see an urgency, and didn’t believe our carbon addiction was to blame.A decade later, the fools are still wasting time and money looking for oil out there in the deep, dark, wild ocean.
Rockall 1997 — No new oil « Stuff
We at Greenpeace took the threat of Global Warming to the level of civil disobedience back in the 90s (80s? Our pre-internet institutional memory can be a bit amnesic) to raise the alarm.
Today, as Al Gore steps up to accept the Nobel Prize, we can consider that job done. Slower than we would have liked, but the constellation of voices which have finally brought the threat level up to a point where it’s lodged in our collective gray matter is impressive — and Al Gore deserves this prize as no other politician does.
But Al had the right question:
“I can’t understand why there aren’t rings of young people blocking bulldozers,” Mr. Gore said, “and preventing them from constructing coal-fired power plants.”
And it’s to the people who respond to that call over the next decade who I hope might be stepping up in Oslo to take the prize in 2017. Because while the alarm has been raised, the fire brigade hasn’t really responded.
We have six activists in prison at this moment for painting Smoking Kills on a coal stack in India.
But that’s Greenpeace, that’s what we, institutionally, do. Civil disobedience should be happening on a far greater scale, among far more people across a far wider spectrum of society, in far more corners of the world.
If I do a Google Search on “arrested coal protesters ‘global warming’” I get 260,000 hits.
And if I ask for only hits which don’t mention Greenpeace, that number drops by nearly a third.
A search on “Britney Spears arrested” on the other hand, yields 2 million hits.
Something, here, is not right.
So on this, Blog Action Day, I’d make this appeal. Maybe you can’t occupy a mid-ocean mini-continent, but you can read the book by the guy who thought that idea up, and organise your own actions to stop bulldozers. You can read Field Notes from a Catastrophe and make sure every one of your friends does as well. You can join the 7 Steps Campaign. You can change the way you use energy.
You can follow the words of wisdom which Confucius laid down 2500 years ago or so as a parable for activists:
I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.
Take some action against Global Warming today. And Britney, this means you, too.
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Tags: blog action day, gore, nobel, civil disobedience, coal, climate, global warming