I thought I was acting alone. I thought what I did last Friday at the BLM oil and gas auction was just an individual act of civil disobedience against a fraudulent auction and against a cruel leadership indifferent to the future of my generation.
I was wrong. What I have learned since then is that America is still a place where when you stand for what is right, you never stand alone. I can now see that I acted together with all Americans who respect the right as much as the law. I stood with Thoreau, Adams, Parks and Bob Moses. I now stand with the thousands who have expressed their solidarity with my act and will join me in Washington DC on March 2nd for the Capitol Climate Action.
The tremendous outpouring of support which I have received in response to disrupting the BLM’s oil sale has been overwhelming for me. I can only assume that the thanks many of you have offered is not thanks for doing what you won’t, but thanks for awakening your own sense of efficacy. My actions were just the striking of the match head. The purpose of a match is not to light the world by its own flame, but to ignite the tinder and kindling which keeps the fire going. If my act is to be relevant, it must ignite the tinder of grassroots uprising which will burn the fires of change around the world.
The tinder of support already burning has given me hope that this country is ready to meet the urgent challenge before us. That challenge is clear and cannot be understated. James Hansen, the IPCC, Al Gore and others have warned in no uncertain terms that the next couple years are our last chance to take drastic action in response to climate change if we are to protect our civilization as we know it. I believe America is ready to make the sacrifices necessary to rise to that challenge.
For decades the environmental movement has been dominated by cadre-based organizations who told the rest of us to just let the professionals handle things. We have been told that the best we can do is to sign an internet petition and send our donations so that Big Green could hire lobbyists to fight our battles. The upwelling of grassroots energy is finally responding that we are willing and able to do much more. We have discovered that hope for genuine change resides not on K Street or with Obama, but in ourselves. This uprising holds true to the faith that our heritage of civil disobedience is not dead and that we can again make this a government of the people.
In 2009 our new Congress and new President will decide our fate. They will either show heroic courage in standing up to powerful interests and defending our future, or they will demonstrate tragic failure. Failure to respond to this unprecedented crisis. Yet they can only follow the trail we break. So as they decide, we will be there. We will be in Washington on March 2nd, and we will be in every community in America all year long refusing to surrender the future of all for the short term profits of the few. Every one of us faces our own opportunities to make a difference. By responding to those individual challenges to our conscious, together we will defend our future.