A movement Of Movements: A call to Action
Part 2: A Call To Action: Linking Climate Change and Social Justice Issues To Save Democracy and the World
Click Here For Part 1: Let's March.
Developed By Alice Holstein, Ed.D.
Your document is an excellent representation of visionary truth. It expressed a faith in our future based on the coalescing facts that the planetary consciousness is truly at the edge of enlightenment. I wrote in my margin, “Trump is the writing on the WALL. Tear down the WALL.” The image of the Trump administration is now a choice for the future. It has shown us how the world will be if that “WALL” is not removed. It now is not a time for a simple reset. It is now time to deliver what Mother Earth begs of us. And surely, based on the few tremendous examples you presented, our very basic nature of love and nurturing has grown into, evolved into, global consciousness. I believe it to be inevitable, necessary, that the “Movements of Movements will become.
David Langer, retired teacher, La Crosse, WI
“Let’s march!” The words came from a grandmother, writing to her daughters on Facebook after the Trump election. Thousands of unexpected Facebook endorsements poured in, thus triggering an estimated 6 million-plus people to march in the global Women’s March of 2017. This, in turn, helped produce the 2018 Blue Wave.
Although I am not a grandmother, I am an elder and a writer who decided, amidst despair, to use the power of the pen to address the question, “What can I do to make a difference?” I now say it is time to march again!
A logical date is Earth Day, 2020. Earth Day 2020, Wednesday, April 22 is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. A march then could trigger far more than the election of a new president. Marching then has the potential to shift the world to a new consciousness level by linking climate change and social justice causes. The joining can create a critical mass that creates a shift in power.
Creating that shift is urgently needed. On June 18, 2019, Trump launched his re-election campaign with lies, slurs, vast financial resources and outrageous attacks on the Democrats who remain splintered in their bid to beat him. Two days later, despite scientists’ urgent warnings about the threat of climate change, he ordered a sweeping about-face on Obama-era efforts to fight climate change by easing restrictions on coal-fired power plants.
During the same period, Trump’s ex-employees continued refusing to testify about the Mueller report findings, thereby reinforcing his lawless administration. He also toyed with Iran and war. We risk our Republic and more by allowing him a 2nd term.
A MOVEMENT OF MOVEMENTS ALREADY EXISTS
Winning an election is only part of the picture. What is desperately needed is a massive outpouring of non-violent action to take back our democracy and jumpstart a global renaissance. Such a lofty goal is possible because A MOVEMENT OF MOVEMENTS that is millions strong already exists.
One of them, the SUNRISE MOVEMENT, is organizing swiftly to create “hubs” across the country. They are asking politicians to sign a pledge that they will NOT accept any fossil fuel money in their campaigns. They also plan to back up their efforts with get-out-the vote organizing. This exciting movement of mostly young people can be further mobilized IF those working on climate solutions AND social justice issues link their efforts without giving up their individual identities.
Amazing societal shifts are possible. The Berlin Wall fell in 1989 only because the old order was overwhelmed by the force of those pushing for change. A well-known futurist, Willis Harman, (now deceased), suggested in a 1994 workshop in Devon, England, that such a momentous shift could occur when the underlying “story of civilization” changes.
We are at that tipping point. Barbara Marx Hubbard, author of Conscious Evolution predicted that we are on the verge of an “Awakening of Humanity” with unprecedented opportunity. Creating this shift exists alongside the danger of annihilating ourselves, but a massive outpouring can unleash global survival and healing instincts. Marching is not enough, but it inspires and produces untold follow-up actions. Healing ourselves and the earth can become the norm. Climate change affects EVERYTHING else, especially the most vulnerable.
Multitudes have been mobilized within the last several years. On March 15, 2019, students from more than 100 countries walked out of their classes to protest global warming. On April 1, 2019, Time magazine featured Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on its front cover, calling her the lightning rod for the GREEN NEW DEAL, which caused a flurry of conversation in Congress. She is the young, outspoken, New York Democratic House of Representatives leader with a global twitter following who cited a report that we have 12 years to turn around our climate chaos issues. She and others are shepherding the Sunrise Movement. There is also international activity. In Europe, Swedish school-girl, Greta Thumberg, has sparked a global climate crusade with Friday protests and speeches to world organizations.
On April 12, 2019, the Los Angeles Times reported an EPA study indicating that unchecked climate change would cost the U.S. hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century. Our own eyes and ears see the damage and feel the danger. Hurricanes, floods and forest fires show us the effects of climate change while we remain helplessly numb about preventing further catastrophes.
Could it be, however, that these cumulative stories might catalyze a united global protest by linking up a number of movements for revolutionary change? Could it be that young people, with their energy and media technology, will be a major force in leading the charge?
In early 2017, the Women’s March inspired the world. Then came the horrific Florida school shooting that empowered student protests, giving hope to us all. Now, finally, the Green New Deal has raised climate change issues to national and international attention. The grand possibility is that a critical mass of people exists, when other movements are linked with the women and the young, to shift the entire planet to a new consciousness level. Will these presently fragmented movements seize the initiative? This is a moment that is unparalleled in history. The 50th anniversary of Earth Day, 2020, April 22, is an opportunity to mobilize a massive get-out-the vote campaign while encouraging global transformation. Global action is necessary to wake up the world to both extreme danger and opportunity.
The problem is broader and deeper than any one issue. Democracy in the United States is at risk. Leadership has been tainted by liars, propagandists and panderers. Voter suppression is rampant. Science and the Common Good are being turned on their head. Governmental agencies and regulations are being de-legitimized. Civility has all but vanished. The very soul of the American experiment in democracy is at stake and so is the soul of the world. Climate change issues, linked with a bevy of social activist causes, can bring worldwide attention to our collective dangers while unleashing large-scale, positive change during the next decade. It’s all about power, but a wholesale outpouring can shift the consciousness level.
Environmentalist, Bill McKibben suggests in his book Falter, that sometimes history demands that “the only crowbar for lurching forward was a revolution of some kind.” He indicates that our “last chance” to save a world in extreme danger is to use the “technology” of mass movements.
In his illuminating chapter 21, he says this other technology is necessary “because we’ll need a bulldozer for reshaping the zeitgeist (spirit of the ages). That’s the job of social movements.” Mckibbben claims that his organization, 350.org.,can put hundreds of thousands on the streets. My “Call to Action” proposes that far larger numbers exist to achieve even bolder objectives.
I say it is time NOW to mobilize A MOVEMENT OF MOVEMENTS. The time has never been more urgent----the stakes never higher! We must link a number of movements to maximize impact. No one issue is enough.
The 2018 elections were a turning point. We can now envision the “impossible,” a lifting up and mobilizing of A MOVEMENT OF MOVEMENTS. This potential gigantic force, composed of elements that can retain their identities, could help move us beyond environmental catastrophe, out-of-balance capitalism, racism, war mongering and fear. There is the opportunity, now, to engage a global, NON-VIOLENT, peaceful “power shift” that will fuel global transformation. A massive outpouring on Earth Day, 2020, April 22, can lead to a new operating system for planet earth.
Common Values Unite Us
Solid evidence about our strength in numbers comes from Paul Hawken’s 2007 book, Blessed Unrest. His subtitle hinted at the larger story---How the Largest Movement in the World Came Into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming. He estimated that there are between one and two million organizations all working to save the planet. There is a multitude of organizations with shared beliefs, including The Golden Rule (which exists in all major religions in one way or another), plus the idea that all of life is sacred.
The entities differed in size, purpose, effectiveness, charters, leaders and power. But what was unique, said Hawken, is that they did not conflict with one another, which is an unprecedented historical happening. When linked, they represent a truly grassroots, democratic movement of unparalleled but still latent power. What can unite them is a label, such as A MOVEMENT OF MOVEMENTS. A global Green New Deal, linked with social justice issues, can serve as a catalyst for action. All peace-loving movements could heed the call. Overall leadership could come from those ready to seize the initiative. There is even an interesting identifying acronym----MOM!
More Grass Roots Rising
Since Hawken’s 2007 compilation, there have been millions more added to his numbers. The Reverend Dr. William Barber’s Moral Mondays and “fusion politics” coalesced thousands to work on social justice issues in North Carolina and elsewhere several years ago. His “Poor People’s Campaign” has recently gained national attention. Looking backward several years, there was the Occupy Movement (2010-2012) that mounted demonstrations in 82 countries, 600 U.S. communities and 951 cities around the globe. The glorious Women’s March of 2017 rallied 3.5 million in the U.S. and several million more from around the world. The #MeToo movement adds untold thousands.
Women leaders are emerging to transform a dying patriarchy that is still holding on for dear life. In addition, an unknown number of members of Black Lives Matter has emerged. The “Bernie Sanders Revolution” energized millions of young people. The 2016 Standing Rock Sioux Reservation pipeline issue engaged representatives from 300 Native American tribes, joined by thousands of military veterans, Black Lives Matter activists, religious leaders, civil libertarians and citizens of different faiths, races and political beliefs.
Other forces are at work . Shortly after the 2016 election, the remarkable Indivisible document appeared, inspiring more than 6,000 grassroots organizations that helped win important legislative victories. The large MoveOn.org group is enormously active. The 2017 Scientists’ March inspired 610 other global marches; there is a growing Resistance Movement with an unknown number of activists, and there is the millions-strong LGBTQ+ movement that won their rights only after Hawken’s book was published.
In addition, there are the “Cultural Creatives,” estimated at 80 million strong, or 35% of the U.S. population according to Paul Ray’s 2008 statistics. They have a worldview that is either ecologically or spiritually oriented or both.
Indigenous people and immigrants are also a potent force. All of these and more represent a critical mass to catalyze a paradigm shift. We have the technology and youth to create mass protests quickly! What is the hashtag? #SavetheWorld?
While this is a picture of unprecedented, potential power, the trouble with this accumulation of like-minded activists is that they do not yet see themselves as part of “A MOVEMENT OF MOVEMENTS.” Too often they operate in silos, sometimes thinking that one issue such as protecting the environment, is more important than the social, racial and gender-justice issues or vice-versa.
But a united front is necessary to help heal the world. The cause is bigger than any one movement. When a larger picture is clear, the opportunity to shift the old global power structure emerges. I believe the individual revolutionary movements do not have to give up their identities in order to participate! A vision of linked movements can be the mobilizing factor; a continuing, hierarchical leadership is otherwise not required.
This effort might have thousands of “leaders,” all dispersed, unable to be toppled. This is a self-organizing system, moving like an amoeba, to address causes and needs within the larger whole. There would be no one “savior leader.” Instead, there would be much shared leadership. A mass outpouring would feature “Save the World” t-shirts and all manner of other banners and colors and t-shirts.
The elements would see themselves as part of a global transformation, not merely a protest movement. This requires a non-violent, peaceful outpouring with an evolutionary purpose.
This unity can lay the groundwork for a gigantic 2020 shift when massive healing forces can be unleashed, both personal and planetary. Global awareness and action are possible. The 50th anniversary of Earth Day, 2020, Wednesday, April 22, is a logical date. This day, ten days after Easter, can signal birth of a new civilization. It is time to say NO to patriarchy’s abuses of power and greed. It is time to mobilize McKibben’s “bulldozer” to save the world. This is a CALL TO ACTION to non-violently create environmental sustainability, social-racial-gender justice and love.
Lighting The World
Some 25 years ago, I had a waking dream that there was a world of darkness with black spots spreading over it. This picture was followed afterwards by a bright, yellow-orange ball that I knew to be the earth. The black dots disappeared while light spread over the globe. I believe this vision represents the “Awakening of Humanity” that Barbara Marx Hubbard wrote about as the turn from UNCONSCIOUS evolution to CONSCIOUS evolution. Earth Day, 2020, can be the time when activists, ordinary people and organizations rise up to shift the world.
These actions must be peaceful, NON-VIOLENT ones. Love is the ultimate answer. Protest will not be enough, but jump-starting a renaissance can be the beginning of healing, rebirth and reinvention. Let’s march on Earth Day, April 22, 2020. Let’s make Earth Day’s 50th anniversary the turning point. Let’s get out the vote! A new world awaits us. It’s time for love at last.
Alter, Charlotte. “The Making of AOC: How a 29 year-old is transforming politics.” Time. April 1, 2019. pp. 22-29.
Falkowski, Melissa and Garner, Eric, Eds. We Say #Never Again: Reporting by the Parkland Student Journalists. New York: Crown. 2018.
Harman, Willis. “Seminar on Ecological Economics.” Schumacher College, Devon, England, 1994. (week-long lecture on transformational/large scale societal change, attended in person).
Hawken, Paul. Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement In the World Came Into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming: New York: Viking, 2007.
Hawken, Paul. U-Tubes: “The Biggest Movement In the World.” Promo for his book, 5/24/12, 5.55 minutes, and “The Blessed Unrest.” Dominican University of California’s Institute for Leadership Studies, 11/10/2007, 43.04 minutes.
Hawken, Paul, “The Instinct to Save the Planet,” ODE Magazine, May 2007.
Haynes, Charles C., “Signs of Hope for Freedom, “Opinion Column, La Crosse Tribune, January. 9, 2017. (article about Standing Rock protest)
Holland, Joshua. “Your Guide to the Sprawling Anti-Trump Resistance Movement. The Nation, March 27, 2017.
Hubbard, Barbara Marx. Conscious Evolution Revised Edition: Novato, CA, New World Library, 1998, 2015.
Hubbard, Barbara Marx. “The Awakening of Humanity, “UTNE Magazine, April, 2015.
Jordans, Frank and Borenstein, Seth. “Students Protest Global Warming.” Associated Press in La Crosse Tribune, “International Demonstrations,” March 16, 2019.
McKibben, Bill. Falter: How the Human Game Has Begun to Play Itself Out. New York: Harry Holt and Sons, 2019. (See especially Chapter 21.)
Nickmeyer, “”EPA Defies Climate Warnings.” Associated Press in La Crosse Tribune, “Coal Plants Granted A Reprieve by Trump.” June 20, 2019.
Occupy Movement, Wikipedia. March, 2015.
Ray, Paul, “Cultural Creatives Part 2: http://Kreativity.net/tag/cultural-creations/. June 19, 2012.
Richmond, Todd, “Students Rally In Defense of Climate,” Associated Press in La Crosse Tribune, March 16, 2019, p. A3.
Rosen, Julia, “EPA Scientists Price Out Cost of Climate Change,” Associated Press, La Crosse Tribune, April 12, 2019, p. A3.
The SUNRISE MOVEMENT. See www.sunrisemovement.org and various internet entries.
Worland, Justin. “Seeing Green: A New Climate for Climate: How the Green New Deal Jolted Washington.” Time. April 1, 2019. pp. 31-34.
© Alice A. Holstein, 2019. Please feel free to share this document while acknowledging its authorship.
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