We are calling for a great effort of civil disobedience in the UK.
We are calling for this great effort of civil disobedience in order to demand urgent, concerted and meaningful action to tackle the unprecedented national and global emergency presented by the catastrophic destabilisation of global climate. We have been watching with quiet anger and deep despair the relentless approach of an unprecedented tragedy.
Since the path of human history is so littered with pain, cruelty, catastrophe and tragic folly it is hard to imagine something yet more unspeakably vast in the sheer scale of human anguish that it will encompass. Yet we can see the spectre of such a monumental tragedy approaching with a clarity that increases almost as fast as the time we have left to prevent it slips away.
No amount of wishful thinking or double talk can obscure the fact that the science is brutally clear. Without a radical change of course we will see the deaths of billions of the world’s population before the century is out. It will simply be the biggest catastrophe ever in human history. Given the course we’re currently on, any outcome less calamitous is now clearly unrealistic even if the precise nature and ultimate scale of this oncoming catastrophe is impossible to predict.
Many have already quietly lost hope. Others push the truth away or hide from it within the concerns of day to day. Others believe or pretend to believe that a certain level of tinkering with the problem will suffice for a solution.
Whilst we respect, commend and encourage every effort taken to tackle this desperate crisis the simple truth is that nothing that is being done now, at a national or international level, approaches the scale of response that is urgently required to stem the tide of tragedy.
Worse, the whole debate and public perception, even as shaped by the more sympathetic media and the messaging of NGOs, is skewed towards and defined by the political realities surrounding our painfully inadequate level of response. This is not to mention the motley band of fools and knaves who deny – to various and shifting degrees – the whole thing and the dark sinister power of the blindly rapacious vested interests that stand behind them, although they, of course, are also a big factor in exacerbating the situation. The result in any case is a false perception about the true scale of the crisis. The simple clear message that we need to mobilise the whole of society for a massive urgent effort shaped by the science and not wishful thinking or vested interests, and on a scale of a kind unprecedented outside of wartime, is obscured by the constant hum of superficial debate about what amounts to no more than the grossly inadequate versus the marginally less grossly inadequate in our level of response.
We respect that societies need a common code and laws to work by. We will do no harm to person and nor do we intend any gratuitous harm even to property. But there have always been values and goals that have transcended the laws that society makes – as so many struggles for suffrage, for self-determination, for justice and equality have shown in the past.
We are calling for a great effort of civil disobedience as a clarion call for urgency that will break the paralysing spell of apathy, creeping despair, ignorance, myopia and self-deluding make-believe. If there ever was a time when such an effort is needed it is now. If there ever was a time when such an effort was justified it is now.
Even if we fail in what has become an almost superhuman task, to achieve the ultimate goal of turning the tide of tragedy it will be important that we made this great effort and did not stand idle, just watching it happen. And given the stakes are so high even the slimmest chance of prevailing makes failing to make the effort seem unforgivable.