Occupy Climate Reality

by Catherine Gammon

Does your local Occupy movement recognize the climate crisis that 100% of us face (or refuse to face)?

I’m thinking sensitivity to this issue varies locality by locality.

The Ventana Wilderness fire arrives at Tassajara, 2008

System Change Not Climate ChangeI saw this great slogan and call coming out of Occupy Vancouver in response to the climate conference happening at present in Durban, South Africa. There is an Occupy Cop17 already in progress there, and Democracy Now will be broadcasting live from the conference all of next week. It’s time to draw the connections.

Transition has been looking at the relationship of peak oil and climate change to economies, justice, and war and peace for some years before the economic meltdown. Transition saw it coming. Is there a conversation going on between Transition and your local Occupation? (Links at Transition Network, Transition Culture, Transition US.)

I ask these questions because I think I see sometimes a narrowness of focus, as if Occupy were a campaign, defining itself by just a handful of issues, not the movement it seemed to be from the start, a movement awakening hope and addressing our profound planetary interconnection and state of risk, and I wonder if this appearance of narrowness is happening everywhere, or is just the particular flavor I see, or the flavor concocted by the limitations of my own observing and impatient mind.

I’m about to leave  for California for a month of residential Zen practice at San Francisco Zen Center’s Green Gulch Farm. Before I go I would like to share two short views of the planet relative to fracking, not here in the Marcellus Shale, but in South Africa and in France. These videos give image to what is being done to this radiant earth, the catastrophe taking place in our name, in the name of our being able to use our computers and refrigerate our food and drive our cars and watch a movie that comes in the mail from Netflix and get on an airplane and fly halfway around the world, or even just across the country. If we think we are not complicit in this we are not paying attention. These film images are to weep for, but they also show people making efforts to make a change.

We always ask how, and we don’t know how, and sometimes we leap into what and into action too soon. Before we ask how, maybe we have to open our eyes to the present situation, maybe we have to become willing to see.

Fracking in France                Fracking in South Africa

First we have to weep, I think, for the beauty of what we are losing. And after that maybe we can laugh with the beauty of what we can do together to change.