I’ve been an environmental activist for 20 years now. Bit of a “shit-disturber” I suppose, hmmm? It’s fun! Turns my crank totally. I love-love-love the people I meet – fellow activists, I mean, not the corporate “bums” (although they too are all just “bozos on the bus,” as far as that goes…)
Sure wish everyone would get involved. Please do!!
Just want to share with everyone the phrase “Acronym alert!” & advocate its use whenever appropriate.
[Just before proceeding, I must explain this: I’ve always thought “acronym” refers to the letters one uses as a short form, e.g. TTC for Toronto Transit Commission – TTC being the acronym. This is the way in which I’m using the word in this post.]
I spent a lot of time in my early years as an activist thinking I was “too dumb” to follow what was going on. Every issue I dive into seems to involve plenty of complexity.
The “experts” often speak an intimate, obscure language difficult for people new to the game to follow. This is very much the case, I’ve found, in the nuclear business.
Folks in the nuclear industry use lots of high-falutin’ language to try & browbeat its opponents into submission. I refer to this as deliberate obfuscation, & have come right out & said as much on more than one occasion to the “august” (not) members of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) “tribunal.” (I’ve also told them their public hearings are kangaroo courts. It’s true! They are, & I have.)
I guess the nastier your dealings are – the more secrets (& lies) that are part of your everyday dealings, the more you have to hone up on the bullshit, hmmm?
All I’m saying is, don’t let ‘em get away with it.
“The Emperor” has no clothes, & we all know that, right? It’s as obvious as the noses on our – & their – faces.
It may be that you will have to get as good at all the technical complexities as all these nuclear industry (or lead industry, or chemical industry, or … fill in the blanks…industry) people. I know quite a few fellow activists who have done so, & I respect them like crazy.
Me, I’m not a “technical” person. It appears my mind is just not constructed to easily absorb & understand detailed & complex technical information. But even little old me is smart enough to spot when a person or industry “has no clothes.” Hasn’t got a leg to stand on. Is poisoning me & my children & my potential grandchildren & yours too, & … theirs too!! – & all for the sake of their damn profits/bottom line.
So, I’ve chosen to harness my words.
And I’ve learned along the way that our passion & anger & hurt & energy & deep, deep love for our children & this Earth can take us very far.
So can our personal stories.
If you have a personal story – a family member with a cancer (or other illness) caused by one of these “Emperors with no clothes” industries – harness your learnings & your passion & energy & use it.(1)
Use your voice!
I can’t guarantee you – or anyone – a darn thing! Not success…not new legislation…not corporations that will clean up…or care – not politicians we can trust…heck, even marriages that will endure.
This I can accurately predict for you, though.
Activism is its own reward. It feels good.
& one meets the very finest & most awesome people.
And if they use too much complex language, & acronyms you don’t understand, just speak up pronto & say “Ahem. Acronym alert!!”
& then, get right on with your world-changing.
(& have fun doing it!!)
P.S. Activists, btw, are “jes’ folks” like all of humanity. Some of us are … “nice;” some of us are … kind of a pain in the butt. We’re all just … “bozos on the bus” in the Wavy Gravy/Elizabeth Lesser phrase…...hmmm?
‘Quote of the day’with this post: “Always be prepared to believe that experts are stupid. They very often are.” – Jane Jacobs in CBC interview with Eleanor Wachtel, Oct. 6/02.
(1) People who have been gravely affected by industrial &/or government nastiness of one sort or another sometimes go on to become powerful & inspiring activists. Think Lois Gibbs (Love Canal). Think Rosa Parks. Gandhi. Nelson Mandela; there are tons of examples! At the recent lead poisoning prevention training center I attended in Chicago, a fiery speaker from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pointed out how powerful a force for change a passionate individual can be in moving an issue forward. Amen to that, say I!