2007 - 2021

A Revolution of the Heart


How do we feel as we see COP fail?

COP Fails, since it doesn’t stop fossil fuel extraction, but just calls for a phasing out of subsidies.

COP Fails, since all the promised policies (even if they were acted on) put us on track for 2.4c warming

COP Fails, since actual policies head us to 2.9c, with ex-Chief Scientist, David King, saying we could hit 1.5c by 2030. That is calamitous. We’re only at 1.2c and seeing wildfires, flooding, drought, storms. This is an environmental crises, a social justice crisis, and a crisis for millions now of no food on the table, no roof over the head. No justice.

COP Fails, as it inevitably would, since it’s captured by Governments such as the UK’s who put £10bn of our money a year into subsidising fossil fuel companies,

COP Fails, as it inevitably would, since this is the first COP in 26 COPs to even dare mention fossil fuels as driving the crisis,

COP Fails, as it inevitably would, since the fossil fuel lobby has more delegates at the COP than any government.

What do we feel as we see COP fail?

Do we feel numb? Do we feel Incandescent blazing rage-full grief? Do we feel burnt out from all our efforts?

When we’ve slept and eaten and recovered our energies we’ll need to step forward on a different path. COP is no more.

All the work of the scientists in the IPCC matters. All the wisdom and experience brought by indigenous peoples, by frontline communities, matters. All the wisdom of youth matters.

But, from today, COP is no more where we should be pouring our energy, our pleadings, our experience, our protest.

COP is no more.

Will we step forward from understandable weary numbness into incandescent love in action?

We will need more folk, less burn out.

We have to be the governments we hoped they’d be.

We have to be rid of corporations who deal out deathlihoods not livelihoods, rid of corporations whose profits kill our planet. We’ll need to strip the ultra-rich of their soul-killing greed, of their ultra-lethal wealth that is killing our world.

We have to meet our needs ourselves without pumping our energy into making them powerful.

The domination system (call it what you will) comes down on us viciously if/ when we try to take back power.

Look at what is happening to indigenous peoples trying to defend their lands, trying to defend their belonging to each other and their lands, look at the violence they suffer/ and look at their refusal to give up.

Do we just give up?

Or do we try to take back our power?

There is no longer a middle way between these options.

We’ve tried voting Green, Sanders, Corbyn, independence for Scotland etc. The power of the corporate media is just one tiny part of what thwarts us.

So we need a way way deeper change.

And we EITHER choose to be that deeper change and take the consequences, OR we choose to be on the sidelines, to not be the change, and so watch as those who try fail, and we all take those consequences.

It may be tempting to give up, and just suffer the so-called ‘inevitable’, rather than also suffer for trying for a future.

But even there there’s a deeper choice, which we all know full well.

The choice between being able to look children in the eye, or not being able to look them in the eye.

We can only succeed if we try.

If we try then – succeed or fail – we can look each other in the eye.

I feel traumatised by this system. We are all traumatised by this system.

But we are NOT this system.

We can take joy in the courage of those who act from the heart.

As Marisol García Apagüeño said last week: we have to move from Resistance to Revolution, starting with reclaiming our hearts, reclaiming our humanity.

A revolution of the heart.

Such a move is happening in a billion acts, gestures, movements, uprisings. One of our gestures is www.grassroots2global.org

For those who can give time and energy to this struggle, let’s do it.

For those who – for whatever reason – don’t have the energy or time beyond the care you’re already needing or giving . . .
All that’s being asked is not that you do more on a daily basis – you may well not be able to, but your part is absolutely critical . . .

All that’s being asked is that, when you are faced with choices of either speaking up or staying silent, when someone needs to say “The system tries to tell us our humanity is the problem, when it’s not. This inhumane system is the problem”, when those moments happen, when you are needed, please speak up, please be there.

We – who think we’re powerless – are the only ones who can do this.

They – who think they’re powerful – are the only ones who can’t.

We need to move from civil disobedience to political disobedience.

We need to move from captured corporate representative democracy (democracy in name only) to the real and deep democracy of deliberative peoples and citizens assemblies.

Not citizens assemblies bestowed from above as greenwashing exercises in toothless consultations . . .

But citizens assemblies that arise from below in response to people’s assemblies, assembling to meet our real needs and ensure a liveable future.

Moving from civil disobedience to political disobedience will be a huge task.

It’s also an inevitable task. It’s just a question of when we do it. The sooner we do it, the greater chance of a more liveable future.

Lets do this.

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  1. Mons Meg says:

    I feel much the same as I did when the circus first rolled into town. I believe the next COP spectacular will touch down in Sharm El-Sheikh in about a year’s time. At least the weather will be nicer.

  2. Jenny says:

    Thanks Justin, Great piece.

  3. Karen says:

    Yes, withdraw from big society as much as possible. Get your own renewables, grow your own food, buy second hand, share with friends, make connections. Read books, make things you need or want. Big companies rely on year on year growth, so make sure they have year on year decline.

    1. Mons Meg says:

      Precisely! What Boaventura de Sousa Santos calls ‘convivialty’. I imagine that the alienation and dependence our current relations of production foster through their commodity fetishism will wither as those relations deconstruct in the serial crises they’re generating. Perhaps this revolution will issue in relations that oblige us to live together rather than apart. Who knows?

      1. Wul says:

        “Yes, withdraw from big society as much as possible. Get your own renewables, grow your own food, buy second hand, share with friends, make connections. Read books, make things you need or want.”

        Yes. I’ve been doing this my whole life…no big plan, just what seemed to be a sensible, thrifty way to live on limited means and still enjoy a good life. Although I did figure out a long time a go that freedom was directly proportional to lack of need for money.

  4. Jim Stamper says:

    In the article it indicates “ex-Chief Scientist, David King, saying we could hit 1.5c by 2030.” In the report by the Climate Crisis Advisory Group which he led one possible option mentioned which may help mitigate the effects of global warming in the shorter term is marine cloud brightening. This involves spraying microparticles from the sea into the atmosphere which increases the reflection of sun rays by clouds. Theoretically this could even reverse ice melting in the Arctic region and reduce or even stop sea level increases while reduction of carbon emissions is pursued and achieved. If we could persuade governments to at least urgently progress trials this may help mitigate some effects of global warming.

  5. maxwell macloeod says:

    Bless you Justine, you have inspired me for several decades, keep punching, though in a non violent inclusive way.

  6. greenergood says:

    Through all of Covid lockdown I’ve been so fortunate to live in a small village on the w coast of Scotland, near enough to Glasgow, and just down the road from the ‘nuclear deterrent’. I don’t have a lot of £££, but I have a lot of space – my ‘bubble’ has been massive in that I can go for a walk every day if I want to, but my underlying unease was thinking about people in crowded spaces – the single mum with three kids under 8 in a flat on the 10th floor of a high-rise in Clydebank; refugee families in confined spaces; old folk in small flats with their only contact a care worker once every day, or three days, or no longer, cause their carer has gone back home to the EU. It’s good to propose communities that can grow their own food, invest in renewables, buy second-hand, etc., etc. and there are many places in Scotland where this can happen, and we don’t even have to live in remote areas to enact some of these proposals, but we also need a way more comprehensive plan: nationalise the fossil fuel industry, like Venezuela did even though they were then they were screwed by the multinationals; build up the health service and welfare support – universal income, etc. – access the skills of refugees who are languishing in refugee centres, when their skills are so necessary and could really help eveyone in Scotland!; 15-minute communities in Scottish cities – a 15 minute walk or bike ride to your work/shops/church/school/creche; and the most impossible of all: tax the rich, and ABOLISH their tax havens – I know: a woman can dream … especially of independence …

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