Today we’re going to talk about Nonviolent Method #2, Letters of Opposition or Support, as outlined by Gene Sharp, in his seminal tome “The Methods of Nonviolent Action”, which you must buy or I will maul you. (Nonviolently of course.)
As lame as letters may sound, they can help the climate movement in lotsa ways.
Let’s start with the letters of Support concept. President Obama has indicated that at some point he’s gonna push forward initiatives designed to protect the climate. If you don’t think he’ll be opposed, you’re living in an imaginary world of unicorns and fairies. So, people need to make statements in support of him! These can be private or public. Suppose you live in a state with a senator who can reliably be counted on to vote against any action on climate change. Well, parents, students, churches, and businesses, can send said senator letters or postcards of support for what the President is doing. The more the senator gets, the more pressure he’ll feel to do the right thing.
There’s also Open Letters, which are generally published in newspapers, but popular blogs would work too. Open letters can be from prominent citizens, like doctors groups, business groups, religious groups; or from pillars of society, like, I dunno, Tom Brokaw.
In Nazi-occupied Bulgaria the Union of Bulgarian Writers sent a letter to their government saying that an anti-Jewish law would “enslave part of the Bulgarian people and blemish Bulgaria’s modern history.”
Inaction on climate change is gonna completely tarnish America’s history. God, history’s gonna HATE us for it! Especially if civilization collapses, which it easily could. (Course, then there’d be no one there to record history, but still….) Anyway that could be what America’s remembered for, because America’s always been the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases – until just recently – and the biggest political obstacle to international action! People’d be like: “Yeah, America…they did some cool things with freedom but then they went and destroyed the world! Idiots.”
Or we could be remembered as the heroes and good guys that led the way to save the planet from catastrophe. Our choice.
Another thing that would work is using the internet. Famous people could post youtube messages in support of action on climate change.
Got that? I’m talkin’ to YOU Bieber!
Also, groups could publish full-page ads to pressure network news organizations to do more stories about climate disruption and how serious it is. Because that’s a HUGE part of the problem, too many people think climate change won’t be a big deal until way off future and then it won’t be all that bad. Hello! When the natural feedback loops kick in it will be HORRIBLE EVERYWHERE! That could be triggered at any time! But no one knows that cuz the news organizations aren’t doing their JOB of informing the public.
Alright, next installment we’ll talk about Declarations by Organizations and Institutions. I can feel your excitement.