Activism climate change activism dc

Published on April 14th, 2011 | by Zachary Shahan

7

It's Time for a Direct Action Comeback! (Now)

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April 14th, 2011 by

direct action needed

The internet has made communicating with politicians and corporations easier than ever, right? Just pop on your computer and send them an email or sign a few petitions. But I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s questioned how effective this cyber communication is in politics. We can easily send emails and sign petitions, but politicians and CEOs can just as easily (or, actually, even more easily) ignore them.

And they do.

I’m not against these petitions or this type of activism, and I even sign and share many such petitions every day, but the change possible from such action is limited — it doesn’t compare to what is needed to turn our country around and protect the world’s precious natural resources, which we rely on to live.

Americans want clean energy like solar and wind (real clean energy). They want polluters to pay and want the government to crack down on them more. They want climate change addressed and stopped. Instead of listening to citizens, however, politicians are listening to the big industry leaders and lobbyists who fund their campaigns (put them into office).

What Influences Voters?

 

Forget, for a moment, about the politicians. As I said, they are just listening to those who put them in office. But look at how they are put into office.

Of course, citizens have to vote for them. And citizens do, even though politicians aren’t going to do what the citizens request if it is against the will of big industry, because these citizens are somehow convinced that the politicians have the same interests in mind.

The are convinced of this because big industry has paid for them to produce commercials or other advertisements that tell them so.

However, once it comes time to delivering, who is watching what their politicians are doing? Who is calling them out when they go and do the exact opposite of what they said they’d do? Maybe some people online, but if you’re not tied into very specialized organizations or groups, that is likely to all be invisible to you. (And this is the scenario for the vast majority of Americans.)

Why We Need Direct Action

 

Emails, petitions, etc. get very limited attention, even if 100,000 people sent the email or signed the petition.

A 10-person rally will get the local news’ attention, though. And a 100-person rally will get even more coverage. And a 1,000-person rally will get national attention. This will get your message passed on to the 95%(?) of people who don’t stay informed on anything their politicians are doing. This can be as powerful as, or even more powerful than, the ads big industry buys for millions and millions of dollars.

This is our best chance of making politicians live up to their word and do their work on behalf of U.S. citizens, not big industry.

I think it’s time for a direct action comeback.

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Photo via 350.org

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.



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