Last night, I attended a talk by Michael Mann, author of The New Climate War. It was a clarifying and enlightening discussion — with Sasha Sagan — about how we mobilize ourselves to fight the post-denial “forces of inaction” on climate. Mann explained that fossil fuel companies are no longer insisting that climate change is not occurring; instead, they seek to divide us by getting us to argue about individual choices (veganism, driving, air travel, etc.). That division deflects attention from the important policy changes that need to occur and is also used to discredit opinion leaders and climate advocates. Mann calls this a three-fer: divide, deflect, and discredit.
So, our job is to engage in the collective actions without which we cannot shape policy. This means that we raise our voices in large numbers. That’s the whole point of this little enterprise of mine: to amplify the kinds of actions we need to take to move us toward justice. Yesterday, Lena wrote about the way fossil fuel infrastructure gets funded and recommended actions that will add our voices to the effort to stop Line 3, a massive tar sands pipeline already under construction in northern Minnesota.
Another thing I learned last night is that a tactic for squashing climate activism is to try to convince us that it’s too late. Mann pointed out that we are moving in the right direction…but not fast enough. His pep talk about maintaining a sense of “urgency and agency” reminded me to push this action to stop the state from approving National Grid’s expanded Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility.
Please write a new comment on the Liquefied Natural Gas permits; the talking points are provided and the whole process takes a few minutes. If you only have a minute, adapt mine.
I’ve been in a little pandemic slump of late, like so many people. We’re tired of winter, the masks, the loss of in-person activities, and so on. I especially appreciated Michael Mann’s optimism. He trumpeted the boldness of Biden’s climate agenda and reminded me that Deb Haaland’s confirmation hearing as Secretary of the Interior is coming soon. Now that I know that people are working to defeat my optimism, I feel a little more determined to keep my head up.