12.20.2009

do something

Everyone who feels that the problems of the world are so overwhelming that nothing can be done, and so, does nothing - everyone who wonders where to start, so never starts - everyone who confuses clicking on a Facebook group with creating change - this essay is for you.

And every activist who gets tired of explaining why activism is important, but still looks for new ways to explain, this is for you, too.

Derrick Jensen, in Orion, an excerpt:
I want you to make the time to find what or whom you love — whether it's salmon, sturgeon, a patch of forest, survivors of domestic violence, your own indigenous tradition, migratory songbirds, coral reefs, or Appalachian mountaintops — and I want you to dig in and defend your beloved with your life, and, if necessary, with your death. I want for your actions to positively contribute to the health and defense of the planet. I want for you to figure out how to make it so the world — the real, physical world — is a better place because you were born, and because you lived here.

All of this leads to the point, which is, put simply, to do something. Several years ago I was giving a talk to several hundred people about bringing down civilization. The audience was excited. The atmosphere was like a rock concert. I suddenly stopped and asked, "How many of you have ever filed a timber-sale appeal?" Four or five. "How many have worked on a rape crisis hotline?" Ten women. "How many have done indigenous support work?" Three or four. And so on. It's all well and good to talk about the Great Glorious Revolution, but what are you doing right now?

The big dividing line is not and has never been between those who advocate more or less militant forms of resistance, or between mainstream and grassroots activists. The dividing line is between those who do something and those who do nothing.

Do something.

That's what I want you to do. That's what the anadromous fish and the Appalachian mountaintops want you to do too.

So does peace. And free speech, and reproductive rights, and equality.

Read it here in Orion magazine.

5 comments:

deang said...

It's great to read Derrick Jensen and Johann Hari here. Both are such good writers and activists. I've had the privilege of attending a Jensen talk here, a last-minute one in someone's backyard, and he is quite an inspiring and down-to-earth person.

L-girl said...

Very cool. They are both great.

Cornelia said...

Be encouraged!

impudent strumpet said...

This article makes so much more sense once I put on my glasses and see that the source isn't The Onion!

L-girl said...

Yes, that had me for a minute, too.