Two weeks ago I sat in a meeting to discuss taking collective action in Bicester. I talked about how we can help people save money and cut carbon emissions. We then workshopping what we could do together. There was a lot of ‘well I’ve done this’ and then for the group to ask how they did it and did it work. There was also the overwhelming sense that the group didn’t have enough information and they were defensive about taking action.
My overwhelming feeling is that the baby boomer generation has been browbeaten about the climate and ecological crisis messaging. When you open up discussions with them about what they can do, they move into a defensive place. This could be because they have had a lifetime of feeling guilty, or think there is a certain type of ‘angry’ person who takes up this issue.
When I think about the environmental movement I associate it with angry calls for change; the disruption of oil rigs, the protests in London, the emotive stranded polar bear images used by WWF. Although I have been part of these protests and these movements I’m beginning to think we’ve got it all wrong.
Does the anger of this issue overshadow the ability to be rational in engaging in solutions? Do those who don’t want to feel angry become alienated with their actions being unsupported?
If we’re really to tackle this crisis we need to keep people engaged with the solutions and help them through the next stage. I want people to not feel that engaging with this is about becoming part of the angry crowd, that this is a process of becoming enlightened in living.
What do you think - have I got the wrong end of the stick (often happens!)?