Is It Time to Take to the Streets and Demand Laws to Stop Climate Change?

Is It Time to Take to the Streets and Demand Laws to Stop Climate Change?

Alisa Opar
Published: 12/07/2009


“I can't understand why there aren't rings of young people blocking bulldozers and preventing them from constructing coal-fired power plants," Al Gore told The New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristoff in 2007. While as far as I can tell Mr. Gore himself hasn’t stared down a bulldozer, other global warming gurus like author Bill McKibben and climatologist James Hansen have been willing to risk arrest to take steps to solve the climate change problem (Hansen’s also got a new book out today, Storms of My Grandchildren: The truth about the coming climate catastrophe and our last chance to save humanity). But, as Mark Engler notes in his article in Yes! magazine, Americans have largely been rather timid when it comes to acts of non-violent civil disobedience in the name of climate change. Look at the Italian activists, for instance, who conducted multiple day-long sit-ins at coal-fired power plants (which, by the way, actually shut them down). Or the Australians who organize massive blockades of coal trains, as well as the coal plants themselves. But in the last couple of years, as climate-change activism has been growing globally, it’s begun taking hold here, too. On November 30, a week before the Copenhagen climate talks kicked off, for instance, activists around the country took all kinds of measures to call for climate justice (see video above).

From the article: 

Climate-change activism has been taking place in some form for decades, but in recent years the ripples created by events like the Selby camp have been swelling into something larger—something that is attracting ever-greater numbers of mainstream environmentalists, gathering support from top climate scientists and prominent public figures, and starting to look a lot like a mass movement.

This movement is set to produce a broad wave of dissent this fall in the United States and internationally, and it is not afraid to think big. “The Civil Rights Movement, the suffragettes, India’s movement for independence. That’s the sort of scale we need to be thinking on when we’re thinking about climate change,” says Abigail Singer, an organizer with the environmental group Rising Tide and co-coordinator of the Mobilization for Climate Justice coalition.

To continue reading Engler’s article, and learn about ways to get involved, click here.

What do you think? Is it time to take to the streets?