Why would you block the road, causing people to be late for work, just to make a point?
Let me start out by elimination. It’s not because I’m “woke”. It’s not because I’m an “extreme leftist”. It’s not because it’s “fun”. It’s not because I have nothing better to do. It’s not because I’m a saint, I’m a flawed individual. It’s not because I’m a professional activist. It’s not because I want to make the lives of police officers miserable either.
Rather, it’s because we’re failing to address an existential threat to civilization. It’s because we’re in the process of triggering a chain reaction, that will create the sort of climatic conditions that will result in billions of deaths over the next century. You don’t have to be a saint, to want to try to stop that.
Throughout history, plenty of mediocre selfish people found themselves faced with extreme cruelty and injustice and decided they could not go along with it. That’s me. An average flawed dude, who happens to enjoy reading scientific literature and discovered the existence of a profound injustice.
You don’t have to be a saint, to feel terrible when your drunk driving led to someone’s death. Similarly, when people in Uganda are suffering severe droughts caused by my own way of life, that upsets me. That’s not virtue signaling, that’s a normal human response.
So why block the road? It’s because my government promised they would stop subsidizing the very activities that are causing this existential threat to civilization, but failed to deliver on their promise.
So far, all the normal traditional polite methods of making your point have failed for us. Climate activism has been around for decades. What did it achieve? You can see the answer for yourself.
The oil companies have known since at least 1959 that they are creating a problem. Since the 1970’s they have known how it would unfold. Since 1989, when Hansen warned the world, politicians have known. Since 1990 we have had international conferences to stop this problem, with no success. In 2013 the Dutch government promised the subsidies for fossil fuels would end by 2020.
They did not end. So as a result, anytime I pay VAT, anytime I pay capital gains taxes, anytime I pay income taxes, I’m made complicit in my government funding the irreversible annihilation of the climatic conditions that made our civilization possible.
You can see the consequences of that in Maui, where people have to run into the ocean to escape the smoke and flames of their town burning down. You can see the consequences in Libya, where thousands of people are missing after an abnormal tropical-like cyclone triggered by abnormally warm sea temperatures caused dams to fail.
You can see the consequences in Greece, where crops were wiped out and agricultural production on 23% of their farmland will suffer for the next five years, from mud full of salt flooding out over their agricultural fields.
You don’t have to be leftist, or marxist, or socialist, or feminist, or anarchist, or adhere to any other progressive ideology, to understand that we’re faced with an emergency situation, that has created an existential threat for civilization. You just have to understand that we are dumping a chemical pollutant into our atmosphere that has the ability to trap heat.
You could be a Traditionalist Catholic, a MAGA Republican, a Shiite cleric, a conservative Hindu, a Mormon polygamist. None of these worldviews should prohibit you from understanding that changing our atmosphere by burning fossil fuels that took millions of years to gather beneath our soils in the timespan of a few decades can have catastrophic consequences.
This should not be a left-right issue. This should be the kind of situation you see when your neighbor whose guts you hate has a fire at his house and his eight year old son is standing on the balcony crying for help. That’s the sort of issue we’re dealing with. In such a situation, the normal response is to do whatever you can, to get the boy away from the fire. In such a situation, people who have nothing in common unite to do what needs to be done.
You can guess for yourself what would happen if we went to some designated area where we are allowed to protest against fossil fuel subsidies. You would not be reading this post. Your media would not be writing about this. People would not be talking about this. The government would ignore the protest, like it ignores so many other protests.
If someone is willing to get sprayed by a water canon and dragged over the asphalt to make his point, that makes you pay attention. If someone is willing to be the subject of gossip by his neighbors, that makes you pay attention. That makes you wonder: “Why would someone choose that?”
The answer to that question is simple: We’re able to read and we’re able to think. So that’s what we did. We discovered something absolutely horrifying. We discovered an insane injustice. An immense cruelty. One about which there is no true doubt left. You can debate who committed the Russian apartment bombings. You can’t debate the fact that CO2 traps heat.
That’s why the road is blocked.