The world is facing extremely serious dangers, including — but not limited to — the climate crisis and the danger of nuclear war.
These are very scary topics. Most people try to avoid thinking about nuclear weapons and the climate crisis. But if we are to solve these problems, we MUST think about them — and we MUST get past the debilitating emotions and actually EMPOWER OURSELVES to solve the problems.
When we reach out to the general public to inform them and engage them, we must recognize people’s feelings of fear, overwhelm, despair and disempowerment. If we recognize those feelings as common starting points, we can devise our strategies for outreach and organizing so we can help people recognize and overcome those feelings.
When a scary topic exists and people try to avoid thinking about it, the natural tendency is to avoid learning about it. I appreciate your courage in wanting to learn and take positive actions. You can indeed develop comfort in grappling with these problems, and you can indeed become much more confident that ordinary people can indeed solve the problems. Yes, we can indeed prevent nuclear war, we can indeed solve the climate crisis, and we can indeed solve the other big problems!
Big, scary realities – such as the climate crisis and nuclear weapons – can feel too big and overwhelming. Most people feel overwhelmed and powerless in the face of these hard realities. When people feel overwhelmed and powerless they are inhibited from taking the actions that are necessary for solving those big problems.
The oil companies want us to feel powerless to challenge their powers over our climate. The military-industrial complex wants us to feel powerless to challenge their powers over U.S. foreign policy.
For half a century I have been working in the progressive movements for peace, social and economic justice, the environment, and other goals. I have been working to inform and empower ordinary people so we will be equipped to fight back nonviolently against our nation’s violent foreign policy and other entrenched social and economic problems. We can indeed organize nonviolently at the grassroots to solve the problems. I agree with the United Farm Workers’ slogan, “Si, se puede” = Yes, it can be done!
One of our nation’s great peace activists, David Dellinger, wrote a book decades ago titled, More Power Than We Know. Yes, ordinary people really do have more than we think we have. The hard, scary reality that we experience is not the only reality. Nonviolent people-power is a powerful countervailing reality too.
I encourage people — including you — to reflect upon your own needs and values. What needs and values are important and meaningful for you? You can draw upon those to inspire and motivate you to work for solutions to the big problems we face (nuclear weapons, climate crisis, and so forth).
Perhaps you have already drawn upon your important needs and values in order to do some significant work on other important issues.
Let’s develop strategies to reach out to the general public and bring them into the movements to protect the climate and to abolish nuclear weapons. We can devise outreach strategies to appeal to other people’s needs and values, and so motivate them to work with us for peace and the climate.
See much information — and many resources — at this blog (www.parallaxperspectives.org), including the categories for “Organizing” and “Nonviolence,” in addition to the categories for “Climate” and “Peace” and “Nuclear Weapons.” Other categories deal with other substantive issues that need nonviolent grassroots organizing.