Helping, Acting

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Now the tropical rainforest, and with it the livability on our planet is vanishing much faster than ever before. If we do not succeed to stop it this time, there will be no tropical forest left for future generations. There is no next chance anymore. But we need a different strategy than until now, pointing the finger at places, missing laws or responsible companies will not do it. These old strategies work only in western societies within cities, but not in the third world, specially in the countryside where local people have very different problems in their lives. Law does not apply there. And the police just does their own business there to become rich, regulating crimes instead of stopping them. It need cultural change locally in relation to the forest, and cultural change in the first world in relation to consumption. But people of the first world are not willing to pay now that smaller price, so we will have to pay later the bigger price.

Since I have been observing many changes, in how activism, societies and governments are functioning differently, probably since the end of 2012, I came to the conclusion that any work with the intention of changing the situation for the better, has to use a new strategy, the way things were working until the end of 2012 are not functioning anymore in the same way. Somehow a time shift has happened, and we have to adapt to it. I know there are a few exceptions where activism as we used it still works, but since i was part of it, I know why it worked and why it will always be an exception. It needs dignity, and it has to happen with the support of something bigger (i call it God). Over all my countless actions i have done, i have discovered that I and others can unite and surrender with that bigger force, and whenever that happens there is a mysterious protection of the action and the activists. But this is not what I want to talk about.

After my experience with the mining and deforestation situation on my tropical island, i came to see that the necessary shift in activism to be effective, could be a change from action to reaction. Action is now often seen as aggression, as threat to the system. And the 'system' is what governments and companies protect at all costs. Therefore action is seen by the system as something counterproductive. Therefore it now has more limitations than we would ever believe in the past. But a reaction to a common problem can not be seen or portrait as threat in the same way, and most importantly, causes more sympathies in society than any action can do. The activists might not be heroes anymore in this model, but that doesn’t matter. I know most of actions in the past were reactions to destructive actions by companies, but I mean our activities have to be designed as reactions, meaning for example that we unite with people who are affected by destruction, and fight with them for their survival, or that we go into the affected area, and help people to survive by placing us with them in the conflict zone, by living long term in their community. That does not mean we should not act pro-actively in promoting for example an arctic sanctuary, my thoughts are only concerning actions, not campaigns.

Usually we do an action to force a reaction by companies or governments. Instead we could reverse this in order to take things in our own hands. The companies destroying the environment are already doing an action, and we could do the reaction to it (the approach is different). This should happen in a way that people get emotionally moved by it, that the action of the company gets visible through the engagement. This way we do not need to invent stories to tell, the best stories are already there, only need to be made visible through us by including ourselves into it (the suffering and the fight of affected people). This could mean a group of known people (no reason to hide their identity if they are only reacting to a crime) starts a mission known publicly in advance (no secrecy needed), and does something which is obviously an attempt for a solution to a problem. It has a positive intention even though maybe being outrageous. It can stimulate more debate than any stopping of a crime. And because it is publicly known in advance, it does not matter if it fails. And it has the potential for including the public in the reaction, which is for the future of activism a vital tool, because since the year 2012 individual action is becoming increasingly impossible, is being blocked or criminalized.

I think this is only one idea, there could be much more better ideas from others. I just see the need to open up this topic to people in third world countries, in order to see experiences and suggestions from all cultures concerning this possible shift in our activities. I know this might not be new to many, but far too many action based organizations are still doing campaigns and actions based on western thinking and policies in third world countries. Having a goal of changing the law of countries or the policies of companies for the protection of the environment will never change anything on the ground. This is because outside of western culture the politics are only for the books and images, and the reality of life has nothing to do with it at all. If you try it, you will eventually get there, but find out afterwards that you were just wasting time for nothing.

Give people of third world countries the power to change their world themselves, with their methods, using their way of action and thinking. Don’t think you know better even if they tell you that you know better. Things work very differently in different cultures. And don’t think something which is illegal defined by a good law, means that people doing it are your enemies. People often do illegal things to survive, they are the victims, while big companies having lots of money to buy licenses and are therefore legal, are often destroying the environment big size, and are the enemy of the illegal people, robbing them their way of life and their possibility to work in order to survive. You have to unite with them, live with them first to understand the issue and later to be the co-victim in order to do a publicly seen reaction.


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why do we destroy our world and its variety, before we try to understand it...