Dear Asheville community:
At the recent first meeting of the budding local chapter of Extinction Rebellion (extinctionrebellion.us), I sat with a circle of mostly elders who have decided to step up and insist we stop pretending our governments will address the climate emergency in a useful way. There will be more connecting opportunities in a couple of weeks at a library education room in the area. You can get in touch with me if you want to know where (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Other activists are also stepping out and up for help to shortcut this mindless march into what is not glibly being called the Sixth Extinction on Earth. From Sept. 20-27, classes, demonstrations, strikes and rallies are planned, including in Asheville on the 20th a “die-in” at 11 a.m. and a rally at 5 p.m.
This is a call out to y’all that business cannot be conducted as usual if we are to change the course of madness — and that students and teachers, clerks and administrators, workers and housekeepers, all step off the familiar path and go downtown (or to a local outdoor gathering space) and turn your concern into an insistence that will be noticed. This is a totally nonviolent event designed to help folks focus on this devastating issue and to use our love and willpower to draw ourselves away from the distractions of consumer culture and the demands of our daily lives.
Forty-nine years ago, in the winter and spring of 1970, all over this continent, students began holding sit-ins in school halls and classrooms, protesting the U.S. invasion of Cambodia and demanding an end to the war against Vietnam. We didn’t even have internet at that time, but telephones sufficed to link the whole country of high school, college and university populations, including a considerable number of faculty, and make the dire situation a priority. It really did begin to turn the tide.
Surely the fact that children today have terrible things to look forward to, and all of us will be hit hard in not that many years if things don’t abruptly and comprehensively shift. There are answers, however temporary at this time, to many of the climate dilemmas we face, but they have to be acted on right away. And the only way it seems the legislative will to move on them will be summoned is through the kind of insistence sit-ins, die-ins, walkouts, strikes and other citizen action have the power to provoke.
I hope you work or go to school in a place that will understand when you don’t show up on Friday the 20th or, even more demonstrably, take your things and leave before 11 a.m. to lend your voice, your will and your love to protect this planet that can’t take much more abuse. The time to stop pretending is now! The time to implement extreme changes is now! The time to strike is now!
— Arjuna da Silva