Thursday, December 29, 2016

Climate Heroes? or Dangerous Saboteurs? An evaluation schema for potential Direct Actions

Climate Heroes?  or Dangerous Saboteurs? 
An evaluation schema for potential Direct Actions 

I hope this generates some positive discussion. 

IMO, the issue around the Oct 2016 shutdown of 5x Dilbit Pipelines is a microcosm which illustrates certain concerns affecting the greater environmental and climate movements, and should call us all into examining our core values.   

We are living in a new age now. 

If we cannot stop Trump and growing Fascism, then I fear the threats against climate activists will here approach what we see in S. America, and W. Africa. 

Thus, it is of UTMOST importance that our actions are of the highest moral integrity, and UNAMBIGUOUSLY nonviolent. 

Gandhi's Satyagraha, Women Suffragettes, MLK, "My Name is Allegany County", "We are Seneca Lake", the Water Protectors at Standing Rock-- all examples of successful and TRUE nonviolent action campaigns.

We must be motived by a sense of protection and care for all beings. We must treat each other with kindness both at the gate and in our groups. 

These "valve turners" are being almost universally and uncritically celebrated in the alt-left press as being Climate Heroes. 

People who know me know I am a vocal evangelist for Nonviolent Direct Action, since it is clear administrative remedies do not work.

However, IMO, their actions were quite unlike other NVDA actions which I have both documented, organized, and participated in. 

for evaluating potential direct actions:

We need to closely examine: 

a) what were the goals of this action? 
b) a fair assessment of what the risks were, 
c) how the decision was made,
d) does it meet the definition of nonviolent action, 
e) does it follow the precautionary principle, or 
f) if there were potentially better ways to meet the goals?

My intention here is not to attack these people. They seem like they did not undertake this lightly. They planned it for months, took certain precautions, they seem thoughtful and motivated by deep concern for the environment. 

Although I admit I do feel a certain connection to the 2013 spill in Mayflower AR, and the people who live there who are still suffering health impacts 3 years later. So such a risky action does raise a certain anger in me. 

But I DO hope this critique causes groups to use the Six Questions above or similar evaluation schema for future possible direct actions.


The essence of Nonviolent Action is putting YOUR OWN body at risk. What gives someone the right to to put OTHER LIVES in the line of harm? Were those potentially impacted others involved in the decision?

May you, and all beings
be happy and free from suffering :)
-- ancient Buddhist Prayer (Metta)

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