A weekend of activism.

Says Patrick:

I'm not going to today's march for the climate in Toulouse - Grève Mondiale Pour le Climat Toulouse - though I totally support its goals, and all the friends I know who are going.

Instead, I'm on a train North. First to London - to speak on a panel at this democracy and media festival on Saturday and then Bristol - for the Extinction Rebellion Spring Uprising event on Sunday, which aims to prepare people for the start of a global series of civil disobedience actions starting on April 15. 

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This is a rather knackered me after a civil disobedience march in Copenhagen in 2009 - something I wrote about in the introduction to Fraudcast News. It's not war paint but the residue of liquids used to calm the sting in my eyes.

Danish police had pepper sprayed us and beat us with truncheons. I can sort of understand why. We were trying to get into global climate change talks. Or non-talks rather, they were a total waste of time.

Then, as now, the insanity of climate inaction by our leaders had deep roots. Two major ones are the failures of our conventional media – to focus on systemic issues – and our reliance on the election of representatives to take poor political decisions in our place.

It's taken the likes of the remarkable Greta Thunberg to call out our collective madness. What a blessed relief she is. 

Despite the cataclysmic effects of unchecked climate change that are starting to make themselves felt - her arrival at last makes me feel that the debate dynamic is changing. Given the late hour, we need to incorporate coping mechanisms alongside urgent efforts to reign in emissions - these include inevitable grief, frustration, anger, shame and all the rest. 

We mustn’t waste our energies blaming ourselves or others, we’ve all got our guilty climate-wrecking secrets here. Rather, we need to focus on more peaceful attempts to remedy, to consolidate community, to build responses that have some sort of chance of working.

Mine is to work on this All Hands On solutions-journalism project, trying to encourage a radical revamp of how political decisions happen.

Stay safe today whether you're marching or not, be nice to each other and those you encounter. Try also to remember those confused cops have kids and families too, remind yourself of that if things get sweaty. 

We've had enough blame and anger - no more time for that.



Says Phil:

Very proud that my daughter Madeleine is on strike from school, demonstrating outside the Scottish Parliament, taking part in the global climate protest for which Greta Thunberg has been the catalyst. She sent me the photo at the head of the article while I was editing it. This is a genuine act of conscience for Maddy and her friends. They are safer pairs of hands for our future than the rotten establishment, whose Westminster branch seems hell-bent on destroying any vestige of its credibility and dignity.