Yesterday, I was alerted to the fact that Shell Oil plans to drill in the Arctic. I... yeah, I may not have known about this before yesterday, but global warming has certainly gained access to my brain place. Even those of us who claim to live under a rock, have seen the recent results of that, and well? This can't make anything any better, as far as I, and most people with a few brain cells can piece together. My rock has gotten very hot lately, and weather everywhere, has been very strange. That said, I will fully admit that I hadn't realized how imminent this was, until I learned of several protesters who rapelled off of the side of the St. John's bridge, supported by about 60 or more "kayaktivists" who acted quickly, in an attempt to block the Royal Dutch Shell PLC Icebreaker Fennica’s route on the Willamette River.
While there, I even met a man who could not go into the water, himself, but he was there with a kayak to lend to someone who could. I listened to them explain the consequences of his loan; up to and including impound of his property. He was still willing to lend the kayak.
I can't say that I have mixed feelings about civil disobedience. There are reasons for it, and they usually have to do with money and the fact that it talks, while everyone else needs to figure out how to work around this creatively, and somehow bring attention to their cause. I have to admire this level of creativity, because it really did gain a lot of notice. It isn't something I would have considered. And though it was bold, I seriously doubt anyone who participated, thought they would be directly stopping this action from taking place. But in effect, they did gain national coverage, and that coverage may have gained the attention of someone, or maybe several someones, in a position to stop this from happening. This is, at least, my hope.
Historically, we have affected a lot of change in this manner. Civil Disobedience has been the necessary means of dealing with certain special interests, who are, let's face it; thugs. It has been the necessary means of gaining rights for many marginalized groups, who should have, but somehow weren't covered under the statement: "All men are created equal." I... kind of hate that statement, but for the times? It should have blanketed a much larger group than it did.
Anyway... back to thugs. How do you meet a thug? You kind of have to do it, head-on, or at least that's what I hear. I am no thug, and I've never met a thug, but I've seen how this works in various mediums. Unfortunately, there are plenty of people who try to use legal channels to receive attention and help for things, and get caught up in a lot of loopholes, and complications, and are often censored, and edited to the point that everything is lost. It happens. This is one of the reasons for civil disobedience, and it does work. And true, This may not directly stop the operation, but it certainly calls attention to the issue, and brings people to the area, to sign petitions, gather more information, and find out how to become more involved in things. That is how change happens. This is how regular citizens like you I, can at least do something, instead of contemplating the smell of the hippies hanging from the bridge. (Although, I did find out how they deal with the bathroom issue, and it was surprisingly not disgusting.)
I am a lowly, singular citizen who is glad they did this, and I'm glad I heard about it, so I could be there, and at least add my name. Every name counts.
Yes, they may have needed to resort to drastic action like rappelling from a bridge to gain that sort of attention, but no matter what people think, It was nationally recognized, and that does count for something.
Sadly though, now, a federal judge has ordered that Greenpeace pay Shell Oil $2500 per hour the protest continues, and I hear that people are coming down, and out of the river, but this isn't over. The more people who join in and fight the good fight, the more we can actually do something worthwhile. In the end, speaking out is what gets results, even if that means speaking out to a lot of people, and finding the right ones to help you. That can sometimes take a while, but if it's worth it? It's worth it.
Adding to the present now, I just saw a friend's photo of the Royal Dutch Shell PLC icebreaker Fennica, on its way out of Portland, via the Columbia, as they watched from the beach.
Sigh... It's not over, though. Not by a long shot.
|This sign read: "Hey Shell! The planet is not your playground!"|