15,000 in 60 cities world-wide. How many hundreds on Leeds Town Hall steps? Surely they must listen now? So why did I come away profoundly depressed?
Because, like Greta Thunberg, who sees being Asperger’s as a gift, I see things differently from most . I could not help reflecting that she started what may yet change the world alone.
I identify with her. I too started my solo campaign to save the world from ecological destruction 46 years ago. That was in response to the 1972 Report Limits to Growth, the first public warning that human economic activity was in danger of damaging the planet’s ecosystems.
I went door to door Jehovah’s Witness style with the message:
“The End of the World need not be at Hand!”
All my friends just thought I was mad. What became the Green Party was formed in response to Limits, but again, members were overwhelmingly normal. They too dismissed my strategy as ‘unrealistic’. At all events no one took photos of me, and there was no internet in those days.
Actually one in ten who answered the door, even in 1973, were disturbed enough to say they might vote for a party with a coherent set of policies which addressed the concerns flagged up by the MIT report, even though I spelled out what Limits to Growth might mean in practice. I note in passing that XR considers 3.5% enough for a successful revolution.
But I was upset for the same reason as I came away from the XR national strategy meeting a month ago: I had been thwarted, not by enemies, but by people whose aims were exactly the same as mine, only they had normal minds. It could have been an oversight, but I doubt it.
I asked could I speak briefly. The organizer put me down – on his computer – for a slot. As the PA system was being packed up, he expressed regret. It had already been hinted that there were many young people wanting to contribute, which was true. Perhaps it is too many bruising experiences which have made me paranoid, but I believe the real reason was they thought I would do more harm than good.
They may even have been right. My ’gift’ does make me clumsy with the spoken word sometimes. My contribution would certainly have been in stark contrast to the rah-rah atmosphere. I would have started, and finished with stressing that this movement must succeed, but it would have included hints about the enormity of what all of us in this ecosphere saving movement are taking on. If only a fraction of Greta’s demands are met, GDP will suffer. Sure, it has to happen to stave off a much more serious collapse later, but downsizing is unavoidable.
It is not just schoolchildren who do not seem to grasp that this is one of the two reasons no one has dared touch eco-limits with a barge pole. My abnormal mind finds this failure of understanding incredible. A possible answer to this problem is the crucial contribution I believe I can make.
The organizers were of course right, that Friday was a day for solidarity. But when will be the right moment be for the serious stuff? Next time, I was promised. I fear that the answer will remain the same as the right time for moderating economic activity generally. Soon, but not now, not just yet.
My main, dashed, hope was that some would have asked to see my leaflet (which included my weblog address) for positive answers which are otherwise less likely. But oratory is probably not my strongest point. What I really need is for an individual in the media spotlight to read my weblog. But so what, if they all have normal minds?
There is one who doesn’t.