2022 How to Resist

The easy peace of apathy is a strong pull. Tempting to follow it and stay there, much harder to climb against it, and it is a long and arduous climb. Myself and many of my activist friends, feel tired. January perhaps, short days in the north.

When we look around though, we see the insects and flowers, waking too soon and unprepared for further winter. These little happenings are not small at all. They are a shattering of seasons, threads of delicate webs falling out of place. We notice these small changes, a hoverfly in January, spring flowers bursting ever earlier. They are warning heralds.

We reconvene, reconnect, share and energise. Tired yes, motivated more though. In the first two weeks of the year, I write two fundings bids for community projects, attend two networking meetings and numerous one-to-ones, and started another art commission. The warm sunshine of Portuguese winter fills me, the bird song fills me. I feel recharged and ready to resist.

January is typically a time to reflect, and I’ve been lucky to meet some fully dedicated sustainability professionals recently. One of these, was Julianna Lax at Giving Back Films, who is in the process of creating a new film around climate change. Anyone can get involved, imagining themselves and what they would say back from the year 2052. Only 30 years from now. It’s a powerful thought experiment.

My future world, the most positive one I imagine, is full of nature still. Where there were losses, we stopped them. Farming changed, as meat production reduced and in parallel, became dominated by cruelty free production. The land and sea globally was rejuvinated in ways that were sound for the local people, wildlife and resources. The land in turn, was prepared for some of the worst weather effects, which reduced the impacts on human settlements, particularly coastal areas.

In this same future, the global north turned away from material consumerism. Baubles and trinkets lost their shine, as people turned online for their work and free time. Shared experiences became commonplace as metaverses were increasingly less pixelated. We built friendships online and communities in our locales. Residents associations and other community groups became saviours in times of need, and these bonds embedded quickly as communities rallied in the face of major changes. The covid 19 pandemic was only a taster.

The positive future sees many great transformations. The transformation of our economy, with the behemoths of global banking disappearing as people were awakened to it failings. People start banking with each other, and within local places. As consumerism crumbled, wealth disparities and inequalities were challenged by an increasingly open-minded generation. Old men died and took with them their old ideas and their old ways.

Energy infrastructure transformed, it is largely renewables, efficiencies and clever consumption smoothing the transition. People transformed, they realised it was possible and they saw the times changing. Transformation became cathartic, the shackles of the past fell away.

So, how to resist in 2022? By imagining the future we want, then reverse-engineering the pathways to take us there. We need big conversations, difficult, complicated conversations to move forward. Communities are creating their own hubs of knowledge and intelligence. These are assets. They have real potential to build the depth and breadth of local partnerships and projects for action.

My future dreams are not the same as your future dreams. I bet we share some of the same values though. Whatever differences we can create between each other, we can also find shared truths. Get busy in 2022, find a local group and be part of the future-thinking. Movements need people from every background, with all their experiences and knowledge. The climate and biodiversity crises already call to so many diverse groups, across the myriad of cultures humanity has birthed.

To all the naysayers, tell them to jog on. The situation is dire — Code Red for humanity — but every action is stopping something worse going forward. Every action. Remember that.

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