By Chad Marvin
Personally taking action in order to support or oppose a stance is a very valiant thing. Contemporarily, it is often seen than although there are ample approaches one could take to voice ones opinions, quite often these beliefs lie dormant while the world remains as active and ever-changing as ever. Of course many of these changes can be good, but who is to say all of them are, better yet who is to even know about them in the first place? Enter the activist, the one who amidst all over the alterations occurring across the globe is able to pin down just one, or maybe a few more, and will then see that change through to assure it is revised with reason. Assemblages of people exist around the world carrying out such tasks and speaking individualistically, I am grateful for them. Look to any ecosystem or organism and you will certainly find that the one with the most balance in it, the one containing greater overall diversity, will also be the one who better thrives compared to one that lacks such a variety in its composure. This thriving example is in essence what the activist brings to a situation, a form of something that in it greater uniqueness is more well rounded and apt to exist as a part of the public world.
In Communicating Nature, author Julia Corbett talks about how much complexity there is when trying to create the changes that activists will often seek to make. She starts by expressing the initial circumstances we face in saying “Since the earliest days of our country, our founders were concerned with crafting a system of governance that had both stability but also adaptability.” Essentially eluding to the fact that in society we do have a well-grounded system that is able to withstand whatever forces that may seek to spread their influence, but also that this system at the same time cannot be impenetrable to this influences for some may be necessary. Corbett goes on to talk about the various ways the changes may come about within this system. She brings up different peoples that may seek change like “grassroot groups, ”institutional groups,” or even the “individual.” All of them have different motives and often these motives can even conflict with one and other, for all are often actively trying to get a message across and if one person is saying one thing already odds are another will be saying something else. Corbett says “Through its story frame, each message will define the problem, who’s responsible, and the solution differently.” Meaning that between all the messages coming in there is probably as good balance of information coming from differing positions.
So how does the small environmentalist fit in to such large and at times hectic schemes, all while still having the time to still separate the trash and plastics? Corbett at first doesn’t even appear sure offering these discouraging words “Yet scholars have found that environmental concerns tend to be a mile wide but and inch deep – meaning that either favorable opinions do not match behaviors, or that opinions are not connected to on-the-ground conditions and choices of the individual, government, businesses and so on.” But then she goes onto detail the progressions made, “As a social movement, the environmental movement today little resembles the one that began over a hundred years ago. Some environmental groups are as large as small corporations” progressions have been made and in quick time too. Environmental groups are taking small steps each day to achieve a world that better respects nature, Corbett says “ our culture has accepted very limited definitions: wilderness is an environmental issue” this is a huge step. But she does say that we are limited. She also if you have noticed in these quotes leaves the optimism to a minimum, “limited” “small corporations” so where does the environmentalist go towards to achieve success in making social change? Corbett suggests that the answer is right in front of us, in our name. As we have grown and assimilated into being regularity in society, to being that of a small corporation, we have lost the essence of who we are, corporations and groups that are quite the opposite of environmentalists have managed to receive our “green” image to keep themselves safe. We need a new meaning or understanding behind us, something that better defines the environmentalist and environmentalism, says Corbett “We must enlarge the definition of environmental messages and where we find them, and to be encouraged to go beyond face value.” This is our direction, we must confront the roadblock we are at and create a sign saying, “Take next exit towards the new and improved environmentalism.”
But what if we don’t? In The Year of the Flood, Margaret Atwood puts fourth a story with a supposition that doesn’t present the greatest outlook as far as what is ahead for us. Set in a post-apocalyptic place, environmental concerns are placed at the forefront of the reader’s attention. A quote from one of the main characters and leader of a group called The Gardeners reads “do not descend to a level that is too deep for any resurgence, or the Night will come in which all hours are the same to you, and then there will be no hope.” This advice comes for in the book, there are countless amounts of individuals, groups, gangs, cults and even governments that will not hesitate to attack, kill or even rape anyone who they come across. They live in an extremely threatening time where The Gardeners, a religious, environmental group of vegans who seek to live a lifestyle that is respectful to all organisms seem to be the last shred of home in an otherwise completely corrupt world. Adam one is constantly giving them messages similar to this warning them to be safe and it is even seen in the book when Adam thirteen is murdered by the government “CorpSeMen.” The book in a way is almost suggesting many of the things we hear in Communicating Nature where the environmental name is losing it’s image and the world is moving in a bad direction where something must be done.
Examples in the media can also show us the direction in which we must go towards to bringing a good meaning behind environmentalism. In the film Bidder 70 a man, Tim DeChristopher goes to a big gas and oil business auction and bids for a piece of land that was going to be used as part of the oil and gas businesses operations which would have absolutely damaged the land and surrounding area. DeChristopher won the auction but had no intentions of actually paying, he just wanted to stop this land from being abused and took the role of the activist to do so. DeChristopher went to jail for two years for this but he brought much attention to this issue through his actions. One can also look the movie The East where a women infiltrates a company that both targets Eco terrorists and heavily pollutes the environment. Through the story we see another way in which an activist could and maybe even should intervene in some situations to help the environment, even if it is dangerous to do so. The movie really makes you think, how much has to do on in the world before you yourself need to get up and take a stand against it all.
Another example comes in the article Eco-Activists Resist Eviction From Bristol Treetopsauthor Steven Morris gives us good understanding of how important it is for people to stand up for environmental issues. In it talks about a group of people living in the trees of an area that people are trying to bulldoze through, even through that area has some of the most important food growing lands. “Many local people and allotment holders are also opposing the scheme. They point out that the area is part of Bristol’s blue finger, where there is prime growing soil.” Obviously the protests made in this case were rightfully carried out. Just think about how important it is to have to noble activist now having all the sources I have presented in this blog post. What if environmentalism doesn’t gain a new meaning in time, what if companies keep trying to just wreck our land and food sources? What could happen? Are we really that far away from the circumstances in The Year of the Flood? Personally, I don’t want to find out and I’ll be active, in acting as an activist as much as I can because there is great power behind the making the choice to have a voice.