While I stand by my immediately previous post, I also to some extend disagree with it, if that makes contradictory sense. So my post here relates to my comment in my first post in this topic that drastic action might well/probably will be needed to save elephants (and many other things).
Here is a joke from brilliant environmental author Derrick Jensen. He says:
How many environmentalists does it take to change a lightbulb?
Ten. One to write the lightbulb a letter requesting that it change. Four to circulate online petitions. One to file a lawsuit demanding it change. One to send the lightbulb lovingkindness™, knowing that this is the only way real change occurs. One to accept the lightbulb precisely the way it is, clear in the knowledge that to not accept another is to do great harm to oneself. One to write a book about how and why the lightbulb needs to change. And finally, one to smash the f@#&ing lightbulb, because we all know it’s never going to change.
In his joke as applied to elephants, the light bulb, of course, is the whole complicated system of poaching while those trying to change the bulb are your typical peacenik environmentalists. In his writings and talks, Jensen spoofs the usual sorts of attempts by environmentalists to save the planet, and calls for something more effective -- direct action, fighting back, rebelling against our current civilization/culture which is founded at its core on over-exploiting the planet and destroying life forms including our own.
He gives as an analogy trying to stop Hitler from killing Jews and invading nations. It is laughable to think writing Hilter letters and filing lawsuits against him would have stopped him for even a second. Jensen maintains big government and big environmentally destructive corporations are the Nazis of our time with nature their targets.
He has a funny video spoof about how the original script for "Star Wars
" was written by environmentalists, except it wasn't called Star Wars because that was too violent - it was called "Star Non-Violent Civil Disobedience
". You can watch it here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSjwMr3SU4U
or read the text of it here http://www.derrickjensen.org/work/endga ... star-wars/
In a very entertaining way, he makes the point that just as you could not have stopped Darth Vader from destroying planets by writing him a polite letter or filing a lawsuit calling on him to stop destroying planets, those tactics are similarly feeble and ineffective to save elephants from poachers, oceans from over-fishing, polar bears from climate change. He argues that to save salmon, we need to remove the dams that block their spawning rivers. We need to do that to fight back against a culture that sees rivers as being there for people to use as they see fit regardless of the harmful consequences for other species and even for the next generations of humans. We need to do that fast before it is too late for the salmon. We need to rebel against the destructive culture we are embedded in – and yet it is hard to rebel exactly because we are so embedded in it that we just take for granted/unquestioningly accept the underlying values of our Darth Vader-ish earth-destroying "civilized" culture.
I would love to know what specific direct actions Jensen would recommend to save elephants.
Another Jensen video that is very moving, inspiring and at times also funny can be found here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJxSrB8ghjM
It covers some of the same ideas as his Star Wars video in a more poetic and arguably more compelling way. In this one he gives the analogy of medical doctors in Auschwitz who cared about their Jewish prisoner patients and did whatever they could to help them EXCEPT
the one thing that really would have helped them-- rebelling against imprisoning them in the first place. Freeing them. Embedded in Nazi culture, they just could not separate themselves enough to see Nazism for what it was clearly enough to fight back against it.
We are no different. We talk about loving the planet and wanting to avert the worst effects of climate change, for example, but most of us don’t stop driving our cars (mea culpa
) or go monkey wrench oil rigs and fracking wells or take the other actions that are essential to rebel against and stop the all-powerful fossil fuel carbon-emitting juggernaut. Instead, we sue Exxon for hiding the fact it knew decades before anyone that its product would end up frying the earth and write polite letters to Obama asking him to leave fossil fuels in the ground even as more and more public lands are opened to fracking.
Anyway, in the above video, Jensen has far more to say that the snippets I have mentioned and it is all inspiring and worth hearing. Give yourself the gift of taking the time to watch it and think about it. His is another voice, another viewpoint, and a very interesting and articulate one.
Yes, I know this post seems to contradict my previous “every little bit helps” post. It does. And both are true. We need big rebel actions and small timid actions, all of it. Everyone.
P.S. Further to Paul L’s suggestion that those who choose to donate to the pilot’s memorial anti-poaching fund should note that they are NSN members, I suggest spelling it out as naturescapes.net to be clear what NSN refers to, i.e. that it is not the National Security Network, for example (which came up at the top when I googled NSN).