2016 has been a tragic year in many respects. From the refugee crisis to the rise of the far right fuelled by xenophobia and hate, it seems like the world is falling apart socially while the planet falls apart ecologically.
I’ve watched friends working in the environmental arena fall apart emotionally this year too, pushed over the edge by Brexit and the US election of Donald Trump -convinced that if we couldn’t address climate change before these events, we’re certainly cooked now.
Cue Friends of the Earth. -I’ve been involved with Friends of the Earth Ireland for nearly a decade because it’s so effective at enacting change in my home country (and manages to have fun in the process), but simply working on change in Ireland is not enough to get this "Verdant Yank" out of bed. As a tiny rock on the edge of Europe, what we do in Ireland won’t be enough to solve the climate crisis.
I’m writing this post from the Friends of the Earth International Biennial General Meeting (#BGM2016). This year, it’s hosted by our Indonesian member group, Walhi. It’s the second BGM I’ve attended and each time I’m refuelled to keep fighting the good fight, even as we talk of recent news of the ‘extraordinarily hot’ Arctic temperatures in between our daily business.
How can I stay hopeful and engaged with Friends of the Earth while the pace of the climate crisis quickens at a rate our solutions aren't keeping up with?
What are we doing fundamentally wrong to create such a mess?
At this BGM, my Friends of the Earth U.S. colleagues remind me of Senator Bernie Sander's words,
...Political and social revolutions that attempt to transform out society never end. They continue every day, every week and every month in the fight to create a nation of social and economic justice.