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What Bulldozers and Cynical Politics Do, 
Shovels and Grassroots Resistance Undo
Photo credit: Atossa Soltani/ Amazon Watch / Spectral Q
Xingu River, Brazil – Three hundred indigenous people, small farmers, fisherfolk, and local residents occupied the Belo Monte Dam project, removing a strip of earth to restore the Xingu’s natural flow and “freeing the river.” Participants gathered in formation spelling out the words “Pare Belo Monte” meaning “Stop Belo Monte” to send a powerful message about the devastating impacts of the dam on the eve of the UN Rio+20 Summit. Their message is that projects that destroys livelihoods and the environment and that violate indigenous rights cannot be called “Clean Energy”. They are demanding the cancellation of the $18 billion Belo Monte dam project. (Photo credit: Atossa Soltani/ Amazon Watch / Spectral Q)


The Belo Monte Dam is already under construction. Wikipedia has an excellent and detailed section on this dam. I am a Born Again Tree Hugger and the Canadian government has labelled me a radical environmentalist.  My stand against the Enbridge Northern Gateway Twinned Pipeline and the Athabaskan Tar Sands has also caused my government to argue that I (as well as many others) am possibly treasonous. But do not fear, this Blog is neither against the Belo Monte Dam or the Canadian Government and their head long rush into Ecocide.This is about Creative Non-Violent Civil Protest.  

I believe that violence begets violence. In 1492 Christopher Columbus with three ships of lost sailors  bumped into the home of hundreds of thousands, possibly even millions of people. He took a look around liked what he saw and headed back across the Atlantic. Over the next 500 years all sorts of very ugly things happened. Violence begot more violence. Destruction of the people and the land was the result of Columbus and his lost ships. Today the violence continues. Take a look at the story of the Lakota if you doubt my analysis.  The same connect the dots technique will lead you from the Industrial Revolution to the British Empire to German Expansion to WW1 to Hitler to WW2 to Korea to the Cold  War to Vietnam and onto Afghanistan. Violence begets violence.

There is only one possible way to change the world and that is to change how the world thinks. This is admittedly not an easy task. Nor is it a task that promises much hope for success. Still and all it is all I have to offer so pay attention to what follows and maybe we can begin the change.

The first thing that needs to happen is that we have to get peoples attention. This can be done in countless non violent ways. One is to do what some Lakota have done, nail up a really big sign that gives the proprietor of the booze canteen 30 days to change his ways or face serious problems. Another way is for 300  people to occupy an earthen dam, shovel an opening through it and spell out a protest slogan with their bodies as airborne cameras photograph the action.

Getting someones attention is easy, re-educating them is hard. Hard but not impossible. Every philosophy, form of government and religion that is powerful and dominant today started out as one or two people who wanted to change things. It takes time, courage, fanaticism, and a little bit of luck but it can be done.

To spread the message we have the web an almost unstoppable tool of education. The message itself is found within Deep Ecology.  This way of looking at the world is as old as humanity and as new as the 21st Century. Buddhists, Feminists, Pantheists, even Jews, Christians, Muslims and just about any other organization or group you can think of already has some of this in their group. We just need to point it out to them to bring them on board.

If you are still with me i need you to do the following. Go and read up on and think about Deep Ecology. If it makes sense to you please get back to me. Or even better get hold of others and start your own group movement. We can do this folks. We can save our world.

 

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