By now you’ve probably seen the viral footage of good Samaritans rescuing a motorcyclist trapped under a burning car in Utah.
The victim, Brandon Wright, survived the Sept. 12 crash thanks to their actions. The clip begins with some tentative individuals circling the burning car. One guy in a blue shirt tries to lift it himself and steps away briefly before five others move in with him to try to lift it together. No luck: they step back.
Then one young woman gets on the ground to see if she can see the guy underneath and her calling to the others seems to give the growing crowd new energy. The group again charges the car and suddenly, amazingly, new helpers begin rushing in, swelling the crowd to about 15 people. With these numbers, the car is quickly overturned and the man pulled from underneath.
The scene is a moving illustration of the potential for collective human courage and the rapid, spontaneous solution to a dangerous problem. There were no authorities telling the crowd what they had to do, no one giving up after they tried and failed to lift the car the first few times. In fact, the fruitless struggles of the initial small group seemed to inspire the others to help. Even the police followed their lead (for a more lighthearted but no less heartwarming illustration of this principle, check out another famous clip of a lone dancer at the Sasquatch Music Festival who's suddenly joined by a huge, joyful crowd).
You see where I’m going with this, right? Thus far we haven’t had much luck depending on our leaders to take action on climate change, either at the national or international level. Most are sitting back watching the burning car from a safe distance, bickering over how the crash happened or whose insurance should cover the damage. Some are making money off that insurance. Some are flying past on the road pretending they didn’t see an accident. Others assume the guy is dead already and think a risky rescue attempt would be pointless.
But there are a few people trying to lift the car. We’ve seen them not just embrace renewable energy systems but take local ownership of those systems in Germany. We’ve seen young people in Guadalajara, Mexico install their own bike lanes after getting fed up with government officials’ inaction on transportation issues. The Maldives, a country particularly susceptible to climate change impacts, is inviting people around the world to help them achieve the incredible goal of carbon neutrality via a forthcoming crowdsourcing website. And the anti-coal movement in the US has had resounding success in scrapping plans for or shutting down new plants in the past few years.
Tomorrow's Moving Planet Day is the perfect response to failed climate talks and other thoroughly uninspiring hesitations. People everywhere are embracing previously unfelt power and becoming themselves the leaders they long for.
Fossil fuel companies and their supporters like to tell us we need them, that our desire for a world free of their dominance is a naive pipe dream. They like to pretend that there aren’t communities already proving that true energy independence is possible. Resistance might seem like a trickle now, but we've seen before how quickly small groups can "flip the switch", so to speak, in the minds of the general public. Let’s tap into our better natures and chuck this car over already!
GRASSROOTS from The Climate Reality Project on Vimeo.
|MovingPlanet@Kos is a collaborative action with the MovingPlanet team, the Global Campaign for Climate Action, WiserEarth, tcktcktck, theSierra Club, DeSmogBlog, EcoCity Builders, and Transition US. Together, we arelaunching a 'package' of educational and inspirational writing and art,rattling the twitterverse in a cooperative social media campaign, and sharingsome of the most innovative and extraordinary 9/24 events.
Visit the MovingPlanet Earthship for updates and links to news and postings and to Coverage@Kos to see all diaries with the 'moving planet' tags over the course of this weekend.
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Big polluters pump out carbon
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Earthship Thursday Eve Launching MovingPlanet@KOS
Friday, September 23 ALL TIMES EST
Moving Planet Launch Post 9/22 by boatsie
9 am -11 enviro writer: Taking the Reins of the Climate Movement
11-1: Jill Richardson: A Story of Sheep & The Climate Crisis
1-3 Kelly Rigg, Global Campaign for Climate Action, A Tale of Two Cities
3-5: R. Fox: Moving the Planet with Just a Bicycle
5-7 Richard Register, Ecocity Builders, Freeways for Bicycles, as in the Old Days
7-11 Franke James, Environmental Artist, What Can One Person Do, When 6.8 Million are Frying the Planet?
11-1 Ellinorianne: Moving Planet: Transition is Moving Me
Saturday, September 24 ALL TIMES EST
7-9: B Amer: Moving Planet Bangkok
9-11 Bill Mckibben: Yemen This Morning
11-1: Nicole Gheo, Sierra Club: From India to the Heart of Appalacia
1-3: Ulookarmless: Poems for the Trip
3-5: Adam Siegel: Killing or Creating The Future: Solar at two ends of the Mall ...
5-7 rb137: Moving Planet: Fossil Fuels Aren't Cheap
7-9: WarrenS: Variations on a Moving Planet Theme: Two LTEs
9-12 citisven: Liveblog SuperHeroes: Report Ins
Sunday wrap ups
12-2: Citisven: San Francisco Moves the Planet (fun photos galore!)
2-4: Peggy Duvette, WiserEarth, A Wiser 350
4-6 Post Carbon Institute, Tom Whipple, The Peak Oil Crisis: The German Army Report
TBD: Sophie McGrath, Oxfam East Africa, "The impacts of man-made climate change in Ethiopia"