Organizers Dress to Impress at Climate Action
By Joshua Kahn Russell
Posted on January 30, 2009, Printed on May 23, 2013
(This post originally appeared on It's Getting Hot in Here)
On March 2, 2009, thousands of people from all walks of life -- and organizations from across the political spectrum -- will gather in their dress clothes at the coal-fired power plant that powers the United States Congress for the Capitol Climate Action in Washington, DC. The Capitol Power Plant is a flashpoint and national symbol for a clear message of real solutions, healthy jobs and communities, and climate justice.
We’ve all heard that movements for ecological sanity and social justice are in a crucial political moment. We’re moving from margin to center, and ideas that were once considered on the radical fringe are seen as common sense and self-evident. We’re embracing strategies that employ a diversity of complimentary tactics. Our president proudly writes a narrative of American progress driven by civic engagement and social movement. Our battle is no longer of whether climate change is real, but whether or not we will meet this challenge with the speed and urgency our times require with solutions that are deep enough to solve the economic and climate crisis for everyone, not just for a few.
The nature of protest must evolve to seize this opportunity.
In this action, the medium is our message – we’re engaging in an act of civil disobedience. We’re highlighting the moral imperative to take action; our future can’t wait, and we’re willing to put ourselves on the line to ensure we have one. Nothing less than the survival of our species hangs in the balance, and we’re taking ourselves seriously enough to convey that with clarity.
That’s why in their initial public letter Wendell Berry and Bill Mckibben said, “this will be, to the extent it depends on us, an entirely peaceful demonstration, carried out in a spirit of hope and not rancor. We will be there in our dress clothes, and ask the same of you.”
Dress how you like - it doesn’t need to be a business suit. Folks from different cultures have different ways of “dressing up” - feel free to do what feels right.
Joshua Kahn Russell is a grassroots organizer and trainer with the Rainforest Action Network and the Ruckus Society. He also serves on the steering committee for the Energy Action Coalition.
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