Move the Rock

Excerpt from The Climate Resistance Handbook

Sometimes when groups decide to pick governments as their target, they fall into the trap of thinking like lobbyists. Lobbyists don’t focus on what the public wants. They have private meetings, expensive dinners, and fancy events to persuade government officials.

Fossil fuel companies have spent millions on lobbying. They're very experienced at that. That is their domain.

So what's the movement's way of changing government's minds?

It’s by seeing politicians as a balloon.

A balloon floats in the wind. If you blow on it, it can be pushed one way or the other. It follows the wind, like politicians who can change their opinions and stances easily.

But politicians are tied to a rock. If we swat at them, they may sway to the left or the right. But, tied down, they can only go so far. Instead of batting at them, we should move the rock: people’s activated social values.

Depending on our government, the string might be longer or shorter. But politicians know they can only be pushed so far one way or the other.

If they absolutely violate social norms, they are in trouble.

This is critical.

For example, I didn’t think very much about climate change a number of years ago. I cared about the environment. And if you asked me, I’d tell you I cared about climate change. So I had the value — but it wasn’t activated.

I didn’t really need someone to teach me about the issue. I needed someone to get me active, so that I was engaging politicians, my neighbors, colleagues, friends. When a friend asked me if I wanted to help them join a campaign on climate change — I said yes. I became activated.

Our goal in moving the rock is to build campaigns that encourage people to act on their values.

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