Trying to talk with people about (stopping) the end of the world. And failing.

Since I got back from 7 weeks and 10 tonnes of climate criminality, the same conversation – if you can call it that – has been had several times.

Here’s the dynamic of it (not obviously direct quotes, for various reasons, and a certain l’esprit d’escalier, but this is my website, so suck it up).


Me: Protest groups have come and gone – not at this scale on this particular issue, granted – and have a dynamic I call the emotacycle.  Tl:dr – it doesn’t last, and what is left behind is anomie, despair and unkept promises.  If we want a different result, we should probably do things differently.

Person 1: Yes, but at least we’re doing something.  You are saying we shouldn’t do anything.

Me: Really?  Really?  When did I say that?

Person 1:Look, a squirrel (scuttles off).

Person 2: Well, okay, then what’s your big idea about doing things differently?  You haven’t proposed anything.

Me: Really?  You know me.  You know that I have been writing about – and doing where possible – how to hold meetings differently, how to design events so they are not alienating to new folks, that I have been designing and holding skill-shares, talking about how we could change activist culture and expectations  etc etc etc for literally over a decade.  And you say I haven’t proposed anything.  And you expect me not to get angry at that?  Well, luckily for both of us I am not going to get angry. Not because I’ve been on anger management training (though perhaps I should) but because I am not even exasperated. I can’t take you seriously.  You know – and you know I know you know – that  I do in fact have a series of implementable proposals.  And you know that those threaten the status quo, and force today’s ‘we are winning’ crew to think differently, and they won’t – can’t?- do it.  And that all scares and frustrates you, but rather than deal with that, you simply say that I haven’t proposed anything. A convenient falsehood, instead of an inconvenient truth.

So, um, nice talking, but maybe I should be walking, ‘kay?



2 thoughts on “Trying to talk with people about (stopping) the end of the world. And failing.

Add yours

  1. I read your posts in a rural/regional Australian electorate where climate change is having discernible effects on agriculture, forests and water courses but nonetheless the Nationals – climate deniers – get over 60% of the vote and the Greens about 7%,
    Since the last disappointing election, a climate emergency group has sprung up and is growing and for the first time there will be widely supported student strikes in regional towns.
    Wondering what your assessment of this way of organising is?

    1. Hi Deb,
      I was just in South Australia for two months, arriving just after the election. There’s a lot of shell-shocked people, understandably. Anyone who understands the scale of the problem (esp in Australia) can be forgiven for despairing at the re-election of the Coalition.

      It’s great that there is a CEG springing up, and growing, and it’s great that it is making common cause with youth climate strikers. I suppose the key questions are what does the group hope to achieve in the next 6 weeks, in the next 6 months, and the next 3 years. What skills and knowledge does the group already have (and how well distributed are those skills within the group), how does the group plan to absorb new members and keep the existing ones, and how does it plan to get people who are quite hostile to things perceived as ‘green’ on board?

      I have some suggested answers to those questions, if you’d like me to expand?


      PS Thanks for getting in touch!

      PPS I am the same Marc Hudson who writes on Australian climate politics/green issues for

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