What Activism Means to Me

It’s very hard to be a part of every movement.  To stand up for everything that we believe in, we would need to change a lot.

We would need to actively support compassion.  In addition to being compassionate, this means boycotting intolerant organizations and being politically engaged in favor of tolerance.  There are many issues of race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, class, culture, religion, imprisonment, nationality, language, citizenship, and statehood that need to be addressed.

We would need to actively support an end to conflict.  This would mean being politically engaged to stop war, to seek peaceful ends deterrents to terrorism, to take all possible action against genocide, and to disarm nuclear arsenals.  It also includes personal decisions, such as trying to buy products free from conflict minerals (conflict minerals are like blood diamonds except they're in our computers and cell phones and playstations and such).

We would need to politically and personally support the environment.  Global warming is real, and so is the energy crisis.  We need to fund research into more sustainable ways to get energy, and we need to do things like taking the train instead of driving or flying.  We also need to support a more equal distribution of environmental opportunity: the water crisis is real and global warming and western industry is making it worse, but industrialized nations don’t bear the bad effects.  We need to pick up our own trash: the west doesn’t bear the bad effects of the trash, carcinogens, and general pollution that we produce; instead, kids in china get cancer from recycling the lead on our computers.  We need to support biodiversity because we are permanently losing biodiversity as species go extinct from global warming, deforesting the rainforest, and using GMO seeds instead of indigenous seeds, not to mention the effects that each of these actions has on local communities.  We need to support the rights of all living things, not just humans: we kill and eat billions of animals that can feel pain and suffer every year, not to mention the suffering that is life in a factory farm. 

We would need to support national and international development.  As discussed in MSE193, getting a stable state is very important.  After that hurdle, democracy, public control, freedom of press, education, a regulated market and government, worker's rights, water and sanitation, food and agriculture, and public transportation, communication, and healthcare are also important.

All of that is more than any person can do, but don’t let the perfect get in the way of the good.  I cannot lead all of those movements for lack of time if nothing else, but I can try my hardest to be an ally to all of them.  It’s hard, but it’s doable, and it’s necessary if we want to be the world that we want to see.