Warning for Extinction protestors: Good advice for the Greens too

Warning for Extinction protestors: Good advice for the Greens too

The warning from Mary Robinson to the Extinction Rebellion movement that they risk alienating the public if they do not employ smart tactics is appropriate. Despite that, it seems a challenge to modify a protest in a way that does not undermine its potency.

Blocking subway commuters may generate 15 seconds of fame but it alienates the very people the movement needs to convince to change their ways. Balancing those extremes is the second greatest challenge the green movement faces and it must walk that high wire carefully.

The UN Special Envoy on El Nino and Climate said disruption was necessary to drive change, but that the most effective path to reform was through convincing investors and pension funds to use resources in more sustainable ways.

The Extinction Rebellion movement may or may not heed Mrs Robinson’s advice, but maybe our Green Party might consider her general point. Recent polls predict the Greens might have up to 20 seats in the next Dáil. That would allow them unprecedented influence and opportunity. It would be a tragedy if the confidence those polls engender led to policy promises that would undermine that very possibility.

Forget about the wolves. Concentrate on sustainable housing, energy, transport, especially public transport, and protecting over-stretched and abused water resources. The green icing can be put on the cake when we’ve done all we can to avert looming self-inflicted disaster.

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