If the reason for the personal change or action is to have an effect on the problem, as opposed to being just symbolic, which is still important, because there are some things you should do just because they are right, regardless if they are pragmatic. But if you do feel morally compelled to try to have an effect on the problem, then there are other kinds of personal direct actions one can take, besides reducing ones carbon footprint. If you arrive through your analysis that the only way to make a dent in this problem is through political change, then maybe there is a personal responsibility to engage politically. To engage politically can mean lots and lots of things. Its not just about being arrested. I do think there is something to be said for finding what it is that you need to do that is outside your own comfort zone, that is pushing yourself to do what you don’t necessarily think you have it in you to do.
For me, in the beginning, that was literally just participating in a rally, speaking in a rally. I was a journalist, you’re not supposed to do that. I had an easy out for twenty ears. I have not been arrested. I think its just a mater of time but we’ll see. I think there are things you can do that are more radical then getting arrested.
“I do not propose to write an ode to dejection, but to brag as lustily as chanticleer in the morning, standing on his roost, if only to wake my neighbors up.” That’s from Walden.
–Wen Stephenson, from our event on 6/20