by John Kinsella
Too many of us know something is wrong, think it, even say it, but
simply do nothing.
I am afraid the placebo of social media campaigns is as much as
expression of hubris and vanity as it is a positive act of engagement with
vital issues that require change or prevention. It’s simply not enough, and it
The most positive example of the social media campaign for positive
change is the online petition, and this has been used to great effect in Britain for all sorts of local and regional issues (though I don’t think they’d
have any chance to halt the horror of racism and bigotry that has been ‘unleashed’
there in recent weeks).
But that, too, is reliant on officials and politicians feeling they
have enough to gain from following it up, or, say, once introduced to
parliament, that there’s the will to implement change on the various levels of
bureaucracy. Government is inevitably self-serving and inevitably compelled by
its (bottom) fiscal line. Compromise will always be made.
The so-called will of the people, which is usually measured by
‘numbers’ rather than consensus or even a default understanding or
consideration of the needs of ‘minorities’, is a variable which officials and
the so-called representatives of the people manipulate, and with which they play
with at will.
As a pacifist, I believe in non-violent direct action. I believe
that each of us must act in accordance with our consciences, and also in
accordance with non-vengeful, non-violent natural justice. Further, I believe
that individual action has to be enacted through community on a small scale,
and that those communities are rarely quantifiable or definable.
A community does not have to be those who surround us who might hold,
say, racist or violent views. Sometimes we have to step outside geography to
make communal decisions and implement communal action.
Community might be those who are concerned, for example, about the
health of the biosphere. They might hold many different views on many different
things, but there’s general consensus on that primary and vital issue. And thus
I bring this horrific issue to readers’ attention: 'Threatened species face extinction owing to "God clause", scientists say' (Calla Wahlquist, the Guardian).
This ‘God clause’, a coinage by Western Australian scientists in the
context of legislation being debated in the Western Australian parliament, seeks
to give the government and the minister for the environment the power
essentially to exploit an ecology that might see the extinction of an
As is pointed out by those opposing this on the level of policy, to
give rights for clearing land where an endangered species lives kills the
creatures, regardless. Further, the qualification of which species should be
able to live, and which will (through the actions of companies or individuals)
perish, is not only speciesist, but literally an act akin to genocide in human
That humans destroy on a massive scale is obvious; that humans feel
remorse is evident yet paradoxical; but that humans would wish to legalise and
legitimise their death-acts is so criminal it should be looked at as a form of
war-crime. If one believes, as I do, that all creatures deserve the right to
exist, this is one of the basest pieces of legislation ever placed in front of
a governing body.
So what do we do? Social-media our angst and forget about it until
the next piece of propaganda comes through from the Taylor Swift camp to keep
us all distracted? No, we write more than a few lines; we write our lives into
our opposition. We change our interactions with the state on every level so the
state can no longer act in our names. We point out that even majorities can be
tyrannies, and that no one can represent animals, and that even the most
dedicated pro-animal campaigner will waver at the edges due to the pressures
It has to be individual collective action. Let’s not allow this one
to happen. As we watch more and more land-clearing of less and less native
vegetation; as we all sit back stunned and let it happen, participating in the
crime with our every consumer act on the planet, let’s pause, slow down at
least one consumer ‘necessity’; let’s not leave it purely to advocate groups of
‘scientists’ or ‘prominent people’ or volunteer or paid members of
environmental advocacy groups, but rather make our own decisions, communicate
in real ways where we speak to people — not to avatars and numbers of
followers. Speak individually, converse, dialogue, exchange.
This legislation is symptomatic of a greed so great, of an
exploitation in what they are turning into an endgame, of a mass extinction
made by the cronies of developers, miners, agricultural interests, and anyone
who thinks they can make a buck to buy themselves better material goods, that it
is much more than a local concern. It’s the hand that signs the paper. Its
synecdoche reaches every part of the planet. It is the ultimate form of terror.
Don’t let the small unseen things
mess up a project. Project your desires
for profit (sorry, ‘jobs jobs jobs!’).
Don’t let hopping cridders the screen-
watchers don’t know much about
mess up a project. Buildings are life.
Don’t let fauna interfere with the
integrity of construction — the guys who
to chop down to clear literally as you’re
planting a tree.
Don’t let direct speech put you off the
there are still plenty of metaphors to hide
long after the creatures are gone we can
Don’t let the minister and the governor
scare you with their magic wands — they’ll
wave them over the earth with largesse.
CEOs will cheer.
Don’t let any of this bother you watching
your favourite sport or watching your
arts film. Think of what was done making Fitzcarraldo.
Don’t let someone with knowledge of land —
knowledge of what can’t be seen even with
distract you from your purpose. Your
metals. Your living space.
Don’t let conjecture (bright light!) on how
new species are left to be discovered upset
ontological balance. There’s always the
vacuum of space.
Don’t let me waste your valuable time for
and all it can offer while the legislators
on what doesn’t live on your clean, radiant