We’re Not Gonna Take It!
We need more Dee Snider moments if the revolution is going to happen. Record temperatures, 500-year storms happening twice a year, Koyaanisqatsi is here, life is out of balance.
The super group Secret Stash had been well, not exceptionally super, aside from some blistering guitar work from Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready. Then a tall white haired memory took the stage for the first encore and the whole vibe changed.
It was day two of Squaw Valley’s Creating Equilibrium Festival and while powerful, the message needed more. I was cynical going in, my freelance inquiry to Rolling Stone said it all:
I will be attending the Squaw Valley Equilibrium conference August 25-27 and will be covering it for the Press Democrat, Argus-Courier and Index-Tribune. I would like to pitch a story to you about the current state of environmentalism titled, “Get out of the way you f*cking hippies!” As that pretty much sums up my view of the current state of apathy around the issue.
Please take a look at my writing and get back to me.
When Dee Snider hit the stage and the drummers started pounding out that familiar 1-2-123, 1-2-123 beat of his anthem, “We’re Not Gonna Take It” the entire meadow at the base of KT-22 went batshit crazy. The flow changed, the endorphins grew, people danced and sang and screamed and the experience went from about a 6 to a 10.
Dee was loving it, “These people are on f*cking fire.” He yelled into the fresh Squaw Valley air.
We all need a little more Dee in us. You, me, Prince EA, Steven Kotler, Patricia Wright, Jamie Wheal, David Suzuki, Robert Suarez and everyone else at the Equilibrium Forum because without the extra energy, things will not change. Not to say that these people are not doing amazing things, they are. It’s just that our mother needs us now, like right now, and if we don’t ramp up the revolution from a 6 to a 10, we may not have a beautiful mountain setting like Squaw Valley for future Equillibrium conferences.
When you deep dive into Prince EA’s videos or Steven Kotler’s books, or David Suzuki’s philosophy, you find the same thing. Our humanness trumps our labels. Before we were Republicans or liberals or Capitalists, we were people, miracles growing out of two cells that needed three things to survive (air, water, and food).
Keeping these three things clean and healthy should be fundamental to our humanness. It should not be a movement or a goal; it should be our baseline to living. Somewhere as we grew, many of us forgot that polluting our air, water and land will end us. Thus the need for the Equilibrium Festival:
Creating Equilibrium’s two-day conference – appropriately named Visions – will inspire leaders to visualize and unearth real-world solutions to both current and future environmental crises. The goal of the event? Foster radical new approaches to solving critical environmental issues. Build bridges between world-renowned technologists and world-saving environmentalists. Invite business, industry and government into the discussion. The world’s top thought leaders in education, business, environmentalism, technology, and policy will convene for a forum to create actionable solutions to solving the world’s environmental crises, specifically focusing on biodiversity for its inaugural year.
Did we foster radical new approaches to solving critical environmental issues? Not so much but hearing how Lelani Munter is pushing vegan cooking with Nascar fans is pretty great. Learning about the tree bullet drone that can shoot 100 thousand tree seedlings per day into the ground is inspiring. And discovering cultured meat that is healthier and does not come from cows, but tastes like it does, is genius.
And that’s what it’s about. Looking critically at something, which we kinda take for granted and saying, well, we could do better. Buying land so that developers won’t destroy it (Patagonia). Looking at your band’s footprint and saying, “Yeah I’m a total narcissist but I can also be a force for change in the world.” (Ryan Miller, lead singer for the band Guster and co-creator of Reverb.org). Encouraging people to find their flow and make the impossible possible. (Steven Kotler). And trying to answer the question of Prince EA’s 7-year-old nephew, “Why don’t people get it?” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRUoLarLLVA)
We should be pissed about the current state of environmentalism, like really pissed, like Charlottesville-protest pissed, but we’re not. We are the frogs in the boiling pot of water ignoring signs and blindly muddling forward. Houston is only the beginning in a shortsighted world where Scott Pruitt leads the EPA. What will it take? What can we do? And what exactly is clean coal Mr. President?
It Ain’t Coca-Cola, It’s Rice.
The great 70’s philosopher, Joe Strummer sang those words, meaning that if people can’t eat, nothing else matters. It also means that it’s always about the money (I might be reaching here) because, sadly, it is always about the money. This is the big hurdle of the revolution: Our infrastructure was established on fossil fuels and it will take time to change that. Good things are happening, yes, but again, not fast enough. Plus most of the developing world wants the American capitalist Dream and if you think our world is polluted now, imagine if another 6 billion people attained cars and fast food and giant houses. Yikes!
The good news is that most next gen billionaires seem to be getting the message, the bad news is that last gen billionaires are still running the show. Also, most countries are still striving to bigger their economies (Remember the tale of The Lorax?). And then there’s the short-term issue of our man-child leader rejecting science and putting profits over people.
I try to get this across to in my classroom but often I feel like I’m screaming into the darkness. Sure teaching units titled, “How plastic is making your penis smaller” catches people’s attention but it’s not enough. We must come together to solve the big three:
Rats in a cage– Overpopulation is the foundation for all the shit. In Science we call it carrying capacity and what it means is that an environment has a sweet spot of organisms that can maintain it’s function. Think global homeostasis. The example in Houston will become the new normal if we don’t learn from it.
Hate– War is for the dumb. Dominating others is short sighted. Empathy is our logical evolutionary answer. Is this a surprise to anyone? Accepting that our differences are good and promoting a philosophy of WE over ME is a much better way to go. Your bubble is the best for you but it is only one bubble in a big world of bubbles.
Apathy– Who cares? I can’t make a difference. My opinion doesn’t matter. And the scariest reason of all, “but I can’t miss the new episode of Game of Thrones”. Wake the f*ck up people, put down your screens and vape pens and appletinis and realize that you not only can be the change, you are the only hope for change. It takes hard work and dedication and trying and failing and trying again but that is life, or at least it should be.
The revolution must happen because there is nothing more important than maintaining, loving and caring for this big miracle that sustains all life. If you are reading this then you probably get it but what can you do to persuade others? What will it take to get more on board?
Dee has the answer, c’mon, sing it with me, “We’re not gonna take it! No, we ain’t gonna take it! We’re not gonna take it, anymore!”
Environmental vocabulary for the revolution:
Retro Casting– Looking backwards to plan for a better future. What we should all be doing.
Transient Hypofrontality– A temporary slowing down of the prefrontal cortex. The key to flow, the place where we function best according to Steven Kotler.
Blockchained– Countries that use fossil fuels pay a fixed sum for every ton of CO2 they create. Those who sequester a ton of CO2 through reforestation or industrial means can claim this money. It incentivizes less use of fossil fuels.
BioMimicry– creating solutions to human challenges by emulating designs and ideas found in nature. Nature will heal itself if we just get the hell out of the way.
HyperUrbanization– The great urban migration. More than half the global population is urban and mega-cities are growing larger and more desperate.
Habitat Fragmentation– Disconnecting natural habitats. Building a barrier like a freeway leads to increased competition among species and more limited resources.
Agroeconomy– A nation’s agricultural economy. Next gen farmers have to do more with less (vertical farming, aquafarming).