Another speech I’ll never give (this to a climate rally). I think there’s something a bit pathetic and sinister about writing speeches you’re never gonna give. This is the second one I’ve done in a week, and I’m gonna stop now…
Thank you for coming. It matters that you are here. I invite you to applaud the organisers of this event,
look around you – applaud yourselves and all the people around you- who have come,
and finally – and loudest of all so they can hear us – all those people who wanted to be here but – for whatever reasons – couldn’t be here. Let us applaud our absent friends!
(hopefully people applaud!)
I’m trying something a little bit different today. We are always asking our governments and the corporations and the institutions to act differently in the face of climate change. I think that means we have to do things a little differently too. So this is not so much a speech as a series of challenges to you. What I’m trying is to ask you a bunch of questions. I’m cheating a bit, because I think and hope I know some of your answers in advance. I want you to yell. I want everyone to be able to hear your answers.
So my first big question is why are you here?
Are you here to say “YES” to climate action?
Are you here to show you care?
Are you to display this wonderful movement’s strength?
What’s your answer?
(Hopefully a shout of “YES”)
Good. And I hope you’re here for hope, energy, passion, and ideas. Those exist in you and in the heads and hearts of everyone around you. After the rally, please stay a while and talk to others about what you are doing, what you want to do.
My second big question is this:
Is coming here to this wonderful rally enough?
Do you think that the campaigning groups you belong to only need your money and not your energy and ideas and time?
Do you trust corporations to act in our best interests?
Can we let the government take it from here?
(Hopefully shouts of “No”!)
That’s right. We are the ones we have been waiting for. Nobody else can do this. Not the state – it’s too clumsy, like an elephant tapdancing. Not our children – they won’t have time. There is no future but the one WE make. That WE make.
So my next big question is this.
Will you do more about climate change?
Will you go from this rally and today – yes, today – contact your councillors, your members of parliament and demand they say where they stand, and why they stand there, on this issue? Will you phone them? Will you write letters to them? Will you email them? Today?
(hopefully folks are yelling yes by this stage?)
OK, remember your answer to the “can we let the government take it from here” question? What was it? Remind me- can we let government take it from here?
So is that pressure you’ve promised – today – on your elected representatives enough?
(Hopefully shouts of “No”)
Then the big question is this; will you do more than that? Do you publicly commit, here and now, to doing more?
(Hopefully shouts of “Yes”)
You have the power. You have more power than them. If you will use it. We need climate groups on every street of every suburb of every town and city across this country. Groups that grow in numbers and knowledge and power. Groups that learn from both defeat and victory. Groups that organise in factories, schools, mosques, churches, and sports clubs. Groups that win small victories, and then use that momentum to win again and again, bigger and quicker, bigger and quicker.
Look around you. Look at all these other people who have come here today. They have abilities you need. You have time and energy and enthusiasm that they need. We can’t all be experts on everything. We need to learn about different pieces of the climate puzzle. Each of us needs to find something we can do, we want to do. Whether it’s about food, or energy, or transport, or simply climate justice. We each of us need to learn about that issue we choose. We need to build networks and knowledge and pressure. People here today can help you do that.
So my final question.
Do we need a bigger climate movement?
Will you encourage your friends to get involved in this adventure?
Will you get your family involved in this urgent venture?
Will you talk with people where you work, where you worship?
Do you say yes?
And the 2011 dumbagogue award goes to (drumroll please…) Dwight Towers.
If any of this is of any use to anyone reading, please, go ahead and steal it. You don’t have to acknowledge where you got it. Screw that, just use it, adapt it.
If you think this speech is a crock of shit, please write in and say why (unless you’re coming from a climate troll position of course).