This article came out the same week that the LCWO committee sat discussing how we make it clear that our new programme, ACT Now, is NOT only for veggie, car-free greenie staycationer wannabees – though of course they are very welcome to join too.
I suggested we make posters saying ‘hypocrites welcome!’, but we didn’t feel that quite sat right linguistically, as the word hypocrite is a spikey one and painful to receive. What we want to make clear, however, is that you DON’T NEED TO BE SQUEAKY GREEN, or indeed in a rush to become so, to join our ACT Now programme and take effective action on climate change. The fact is, very few of us are able to put in the time, energy and money needed to live outside the current mainstream emissions-producing system – so the word ‘hypocrite’ could be widely applied, including to me as I write this post.
At LCWO, we have worked hard on enabling West Oxford residents to make changes to their inidividual lifestyles, through participation in our Low Carbon Living and Street by Street programmes. We have also worked for system change. However, in this new programme, we will be combining the two – so providing information and support with lifestyle change, but with a real focus on deeper and wider engagement. As well as learning some new skills, accessing grants for ecorenovation and the like, we will also be empowering participants to identify their point of ‘maximum leverage’, inspired by the recent words of Bill McKibben – which you can read about here. Lifestyle change is simply not enough on its own, and so making it a prerequisite, perceived or real, to participation in addressing the climate crisis is a big mistake, and one which we wish to avoid with this programme.
Talking of Bill McKibben, I emailed him last week, along with a bunch of other trailblazers, to ask the following question, and he replied (yes, I am excited too!):
So, watch this space for information in the lead-up to the September 20th strike!
But back to that article, which I referred to as I opened this post.
Author Thomas Sinclair, an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oxford, was moved to write it by a question at an XR induction which he fielded the other day, to the effect of “I’m worried I can’t join XR because I’ll be a hypocrite”. It is a really useful and well-written piece, and basically says exactly what we at LCWO have been feeling and thinking how best to communicate. Read it here.
And as you’ll see from the first of our ACT Now programme FAQs, we feel the same:
ACT Now: ALL WEST OXFORD RESIDENTS WELCOME. Join us tonight to find out more.