Lately, I’ve thought of people who say they can’t avoid plastic bags, bottles, flying. I suggest just declining, but they say they can’t. Saying no reminds me of Rosa Parks.
She said no. She didn’t just act on her own as the campaign was planned and strategized, but she did it. She was arrested, which no one will be for declining a water bottle.
Why do we honor someone if not to follow when the chips are down? Why remember her if when we feel it’s right to say no, we don’t?
Her actions also suggest that even when many people agree and want to act, a spark helps. It seems everyone wants cleaner air, land, and water. As long as everyone thinks, “If I act but no one else does then what I do doesn’t matter,” everyone keeps sleepwalking, keeping polluting.
She was a leader who accepted her fate of arrest, risking more in context of activists being lynched and killed. We have it easy in comparison. We can say no and lead others at no risk.
Also like her, saying no is the beginning or a big escalation. For her it escalated the civil rights movement, including leading to federal legislation of the civil rights acts in the next decade. For you it will lead to polluting less in more parts of your life, living cleaner, and almost certainly federal legislation.
Between mindlessly sleepwalking through a polluting life and leading others to pollute less and live more cleanly, which side of history do you want to be on?
Read the transcript.