Today is three days after I had yet another life changing event happen to me personally that only reinforced the direction my life was already on.
The controversy surrounding the impending release of my new film, the lawsuits, the accusations, and the finger pointing has accelerated a conversation I was hoping to start in the first place. So this is good, not necessarily for me, but for the movement in question. I do not pretend to speak for the eco movement as others do, but I do speak for me, and I have about as much experience in this field as anyone, so here goes!
The conversation is: with 390 billion dollars being spent in 2016 on environmental causes alone, are we really accomplishing anything? Great media and pretty pictures for sure, but this is serious money folks, and where is it going? Lawyers, fund-raisers, lobbyists, politicians? Yes. I realize that many more good hearted individuals are employed in green employment every year, and we all get to feel good saving the earth, but are the seas getting any better? Is the present strategy of bigger and better working? I say no.
Back in the day while Captain Watson was bad mouthing Greenpeace, and Greenpeace was calling us terrorists… When asked, I would say that every single one of the activists I meet on the front lines actually putting their tails where their mouths are, are all the same. We don’t give a stuff about groups… We fought the fight because it was the right thing to do while the bureaucrats ate expensive dinners, rented helicopters for photo shoots, and bragged about how much good “the public’s” money was doing… This is upside down!
I have observed this time and time again during my 40 years of front line eco-activism. I often spoke out against it, but being a mere volunteer, no one listened. Today we earthlings are approaching an extinction cliff… Time is becoming critical and we now more then ever need to really look hard at our selves as dedicated individuals, not sheep. We need to get past all the cult hero worship and corporate logos, and get back to what is important… the oceans.
Governments and corporations are the problem, and if we become them by putting corporate brands, government deals, and assets ahead of the mission, we have lost already. Individuals change things and we must now stand up as individuals with our money and take the actions the brave eco-corporations refuse to do. If they continue to refuse, it is they who will become irrelevant.
This became all the more clear Monday night. As I was tossing my young grand children into a van and escaping the “Thomas Fire” in Ventura a mere few hundreds yards from a 100 foot high wall of flame racing toward us at what the fire department estimates… at a football field every second… “breathe Peter”… Numerous humans, neighbors that I didn’t know were there helping one another out. It was the worst of what you saw on TV… This night, they were all in, and although property was lost, we all survived. Now this was my daughter’s house, and I was only visiting while cleaning up my present legal mess in Los Angeles, but I had heard many of these people really didn’t like one another. They had past battles over property lines and water rights, etc. I had heard fences went up and nobody talked much. But Monday night, faced with a crisis of unbelievable proportions, they all chipped in helping others they didn’t even know while as their own houses burned. By morning as the fire was making International news, everyone in this community had lost something.
After my family was safe, only then did I go back in to not only try to save what I could from my daughter’s house, but more importantly to help the others who were there for me the night before. We can all learn from this:
THIS IS WHAT ALL ACTIVISTS SHOULD DO! Forget the minor BS battles over territory or bragging rights. Drop all the pretensions and demand that your organizations grow up. Solve problems, not create dramas. Much like facing that fire was to a small group of strangers on a local scale, the impending collapse of our eco-systems world-wide is to all humanity on a large scale. WE ARE FACING THE 100 foot WALL OF EXTINCTION… and it’s coming a football field a second… Wake up and be pro-active.
We survived that night through co-operation, and a common cause. If eco-corporations continue their childish rivalries, we should dump them all and start again. We don’t need eco-corporations and fancy uniforms… we need grassroots activism.
I have lost little compared to what the earth loses every second. Let’s act now while there is still some bio-diversity and wilderness left. Focus on the bad guys, not those of us fighting for the same cause. I might never again agree with the Sea Shepherd Society, a group I have been involved with for many years, but I will support their positive individual efforts in the field.
Every individual needs to look inside him or herself and make their own decision. I have made mine. I hope you will join me, it is our future too.