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Nope, We STILL Don’t Get to Give Up
By Mary Annaïse Heglar
Back in January, when we got to go places and do things, I moderated a climate justice panel with impressive women of color to a very fancy crowd in downtown Manhattan. It was one of those events with wine and snacks and even lots of art. I could tell that lots of the ladies, and it was mostly ladies, in the crowd were those that “lunched” and “summered.” I even got a very fancy vintage dress out of the whole ordeal.
Anyway, it all fell apart when an old white man took advantage of the question and answer period to lecture us all on how everything we were doing about climate change was wrong (after admitting that he himself had done it all wrong for 30 years). That, somehow, led to a white woman responding to him to announce that unless Trump is removed from office, it was all hopeless and we might as well give up. While I agreed with her that removing Trump was of paramount importance, I reject the idea that “giving up” is ever an option. She stormed out and I moved the panel on.
I regret nothing.
I bring this story up now because it’s truer now that it’s ever been: we do not get to give up. No matter who wins which election. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever. It might get harder, costlier, scarier. It doesn’t matter.
Regardless of who the next president is, the work is just getting started. Rest if you need to, but then roll up your sleeves. Do what you can and then go do something else. In between, take care of yourself and take care of each other. We’re in this and we’re in it together.
By Mary Annaïse Heglar and Amy Westervelt
Something beautiful happened on Twitter yesterday: Shell got called out on their greenwashing bullshit with a magnificent ratio. They thought they were gonna roll out their little “Energy Debate” campaign with no push back and wound up getting trolled to hell and back by such greats as AOC and Greta Thunberg and Anand Giridharadas. They even had to hide some of the replies. Just like a little bitch.
Us being the petty bitches we are, this was one of the most hopeful moments of 2020, and we’re grateful it came on the eve of the election. We know a Twitter dragging might look like “slacktivism,” but keep in mind that social license is a huge deal to oil companies, so getting massively ratioed tells them that license is evaporating. Twitter is a huge arena. Even if most human beings aren’t on it, what happens there is news. And it’s important that oil companies aren’t able to greenwash on Twitter uncontested. Shell shouldn’t get to set the whole world on fire and then waltz onto social media like shit is sweet.
We also know from various internal documents from Shell (and Exxon, BP, and Chevron too) that they worry about exactly this kind of thing. In fact in the late 90s, Shell predicted that oil companies' decision—yes, never forget that they made a conscious decision—to drive the world away from climate action would come back to bite them in the form of lawsuits and social protest. Well guess what bitches, the future is here.
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