Positive Protest

A few days from now, something many people are calling the most important gathering of leaders for our time will be taking place. I am referring to the Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen.

The way they are speaking, this is it: either we agree on a way to solve the problem this time or we face global catastrophe. Calls to action are becoming ever more desperate, the actions themselves are peaceful. They are the actions of people all over the world calling for a responsible reaction to what is happening to our planet. 

There were thousands of people on October 25, the 350th day of the year. Three hundred-fifty is the goal, in parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere that scientists say we can live with, without too much more turmoil caused. People held marches, vigils, deep sea dives and all kinds of events. I wrote 350 in the sand on the West Coast. I was there doing a job that includes keeping records, informing people about the weather and climate, so they can make informed and safe decisions regarding their air or water travel plans. There were six nights of thunder and lighting, something highly unusual for the West Coast in October. My solitary effort to attend and contribute to the demonstration without traveling to it, were washed away by the next high tide. I felt feeble and futile in my efforts against climate change.

I wish I’d gotten a picture, because I saw on the Internet at the 350.org website that people, by themselves on South Pacific Islands, had done the same thing. My small attempt at a demonstration did matter. We are all connected. When we join our consciousness together for positive action, great change becomes possible.

Philosophers of our time view protest as an action against; a negative thought process. I view it as an opportunity to help create the world. When I march in the street against destructive development, I am affirming my love of the ocean and land that is around me. My desire, for myself and others, is to be able to seek out and find our place within the world with respect for it.

This includes being aware. It is tempting, in the quest to keep our energy flow on a positive level and create what we wish to see in our own lives, to ignore the negativity of world news – but we need to know.

I intend to be there again, to contribute my presence to the millions, if not billions, of people who demand a solution to climate change. I do not wish to quit traveling any more than the next person, but I do intend to help create a world that is livable in the future. I want my legacy to be an environment that is every bit as good as the one I was born into. So I seek ways to make this possible, and I contribute to the mechanisms of social change that are available.


Rena Patrick is a poet and commercial fisher who lives on a sailboat on Quadra Island. She is dedicated to using her talents to create a positive future wherever she can.