Climate change. Work to elect or get in the streets?


Joe Romm of Climate Change responds to Bill McKibben of 350.org on what the best tactics are for reversing climate change. Should we work to elect candidates who support the cause or get into the streets with mass protests?

Holding rallies about solutions will never replace the need for actually doing the messy business of electing politicians who support tough climate laws and defeating those who oppose them. It will never stop emissions from going straight up.

Rallies certainly helped end the Vietnam War and built huge support for the Civil Rights movements. But they’re a dated and ineffective tactic now. There were huge protests against the Iraq War and nothing changed in D.C. But taking 5,10,20 years to try to elect the right candidates not only takes too long, there’s no guarantee they wouldn’t get co-opted or corrupted by our notoriously venal system.

What we need is a mass change in attitudes and ideas. Then the change will happen. All the armies in the world can not stop an idea whose time has come. How we get there, I don’t know. But working dutifully to elect candidates or protesting in the streets isn’t going to get us there.

We need all of the above tactics and powerful new ideas and approaches too.

What do you think is the best approach?