Source: The Guardian
Press on for what you believe in – a young woman’s election to Congress shows climate activism can have unforeseen results
It’s hard right now to remember how hot it was last August on the long sandy beach where the Colorado River meets the Green River in southern Utah. I was a few days into a rafting trip through Cataract Canyon with a bunch of young climate activists, and one of them, Will Munger, was telling me that since his months at the Standing Rock resistance camp, he had been encountering young Native people whose experiences at the protest site had encouraged them to dream of new possibilities and take actions that might otherwise have seemed out of reach.
Wandering back and forth along the edge of the water, we began to discuss how, often, the consequences of an uprising or a movement are not linear. Success and failure are often premature measures and oversimplifications; actions, interventions and conversations change beliefs and create new values, alliances and possibilities. We’d seen this dynamic from many unanticipated uprisings and movements: the indigenous movement Idle No More that began in Canada in 2012, Black Lives Matter, the feminist insurgencies since 2013 and the anti-gun movement in the hands of the Parkland youth.
On a cold day this January, I was thinking again about that conversation as I contemplated Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s decision to run for office. “I first started considering running for Congress actually at Standing Rock in North Dakota,” she said late last year. “It was really from that crucible of activism where I saw people putting their lives on the line … for people they’ve never met and never known. When I saw that I knew that I had to do something more.”