Let’s start with disclosure - I work for an NGO, and one known for its activism, but what I’m about to say is all me (is that enough for the legal eagles? I’ll presume so and move on).
Now, did you know yesterday was “350" day for climate change? Or that last week there was an #RUOk day campaign on for mental health? Or two weeks ago there was a sit-in by mothers in a Coles supermarket in Melbourne to protest nasty ingredients in baby food? More than that, did you participate in any? I didn’t, and I’m what I would consider an activist.
I sign petitions. I turn all the switches off for Earth Day. I saw An Inconvenient Truth. I have marched and held banners and slept out in the cold and sponsored a child and hell, even wandered off to the other side of the world to work in a developing country as a volunteer.
I still get all choked up when I watch footage of the lone man in Tienanmen Square who stood up to the tanks, or read about the crumbling of the Berlin Wall. I love the sight and the sound and the spirit in the air when people come together for a cause, speak out, stand up, be counted, and demand change.
But lately, I’ve been feeling a little lack-lustre, and with the decreasing numbers of people taking to the streets to visibly participate in “causes” both in Australia and around much of the world, I can’t help but wonder - is the internet to blame?
Are all these online petitions and e-mails from NGOs and tweets and facebook updates and blogs and their comments and you-tube videos and flickr uploads and on and on exhausting us to the point where we prefer to spend our Saturday morning’s strolling around, head firmly in the clouds, in a bid to escape the causes which are constantly shoved in front of our faces, into our inboxes, and in nifty little campaigns that suck us in long enough to watch 90 seconds on how YOU can end [insert worthy cause here]!!!!
I worry about this.
As someone who truly believes you can save a life, and make a positive difference as one person, and that we should all try and “be the change” we want to see, I hope this isn’t true.
Over at Political Dynamite, a new blog dedicated to the world of activism, they suggest there are different reasons (namely that NGOs have gone soft following a period of sympathetic governments they’re not enemies with), and while I think this is probably part of it, I wonder…
I wonder, and I worry, that it might be a bit simpler than that. But I don’t know for sure.
Why aren’t you out on the streets fighting for the changes you want to see anymore? Have we all got a case of internet-cause fatigue?