CULTURE | Integrated Activism: Applying the Hidden Connections between Ecology, Economics, Politics, and Social Progress
In his new book, Integrated Activism, author Alexis Zeigler explores how peak oil, climate change, and the limits of growth affect our civil liberties. Most activist movements suffer from a kind of tunnel vision in which the true causes and resulting side effects of the desired change are left unexamined—rendering the movements shortsighted and unaware of their own long-term fallout. We cannot effectively address our problems in isolation. Instead we must ‘integrate’ our activism and ensure that all strategies and actions take into account the fact that a society’s environmental resources ultimately define its level of freedom, fairness, and financial equity.
In discussing the importance of taking power into our own hands for effective grassroots activism, Zeigler writes:
Inasmuch as we surrender agency to our leadership, we remove it from ourselves. We think we have to convince our leaders to pass the right laws, or establish correct policy. When they don’t, we think we have failed as a social movement. In terms of addressing our environmental crisis, the only power that matters is the power we already possess. There is no way the politicians could legislate a sustainable economy even if they wanted to, whereas we are fully empowered to create it from the grassroots. The politics of unraveling economic polarization cannot reasonably be called simple, but the methods are. It is time we stepped outside of the taboos we have inherited. It is time we look at our own circumstance in a rational and compassionate manner and reclaim the agency that is ours, not theirs. Instead of leaving our palms open in obeisance to the self-appointed gods of history, we simply have to close our fingers around the power that already lies in our hands.
For more on how to build a freer, fairer, more sustainable future, check out Integrated Activism by Alexis Zeigler.