Introducing Paddle Now

Blog 174.

“Every Kiwi should take up a paddle.”

Khakispecs will continue as a blog commenting primarily on global affairs. Its postings will probably become more intermittent and a selection of guest authors will be featured, but its main function will continue to be that of an observer. Social activism will be directed through a new organisation which will be represented by a website, and a Facebook page, both of which are currently being finalised.

Why the name? We should all be alert to the impending climate change and the ever increasing potential of high-tech warfare to destroy our communities (and possibly, even our species.)

Humanity’s situation is as on a ramshackle raft being sucked inexorably towards the thundering falls ahead. The nations of the Earth are seated around the four sides of the raft and each paddling in the direction indicated by the side of the raft they are seated on. Thus the raft revolves endlessly and history repeats itself – while the thunder grows ever louder in the ears of the hapless passengers and their crew.

The governments of nation states, as presently constituted, unless forced by a massive mobilisation and the ardent advocacy of their citizens, will never manage to escape the cycle. Only an international coordination of organised activists will ever mobilise international public opinion to the point where the nations cooperate to get the raft to a safe bank of the river upstream from the looming disaster.

In the meantime, the uncoordinated efforts of individual citizens in sundry countries, who pick up a paddle and work to move their political masters towards multi-lateralism and to reduce their own drag on the vessel, should not be denigrated. Such individual efforts serve to gain our global civilisation some breathing space. However, without an internationally coordinated effort, they will not save the situation.

The Paddle Now campaign’s opening intention will be to inspire as many Kiwis as possible to become politically aware and active. The requirement is for committed allies, already, or willing to become, members of active local, national or international groups involved in progressive, social activities (NGO’s, environmental groups, etc.)

For those wishing to become involved, as good a place to start as anywhere is with one of Action Stations’ campaigns For other ideas: the NZ Citizens Advice Bureau maintains a directory of over 35,000 civil society organisations and groups. Those in search of international groups to join could well visit Paul Hawkens’ inspired or the NGO database to gain an insight into the bewildering choice of organisations active in this field.

It is every thinking person’s duty to future generations and to all life on planet Earth, to become an activist at whatever level their individual circumstances and personal interests allow.

Personally, I have joined four such groups in which I might hope to become active. The first, with its obvious potential to exert influence at the highest level of international decision-making, is the United Nations Association of New Zealand (UNA NZ.) (Currently this appears to be a seemingly moribund institution in need of an urgent wake-up call from its members.)

My second choice was Climate Karanga Marlborough (CKM.) a small group of informed activists close to my home. They are acting locally to prepare our small community for the coming climate ordeal and commit it to doing whatever is possible to delay its onset.

My third choice was to join the New Zealand Palestine Solidarity Network. Having worked in the Middle East (and being of Jewish descent on my mother’s side) not only do I have immense sympathy for the suffering inflicted on the Palestinians by their Israeli occupiers, but I also regard Israel as the most egregious opponent of the United Nations Organisation and the rule of international law, which it is determined not to abide by.

I also joined Global Citizen – highly recommended for people interested in ending global poverty and, for those interested, an opportunity to attend some awesome gigs!

The Paddle Campaign’s goal will be to persuade as many organisations as possible to pull in the direction of global harmony as indicated in the action plan. (See Blogs 173 and 171.)

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