Friday, August 28, 2009

Raising Awareness

I hate this phrase. I was watching an interview with someone associated with the 'climate camp' thing earlier on and she used it about four times in one minute. The best part was when she said that their aim was to "raise awareness of climate change and what we, at climate camp, are doing about it".

Firstly, informing the public about climate change is a task better done by the scientists that have been studying it for decades, not a bunch of humanities students whose awareness of it consists of the knowledge that it is a 'bad thing'. When it is coopted into the agenda of a radical political movement, especially one that does very little to endear itself to the generally self-interested population, it makes the task harder for those politicians trying to achieve some sort of workable consensus on the issue. I think for a lot of people over here the 'climate camp' movement is like the cocky little kid who shouts "yeah, you fuckin' walk away!" moments after you've decided they aren't worth the trouble of a fight -- it brings out a contrarian streak that makes you do what you'd decided you didn't want to do. The lesson is that while this may give you a temporary feeling of satisfaction, you'll find yourself standing, sheepish and scared, in front of the headteacher soon enough.

The other thing is my continuing dislike of pointless gestures. One day I'll try and figure out the exact mental criteria I have for the boundary between protest, activism, and utterly pointless gestures, but for now I'll just note this rule -- If you say your intention is to Raise Awareness, then chances are that what you're doing is a pointless gesture.