You’re an Activist, Big Wow

At the dawn of the new year the British media decided that the SoCalGas leak in Aliso Canyon LA qualified as big enough news to permit a moderate level of broadcasting. The stories that followed focused almost solely on the evacuation of thousands of local residents who suffered from nausea, vomiting, nosebleeds and various other ailments, due to high levels of air-bound pollutants. Unquestionably, this widespread degradation of well-being was alone worthy of headline news. Yet, nearly all of the reports were overly anthropocentric and failed to paint a full picture of the disaster.

In response, alongside a multitude of others fully aware of the media’s inability (or sheer reluctance) to properly inform, I wrote to the BBC and engaged with social media to educate people on the wider scope of problems related to the leak, concerning global warming.

(To note some key points, the leak officially lasted 110 days – though probably began well before it was reported  spewing up to 1,300 metric tonnes of methane into the atmosphere per day. In total, upwards of 96,000 metric tonnes are predicted to have been emitted between October 23rd and February 11th. Is that a lot? Most definitely. Whilst methane escapes the atmosphere faster than CO2, the damage it causes to the climate in the meantime is, for it’s first two decades at least, 84 times more calamitous. Comparatively speaking, the amount of methane released equates to roughly 8,000,000 metric tonnes of CO2, or the burning of 900,000,000 gallons of gasoline).

Subsequently the BBC expanded their story, stating that activists held the leak to be comparable, in terms of environmental damage, to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010.  

At the time I took this rather personally. I felt slightly disenchanted. It wasn’t the lack of calculated journalism that peeved me the most. Instead, I found myself somewhat insulted by this notion of activism, but I couldn’t quite figure out why. Was I an activist?

Having mulled over it for some considerable time here’s what I have come to believe: Activism is heavily weighted down with negative connotations. It has an image problem. When imagining the stereotypical activist one pictures an eccentric, badly-dressed hippy-like character with contentious and overbearing social qualities. A vegan, clad in hand-me-downs. A militant idealist. An inconvenience on daily living. Big wow. Tell me something I don’t know.

But, and maybe only subconsciously, most people don’t want to be affiliated with that image. Affiliations with activists or persons with alternative ideals tend to impede upon our aspirations. That’s because the truths that they reveal can be extremely threatening and touch the core of how we understand and navigate the world. Moreover, affiliations can mould the way in which the world understands us. You see, opportunities are gained as a consequence of the impressions we inspire. Creating good impressions generates opportunities. The converse diminishes them. 

So, ultimately, I was insulted because of an unnecessary fear. I was subconsciously afraid of affiliation. That fear caused me to hold an unconscious bias. A prejudice, I believe, no sufficiently moral person ought to have.

There may appear to be a simple cure for this unwanted affiliation: Stop campaigning. Stop promoting ideals. Or, in my case, stop attempting to inform people on the full extent of damages caused by the SoCalGas leak and other such issues. Ultimately, stop being an activist. But no one should ever let their fear of unwanted affiliation negate their moral beliefs. For that’s all activism is. In its purest form, activism just is acting to promote a world consistent with ones moral beliefs. So if you fail to champion your morals through fear of being affiliated with those associated with a stereotype which conflicts with your ulterior desires, whom at the same time share your moral beliefs, you are a hypocrite unto yourself. You favour your ulterior desires over your morals. Your life is, by your own account of right and wrong, immoral.

Hence, we ought not to avoid activism simply because of the stereotypes it carries. Activism comes in many forms. It’s performed by all types of people. The stereotypes are just that – stereotypes. We ought to make activism what we want it to be. Give it the image we want it to have. Dare to challenge the stereotype. And don’t let unwanted affiliations deter us from promoting what’s right.

Am I an activist? I suppose I am. But shame on those who aren’t.

A.C. Stark



26 responses to “You’re an Activist, Big Wow”

  1. 👏👏👏👏


  2. Carol Donaldson Avatar
    Carol Donaldson

    Hi A C Stark. Thanks for following my blog. You sound like an ace guy and when you stir up a storm from an article you know that you are getting through. Bring it on.


  3. Reblogged this on Peddling Fiction.


  4. Thank you for following my blog. Also thank you for a well written response to being called an activist. Personally, I get more than a little suspicious when the best response someone can come up with is name calling and disrespectful dismissal.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I salute you together with this article. I myself, before, was hesitant to get.involve into the social issues that lingers in our place here in the Philippines. Often, people who are involve into being critical to social issues are tagged as activist or Communist. But, I realise there is a big difference of concern and activism. I am not anymore afraid of whatever they label me. I am more afraid of not doing my moral obligation towards my fellow human and opting for a preferential option for the poor. I salute to those who make a difference by not compromising once moral obligation to humanity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bravo Allan. Keep it up and hopefully others may follow.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Please can you cite a single piece if hard, reproducible, empirical scientific evidence that man’s activities have had any significant effect on the climate.



    1. Just ask the entire scientific community (or at least those that aren’t backward or bought). Whether or not our activities have acted as a catalyst for climate change is not a debate much had anymore, and for good reason.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And yet you cant cite a single piece of credible, empirical, reproducible scientific evidence to support your claim that Mans activities have had any significant effect on the climate.

        This is not surprising, since none exists.

        Why do you believe that claims of manmade climate change should held to a lower standard of scientific evidence than other hard science clams?

        And why are you comfortable to offer, as your only support for your manmade climate change claim, the “evidence” that nobody is debating it any more? Doesn’t that feel to you like very thin and circular reasoning?


      2. Thanks for the link to the NASA “climate change” site.

        Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer a single piece of reproducible, empirical hard scientific evidence that man’s activities have had any significant effect on the climate.

        What it purports to offer is an inductive argument based on correlation, data provided by a political, not scientific, organization that is known to be corrupt (the IPCC) and some pretty picture.

        Do you understand what empirical and reproducible mean, scientifically speaking?

        Feldman put out a paper (January 2015 in Science, I believe), that Warmists touted (for about two minutes) as being the empirical “missing link” between man’s activities and alleged climate change. Of course, Feldman’s methodology was found to be flawed, and it was noted that even Feldman didn’t claim his study was the missing link that the mass media and other Warmist apologists claimed it was. So, now we don’t hear much about it.

        But, in principle, that’s the kind of evidence that a scientist needs to provide when making a hard science claim.

        Do you have any of that you can cite?

        Or are you happy proceeding on faith in the openly corrupt IPCC alone?


      3. The IPCC is corrupt, huh?

        You give NASA and multiple other institutions little credit if you think they’d cite questionable data. If you want science to be both sound and complete, you better stop believing in it altogether.

        Again I urge you to widen the scope of the literature you read. As someone who has lived and worked both a city and an activists life style I have seen and experienced both sides of the fence. I have studied both sides of the fence. Your steadfastness does nothing but show your ignorance.

        Here’s something else for you to read:

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Les,

      There’s another way of looking at this. (And immediately let me say that I have no doubt that ACD is real and the science if real.)

      But here’s the other way of answering your question.

      In the world of aviation, especially commercial aviation, there’s a saying that goes to the heart of the wonderful standards of safety maintained by this industry. The saying is: “If there’s any doubt, there’s no doubt.” In other words, if there is the slightest hint of something that could threaten the safety of the aircraft and all on board then let’s get it on the ground asap.

      If ACD is some sort of scientific mistake then we will know that soon; possibly within 5 years. In the meantime, we should do everything in our power NOW to reduce the impact of humans just in case you are WRONG!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The “chicken soup” argument you make (“Won’t hurt but might help”) is spurious, since it assumes that the measures to combat a non-existent (call it “possible” if you like) AGW threat to Humanity are neutral. They’re not.

        The measures you’re referring to amount to permanent, anti-democratic, global, geo-political re-engineering.

        The technical term for the argument you offer is the “precautionary principal.” It is not a hard science claim. It is political policy based on arbitrary political responses to vague and manufactured (non) threats. It’s an entirely unsupportable UN tool, since it doesn’t come with any natural parameters. The aviation example you use has parameters, since it has a very limited application.

        But what parameters are there to the application of political measures to “save the world” from a “possible” existential threat that isn’t even supported by hard science? There is none. What there is, is “sustainability” politics and scare mongering, in which the world is being pushed into accepting first UN Agenda 21, and, now, it’s 2030 update, bolstered by the Paris political agreements.

        These measures openly state that they want to control everything — yes, everything — that Mankind does in the cause of saving the planet.

        Why aren’t you asking yourself why there is such a tortuous road from an allegedly hard science claim to a non-science, political “solution”?

        And, if you truly believe that five more years of the climate “scientists” being proven wrong is going to make any difference, then I wonder who you explain why the past 20 years of the climate “scientists” being wrong has only engendered more political abominations in the name of science.

        Clearly, the manmade climate change argument is not prone to the ordinary imperatives of other hard science claims.

        To anyone who believes in the utilitarian value of empirical science, as I do, the lack of such support for the AGW claim amounts to a dispositive and fatal argument against Warmism and to the ugly, banker-created -funded ideology behind it.


      2. Les, your reply to mine is a rational and comprehensive reply. All I can offer is that if you don’t believe the science of AGW you are free to so do. Nature will deliver the truth about AGW soon. If the change in climate is entirely natural, as in not influenced by man’s activities, then I would be the first to say I was wrong. Indeed, would be very happy to be proven wrong.


  7. A.C. Thanks so much for the follow! Your blog is terrific and I’m looking forward to reading the whole thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just love this post. I woke up one day as well and said, gee, I’m an activist. Looking for a better word, though. Activator?


  8. […] Source: You’re an Activist, Big Wow […]


    1. Atongnat, thank you so much for linking to my post. You’re words are great, I assure you!


  9. Interesting post. I agree that we all (or most of us) have some fear of being an activist. I think activism still isn’t “cool”-even for us who are past the adolescent stage and don’t really care about what’s “cool” or not, activism still is something that separates us from the group (i.e. the rest of society), and maybe that’s the scary part. Even the BBC article you mention says that “activists held the leak to be comparable…” Although that could be viewed as an objective statement, I do read it as somewhat categorizing activists as an “other” group that “holds” (i.e. argues or asserts a debatable point) a position-it’s not the kind of reporting they would do if they understood or cared about the climate impact of the leak, in which case they would just present it as factual scientific impacts of the leak. So yes, maybe activists have an image problem, or maybe it’s just inherent in human nature to categorize as “other” anyone who is alarmist. And yes, I agree with your last point we should all be activists on some things-it takes a lot of doing (rather than just talking or thinking) but it’s worth it to take the step.


  10. Love this sentiment! Goes along nicely with an inspirational TED talk I discovered today that I think you might enjoy as well:


    1. Thanks for that. What a fantastic thought. Very pleased you shared this.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Dropped in here to offer my thanks for your recent decision to follow Learning from Dogs. Love what you are writing and hope you might consider a guest post for LfD at some point.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A good little read. Thanks, Claire.


  12. None of us are distallable into succinct categories. If someone calls you “activist”, take it as a sign that you’ve pointed out something they don’t understand, would like to control, or would like to ignore. I think it’s sort of s compliment.

    Liked by 1 person

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