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Why Are YOU Fighting?

Activist and author Naomi Klein tells a story about the time she traveled to Australia at the request of Aboriginal elders. They wanted her to know about their struggle to prevent white people from dumping radioactive wastes on their land.

Her hosts brought her to their beloved wilderness, where they camped under the stars. They showed her "secret sources of fresh water, plants used for bush medicines, hidden eucalyptus-lined rivers where the kangaroos come to drink."

After three days, Klein grew restless. When were they going to get down to business? "Before you can fight," she was told, "you have to know what you are fighting for."


In the late 1990s, environmental activist Julia Butterfly Hill spent two years living in a redwood tree she named "Luna." Her goal was to save it from being cut down by a logging company. She succeeded both literally and mythically. Luna was spared from death, as was a surrounding three-acre swath of trees. Hill became an inspiring symbol of artful, compassionate protest.

Later she told Benjamin Tong in the DVD The Taoist and the Activist: "So often activism is based on what we are against, what we don't like, what we don't want. And yet we manifest what we focus on. And so we are manifesting yet ever more of what we don't want, what we don't like, what we want to change. So for me, activism is about a spiritual practice as a way of life. And I realized I didn't climb the tree because I was angry at the corporations and the government; I climbed the tree because when I fell in love with the redwoods, I fell in love with the world. So it is my feeling of 'connection' that drives me, instead of my anger and feelings of being disconnected."


(excerpted from the revised and expanded edition of Pronoia Is the Antidote for Paranoia)
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