Nelson Mandela’s Advice to Activists

88% Global WarmingThere have been many battles fought against oppression over the years. In particular, the trials, tribulations, and success of Nelson Mandela have been widely recognized and honored.  Julie Sprankles on Sheknows lists 10 life lessons we can learn from Mandela’s example.  Last week I thanked all the people who have been fighting fracking, here locally and in the world. In reading Mandela’s thoughts, I realized that they provide a guideline for anti-fracking activism.

1. Never give up. We are fighting the world’s biggest and wealthiest corporations. We need to remember that tiny grains of sand can wear away huge boulders. Let us be the sand in the gas man’s boots.

2. Learn from our failures. Get up and try again. How we handle failure reflects on our character. We get knocked down. Called names. Made fun of. Thrown in jail. We need to respond with dignity and respect. We are the righteous. Let the frackers show that they are the bullies and criminals.

3. Recognize we all have different ideas and opinions. People who are for fracking think they’ll get money and jobs. We know the data shows that to be pie-in-the-sky. So we need to find common ground – we all want a future for our children. Talk about that. What will the future be like if we frack the earth?

4. We are all in this together. Fracking will affect everyone. It is not a decision one individual can make or fight against alone. We need to join, support each other, and form active groups of support.

5. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. It isn’t easy. It takes time away from other things we want to do in our lives. Nelson Mandela spent 23 years in prison. He gave up more than his time, he gave up his family life, career, and his freedom. What will you give up to fight for our earth’s survival?

6. Knowledge is power. Study, read, and become as expert as you can. Then share that knowledge in any way you can. Learn who is on your town board. What conflicts of interest do they have? Then run for office yourself. We need good people in government. Ones who are not beholden to the gas corporations, construction firms and others who will profit on our health. Contact Carl Letson if you are willing to run for office in Broome County

7. You can do it. Sometimes it just takes putting your body in a demonstration or making a phone call to Cuomo. Everyone can do something. Some more, some less. The important thing is to do what you can.

8. Intelligence and kindness make you strong, not weak. Corporations are not people. They have no feelings. We need to show these companies that we do. Let’s start by helping each other. Send money to help fund water buffalos for the families whose water was polluted by fracking: Franklin Forks, December 16th: WPX will take water buffaloes from three families with contaminated water. A solidarity action is planned. An emergency injunction on the county level is being filed. Donations are desperately needed. Click here.

9. Color is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter who we are, where we live, the gas corporations are fracking the earth. Take a look at these images from around the world. In New Brunswick they are attacking the Native Americans who object to drilling their reservations lands  – something that has not been reported here in the USA. Let’s stand with them and people everywhere.

10. Love always wins. We are doing this because we love our children and our grandchildren and our Mother Earth. There is no planet B and no way to clean up the earth once it’s fracked! The aptly named Love Canal should have been enough of a lesson for us all.

I know so many of you are already doing this. Keep it up.

Call Cuomo and say no fracking in NY 866-584-6799

Sign up for the State of the State Rally in Albany January 8th

Food and Water Watch

Citizen Action




About joan koster

Joan Koster writes historical fiction about forgotten women. She is currently working on a novel about abolition and woman's rights during the Civil War.
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