Money warps politics – Fighting it with Creativity and People Power

Editor’s Note:  This video is a good social messaging tip because you can see how Bill McKibben, author and environmentalist, uses young people to make change, uses humor, uses audience engagement. can teach all empowerment movements some lessons from how they work.

Although climate change is not the focus on Wellness Wordworks, it has the same root causes and perpetuating factors as the worst problems in the mental health care system. In all cases, large, powerful corporations are making money off doing things in a way that hurts small, non-influential  In the language of the Occupy movement, the 1% benefit by doing things that harm the 99%.

This is a powerful speech from Powershift, a youth conference hosted by, the biggest political movement in the history of our planet. the number 350 was chosen because Arabic numbers have meaning in almost all languages, and it represent the 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere that is the upper limit before we start causes permanent changes to our planet. We are already past this.

With climate change, the more people know, the more scared they are. Mental health is often the same way. If the listen to the disease model advocates, you more you know, the scarier the illness is.  For those of us who know about complete recovery through exiting the mental health system, the more we know, the scarier it is for us when friends we see getting sucked into it. We have the same exact need and urgency to create a shift in power.

Quotes from Bill McKibben’s keynote address at Power Shift 2011

Bill McKibben

Bill McKibben

“Money warps our political life.  It obscures our vision, but just like with physics and chemistry, there’s no use whining. We know what we need to do.

The first thing we need to do is build a movement. We will never have as much money as the oil companies, so we need a different currency to work in.  We need bodies, we need creativity, we need spirit.

We cannot stop their money, but we can strip them of their credibility.

I know that persuasion alone will not do. We need to fight non-violently and with civil disobedience.  But one thing that you need to make sure, the one thing that you need to get across, is that you are not the radicals in this fight. The radicals are the people that are fundamentally altering the composition of our atmosphere. That is the most radical thing that people have ever done.

We need to fight with art and music, too. Not just the side of our brain that like bar graphs and pie charts, but with all of our brains and all of our souls.

We need to fight with unity. We need to have a coherent voice. We need to speak with one loud voice. We fighting for your future.  We fight alongside our brothers and sisters around the world.

Most of the people that we work with around the world are poor, and black, and brown, and Asian and young, because that’s what most of the world is made up of.   They care about the future as much as anyone else.

The only thing that a morally awake person can do when the worst thing  that can happen is happening, is to try to change those odds.”

What should our system change movement learn from Bill McKibben?

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