Daily Archives: March 22, 2015

March 22, 2012 – a “flash mob” on climate change

From here: “On March 22nd, approximately 30 students met on campus at 1pm with their ipods ready. At 1:10, we pressed play simultaneously and followed the instructions on the 14 minute long mp3. The energy was high, and curious onlookers were already starting to gather.


The voice told us about the horrors of climate change while we participated in a giant shoulder massage train. Later we caused a stir in a high-traffic area on campus with 2 minutes to high five as many non-participants as possible.



And as someone once wrote about flash mobs –


Flash! Ah-ah, it’ll save every one of us. Not. Or The revolution is just a t-shirt away?

The title is ironic of course, no one thinks the latest cool tactic, that is Flash mobs, will save everyone. It’s not like spokescouncils or social forums where the advocates claimed that direct democracy was here. And before that there was tripods, there was tunnels, there was camps)

All of these attract a bit of a buzz and then become passe. By this time next year, today’s flash-mobbers will be chasing some Kewl new fad.

Flash Mobs perfect for this generation.

  • Very very low entry costs.
  • Unlikely to get nicked
  • Demands no particular forethought or preparation
  • Get to express your individuality (or collectivity) by what you wear, totally in tune with what we’re being told.
  • Capturable on your mobile phone. Youtube friendly. All ipoddy and so forth.
  • Oooh, all hip and daring to organise.

And the questions we should always be asking ourselves…
What does it achieve?
Who does it threaten? How does it force them to change their ways?
What capacity does it build among those who participate? How are the participants smarter, more able to do things in the future?
NOT all actions have to have great answers for all of the above, but my god, Flashmobs achieve so fucking little, in inverse proportion to their popularity and sexiness.

March 21st, 1994 – United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change comes into force

Ninety days after the fiftieth country ratified it, the Climate Change Convention (hammered out in 1991 and early 1992, and one of the main draws of the Rio ‘Earth Summit’) becomes a legal document.  There followed a year of intense wrangling before the first “Conference of the Parties” meeting in Berlin, chaired by one Angela Merkel.

Then followed another… twenty years of fruitless intense wrangling, while emissions climbed, concentrations climbed and temperatures edged upwards.

How long have we got? Who knows, but it’s later than you think…

There are various good accounts of the negotiations that went into making it happen.  My two favourites are –

Negotiating Climate Change; The Inside Story of the Rio Convention


The Earth Brokers: Power, Politics and World Development