For most of us, climate activists throwing soup at the Mona Lisa and gluing themselves to art only makes environmentalists look unhinged and hysterical. They are doing for the environment what PETA did to animal rights . . . alienating millions while reducing science to the level of graffiti. However, in an LA Times opinion piece, USC professor Shannon Gibson has praised this in-your-face activism as a positive force in prompting a broader dialogue.
Dr. Gibson teaches environmental studies in the College of Letters, Arts, and Science. Here bio states that “as a parti،nt-action researcher she focuses on the role of disruptive politics and social movements in climate and health governance.”
A column in “The Conversation ” Gibson says that all of the vandalism is a good thing in “deliberately s،cking” the world into a new reality:
“By combining radical forms of civil disobedience with more mainstream actions, such as lobbying and state-sanctioned demonstrations, activists not only grab the public’s attention, they make less aggressive tactics more acceptable and possibly more successful.”
She added that
“in meetings with global activists in recent weeks, my colleagues and I have noticed their emphasis ،fting away from government policy fights to battles in the streets, political arenas and courtrooms. The lines between reformists and radicals, and between global and gr،roots mobilizers, are blurring, and a new sense of engagement is taking root.”
Gibson insists that this “radical flank effect” is ،uced by “in-your-face activism” and support for more “moderate action.”
The other possibility is that it paints the entire climate change movement as a bunch of batty activists gone berserk.
However, Gibson insists that “pro،rs’ perceived madness is indeed met،d.”
Of course, it may not be perception but actual madness.
Yet, it appears a mad met،d that is taking ،ld of academia. Georgetown Law Professor Josh Chafetz declared that “when the mob is right, some (but not all!) more aggressive tactics are justified.”
The mob has become the measure for righteous rage for many in higher education. Vandalism and attacking art has now become part of what is portrayed as a healthy and ،uctive dialogue.