I've always found myself having this affinity with punk, primarily because I wasn't like many of the kids that I grew up with. I was skinny, I couldn't dance and I don't know how to play basketball. The only thing that I can brag about myself then was my ability to play guitar, which during that time was also limited to riffs done in power chords.
A few years later, I discovered that what I was doing was the foundation of punk music theory, which I got introduced to when I first heard Greenday, The Offspring, Bad Religion, Pennywise, Rancid, NOFX and other bands in the Epitaph Records label that were fortunately released in local record stores during the mid-90s. This interest in the loud, fast and deliberately offensive genre would later expand to subsequent discoveries of earlier, seminal bands, like The Ramones, The Clash, The Sex Pistols, Crass, The Exploited and DRI, as well as watching underground punk shows around Metro Manila.
What started out as a fascination with the punk music ethos evolved into my adherence to DIY ethics, then to skateboarding and, eventually, by the time I entered college, to my introduction to activism.
For me, the punk subculture presents an alternative consciousness that extends its solidarity with people who thrive outside what the mainstream defines as “cool”. It helped me put my angsty sentiments into concrete actions that led me to finding meaning in what I do now as a part of Greenpeace. Watching Paul Simonon of The Clash and learning of his odyssey and ordeal both as a crew member of the MV Esperanza and his subsequent arrest and jail time in Greenland, because he opted to stand against Arctic oil drilling, is a challenge that confronts each one of us who ever dared to say that “another world is possible.”
And, in the middle of it all, taking action in defense of the planet also entails the willingness to risk our lives, limbs and liberty for that better world that we all hope to achieve in the near future.
Thank you, Paul, for truly reminding us that, still, “punk's not dead!”