It was already 4AM when I was finally able to get myself to bed.
We had a very long day.
Yet, somehow I found it quite difficult to sleep.
It has been a long time since I’ve been to a do-it-yourself (DIY) show (not to mention perform in one) and this week I was able to go to two shows in two consecutive days and in both shows I was able to give a talk about Greenpeace’s call for an Energy [R]evolution which offers a sustainable path to quit dirty, dangerous fuels by transitioning to renewable energy and energy efficiency.
As I rested my head on my pillow I found it hard to fall asleep, so I took out the copy of a fanzine that I bought at the gig San Pablo, Laguna and read it from cover to cover.
Thinking about it now I came to realize that the whole ordeal struck a sentimental chord in more ways than one.
For starters, the experience of going to Oi Attack and Earth Decay brought me back to a time that I’ve long since thought that I have outgrown.
For a time now, there’s that nagging feeling that I have that somehow I’ve been hardened and in a way ‘dehumanized’ by my commitment to my work. I mean. I am not alone in feeling so consumed with the colossal enterprise of Greenpeace’s vision of a greener and peaceful future that I become detached to so many things.
Being there reminded me of that time of ‘innocence’ and ‘discontent’ when I was in the process of being acquainted with counter-culture, activism (and all the ideological ‘isms’ that come along with it) and post adolescent angst that is borne out of dissatisfaction with the way things are. The experience brought me to back to that brave period of discovery which in a way determined the person I am now upon which rock music, art, skateboarding and the poetry of zines played a major role.
In a sense, I believe such experiences are important for activists (environmental or not) because it grounds us back to our roots. It prompts us again to put our grand struggles into our personal context –to the things that we hold dear –to the things that matter most for us –to the things in our lives that is endangered by the enormous threat of extinction that we face in the midst of climate change.
My two days of engagement with the skaters, scensters, zinesters, metal heads, indie geeks, emo nerds, oi skins, nasty crusties`, hardcore sXers, and punk rockers, reminded me of the potential of counter-cultural niches in the decentralized struggle for taking back the earth. Their adherence to DIY fits well with Greenpeace’s rallying cry for an Energy [R]evolution as it is also a revolution that calls for a ground-breaking way to use, produce and distribute energy from non-fossil fuel based sources –thus it is also a revolution that seeks to pave the way to a liberated approach in production, distribution and consumption which puts equity first over profit.
Moreover, counter-cultural movements have an immense potential in paving the way for climate action. Because in itself it is already a voice from the margins, as it stands in the cultural fringe on what has been conceived as ‘cool’ by the status quo.
It is a movement borne out of discontent and it is a movement that seeksreinvention it is about cutting out the middle man, which is a timely reminder for climate activists to reclaim the radical in their respective struggles because as far as climate change is concerned when all is said and done it is about how ambitious one responds to growing awareness on the imperatives for a global energy future which marks a distinct departure from past trends and patterns of energy production and use especially with the knowledge that the people and things we hold dear are at stake.
As a fitting post script to this blog post I believe that giving thanks for those who helped in this realization is in order:
Oi Attack: Thanks goes to Merck, who came up with the idea of getting onboard our Energy [R]evolution campaign after our breif encounter at the Punk Lives reuinion gig of the seminal punk band Betrayed, fellow Greenpeacers: Ten for facilitating our participation in Oi Attack and to Jenny and Dindo for being there to sign up folks to our petition.
Earth Decay: Credit goes to Agee, who invited Greenpeace to their wonderful event, to Albert, Jessa, Coli and Nonoy of Solar Generation Pilipinas who shared the road trip and helped out on the event logistics among so many other things. To my former bandmate Cedric and his wife Bon as well as Joel, Joe and Peter of Ginseng whose pressence there linked the QC/Manila scene to the 7 Lakes Scene. Lastly, to the wonderful folks in San Pablo namely Keith, Jepoy, Mel, and the many others whose names I have either forgotten or perhaps never knew...I give you all my thanks...