On Riots and Sundry

I’ve talked a lot about the London riots in the past week, and I’ll spare you my thoughts because you’ve probably already heard similar ones from someone else. Instead, here’s some silver linings:

“Felt very isolated and thought that whole of society was against us. Your support and kindness has meant so much to me and my colleagues!”

That’s from the #Awesomestow initiative, where some members of the community put together an impromptu canteen as a place for the police, who were working gruelling hours in Walthamstow, to have a cup of tea and recharge their batteries. Click on the link to see a touching Flickr set of the canteen and the ‘wall of thanks’ from the police, thanks to RadioKate.

In a similar vein, one of the destroyed and boarded up shops in Peckham has become a ‘peace wall’ with post it notes of community and support. Check out a zoomable image of it to see the messages.

The riots have made me a bit reflective, too. What would make me get out in the street and clash with the authorities? It is hard for me to imagine getting involved in violence, though I have peacefully protested before and such events can escalate quickly. I do get angry and frustrated at events in the world, but my instinctive response is to try to make things better, not smash something.

Because I’m young enough to be all pissed off
But I’m old enough to be jaded
I’m at the age where I want things to change
But with age my hopes have faded
I’m young and bored of being young and bored
If I was old I could say I’ve seen it all before
In short; I’m tired of giving a shit

While I am a very optimistic person, there are times when the chorus above hits close to home. I wish that the issues I care about, like climate change and rational thinking in general, weren’t marginalised or controversial. I sometimes wish that I didn’t care about them, because the time and effort I invest in them comes out of the one short life I have. But I can’t ignore these things. It cuts me deep when I hear that Rick Perry, the governor of Texas who denies climate change, is leading prayer rallies in a pointless and counterproductive response to his state experiencing one of the most severe droughts it’s seen.

But then I see community actions like the Peace Wall above, and I am working to help Lottolab engage young people with science and inquisitive thinking, and organisations like the AYCC keep fighting for what they believe in. I know that I have no choice but to keep doing whatever I can, because if I don’t try, I have no right to expect others to. And if no-one tries to make the world a better place, it very quickly won’t be worth living in.

Categories: environmentalism, Politics, Problems, Thoughts | 9 Comments

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9 thoughts on “On Riots and Sundry

  1. It has been great to see people coming out with brooms etc to help clean up and get back to normal – just as they did here in Brisbane in the floods. There are good people around.

  2. its really good to see the great side of human nature shining through, its much needed with morale at its lowest. great post

  3. Alana

    NOTHING justifies these horrid riots. I think a majority of the rioters are living well below the povery level, and have little or no hope of employment. Most probably go hungry on most days. It is like a powder keg that was waiting to go off. When you take away the last shread of hope…what have you got? Desperation, and anger. Imagine watching your children dying from hunger. That’s scary! I hope that something good comes out of this. People must learn to share. Wheather it’s a sandwich, or a bowl of soup. Starvation and hunger will cause most people to react in ways that are not neccessarily “normal.”

    Speaking of STARVATION, look at the dying little children of Somalia! We, are a society MUST do something to help these people. I have sent money, and plan to send more. I only hope that others search their hearts and do the same thing. What has happened to compassion, to caring, to empathy?

    Ask yourself “what would I do if my little child was dying from hunger.”

    Frankly, Rick Perry needs to be addressed. I feel sure that he will be. However, the IMMEDIATE concern is the DYING CHILDREN IN SOMALIA!!

  4. Alana

    I have three close friends who live in Texas. Rick Perry has lots of enemies in Houston. This I know. He’s not as powerful as he thinks he is.

    I also know that it would be GREAT if you would ask your readers, and friends to send money to the starving children of Somolia.

  5. Alana

    Until you have held your own starving child in your arms, YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT THE EF YOU WOULD DO!

  6. M@

    Woah Alana opinions much?
    I’m sure I could justify it – I for one want a nice plasma screen tv and a couple of laptops.

  7. Yeah Alana, I can see you’re passionate about this, but please, tone it down. This is not the place to campaign for Somalia, even though it is a good cause.

    And, with the riots, yes, deprivation was a factor, but it is nothing like the situation in Somalia. Very few of the rioters would be experiencing serious danger. They would have housing, running water, food, health care and clothes – maybe, not much money for other things but no good reason to smash local shops or set fires.

  8. Alana

    Be assured that I will tone it down. I didn’t realize that I would be “taken to task” for honest comments.

    I should have realized that this was a blog that is mostly about surfing and not more serious events of the world. Whatever makes YOU look good.

    In your world, surfing is more important that starving children. You lost a great opportunity to possibly help feed a starving child. I realize that many people like you exist, unfortunately. Unless it directly involves you, you are simply not interested. Perhaps, as time goes by, life will have some new lessons to teach you, and if you are lucky, you will be a better person for it. (though I find that doubtly)

    Be assured that I will “tone it down”….I am really not interested in your self serving, immature blog about surfing. Hopefully, as time passes, you will mature enough that you will have something worthwhile to comment on. Surfing holds no interest to most people.

    You’re really full of yourself, and please know that it will take more than a vain person like you to make me tone it down!

    • OK. If you feel that way, then thanks for reading my blog over the past months and I wish you all the best for your future. But I won’t accept any more of your comments if they make unjustified attacks on me.


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