I protested against climate breakdown for the third time on Saturday, 13-15pm, 2019-03-23, at Forumtorget, Uppsala. Although I have gotten more and more Facebook likes, I was protesting on my own. The pedestrian zone was very populated so I got a lot of exposure, but there were few interactions, since I assume people just preferred to enjoy the first sunny day of spring.
I consider these protests more and more studies in anthropology, because I learn how people react to these protests (eg pretending not to be looking, apart from kids who are unfiltered nosy), orally supportive (“Good that you are standing here, but I dont have time for this!”), critical (“Climate science is no science!”) or discouraging (“We are already done for! Just give up!”).
Personally, I have been reflecting on the purpose of large public demonstrations since if one is right in pointing out a direct and existential, and verifiable threat, it should not make a difference whether there is one person or thousands of people protesting. However, I guess that human thinking as social beings affects their thinking very deeply and humans depend excessively on group comparisons and social norms to decide on appropriate behaviors. History, however, tells us that one single quiet person may be right, and hundreds of thousands of screaming people may be wrong. So, at the moment, I am thinking about how one motivate people to switch from social thinking to scientific thinking, and use their conclusions to guide their behavior, in a situation where I only have facts on my side, but no impressive crowd of people.
I think, that a single person can also make difference, however, I think the narrative of the person has to be attract public attention. For example, a small little girl protesting in front of government building representing the highest levels of national political power (cf Greta Thunberg), or a grown-up man facing humiliation and violence, does not fight back, but persists in breaking laws, which considers unfair (cf Mahatma Gandhi using Satyagraha, Martin Luther King using civil disobedience).
Hmm, what is my narrative ..?