The Face of Activism

Originally published by Greenpeace Africa on October 3, 2013:

I’ve been thinking a lot about what an activist looks like and what they do.

When pop culture these days is so grandiose, we’re fed stories of heroes who are so different. They look different, they’re made differently to us. We’re taught that for someone to step forward, out of the crowd, and make a difference, they have to have special powers, or lots of money and special gadgets, or be geniuses – basically, we’re told all to often that to change the world, you cannot be the person on the street.

And that’s a complete lie.

I know what the face of activism is, what real-life heroes look like – you. Or me, or your best friend, or your brother. They’re people in your every day life who draw a line in the sand and say to the polluters, the dictators, the abusers, and the corrupt – ‘you come no further!’

This is the face of activism:

And that could have been any one of us. These people, the Arctic 30, have not been bitten by radioactive spiders, they don’t come from other planets. They have regular lives at home, bills to pay, groceries to buy, and e-mails to return. Except now they’re stuck in Russian detention for doing something to help every one of us.

Because they took action for a good reason.

So return the favour. Not just today or this week, but always. Activism is within each of us. You don’t need to change your life to become an activist, you just need to stand up and say ‘the way things are is not the way things have to be.’

You’ll be surprised how easy it is.

Start taking action by joining us this Saturday for a global display of solidarity to free the Arctic 30. Events are taking place in Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg. Click here for more information.

If you can’t join us on Saturday, you can still help #FreeTheArctic30 by sending a letter to your Russian embassy here, asking for their release.

Don’t miss out. Do something.

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