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“We Crashed Three Actions Today”; Rev Billy and Stop Shopping Choir Raise a Ruckus Outside U.N. Climate Summit

Reverend Billy Talen Nov 10

Editor’s Note: Reverend Billy Talen and the New York City-based Church of Stop Shopping Choir have joined thousands of others clamoring for transformative climate action outside the annual U.N. climate summit currently being held in Glasgow, Scotland. This is the first of several reports we expect to receive from the good reverend. 

Reverend Billy Talen.

We stepped out of the bus into Glasglow’s daylight and just outside the fence around the bus-park was a raging action in a lake!  We started laughing — this is great! We pulled on clothes and ran out there. We saw the presidents of six nations’ blown up heads on robot bodies in business suits. They were in a boat that was sinking into the water. The banner above them read “Sinking the Negotiations.” On the shore, people were cheering as Putin, Xi, Biden, Modi, Johnson and Bolsonaro drowned, their faces sporting the usual frozen smiles. 

We went out on the dock and sang “The Earth is in Pain” and I preached: “the Earth is taking back the souls of these naughty boys!” We carried on and everybody thanked us profusely. There was a feeling of real camaraderie that we would feel several times today.

We gravitate to one of the gates, the no-access buildings and a collection of hotels and conference centers. The whole thing stank of business class adultery. The word on the street is that the negotiators are manufacturing another manifesto for gradualism, like the previous 25 annual U.N. climate summits.  Meanwhile, there is an action-in-progress on every street corner, and thousands and thousands of cops lurking about, all wearing the same blinding lime-green vests…  

We gravitate to one of the gates, the no-access buildings, and a collection of hotels and conference centers. The whole thing stank of business class adultery

We selected actions to enter with our extreme dancing and song and I would begin to preach. I figured from the signs the nature of each protest — the oceans, the Amazon, endangered life, screaming Christianity, etc. Well, we crashed three actions today and in some way felt invited as we approached, like when the drummers go to the beat of our song.  No matter what we did, the cops surrounded us.They followed us in vans, got out and walked with us to the Center for Contemporary Arts, which we were checking out because we’ll be on that stage on Thursday (11/11) and Friday (11/12). They kept asking “So, what are your plans tonight?” in their bouncy and cheery voices.

All this COP does is get us to end the COP.  The important development here are the exits — how do we stop doing this? The control of CO2 emissions by corporations, government regulators and NGOs needs to end. If we don’t end their game, we don’t survive the sixth mass extinction. We might not anyway, but now there is something noble in signing up in this world war for the Earth. Somehow, 50,000 people will walk to pipelines and take them apart with their bare hands. Talking like this, I’m offering an exaggerated vision, but our present existence is a life-and-death emergency that is covered over by hypnotic marketing. It exists in Glasgow, too. The oil people walk around like they can stall for another decade and the police persuade themselves that the most gentle people are somehow violent. It’s bizarre world. We will keep singing and preaching as the channel-switching comes and goes.

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