Roger Hallam - Co-Founder of Extinction Rebellion - joins the show to discuss the ideas behind his book "Common Sense For The 21st Century", how XR got started, how it built the culture that led to its success and how mass peaceful civil disobedience can pave the way to systemic change and avoiding the worst effects of climate change.
Today's You've Been Warmed episode features Roger Hallam one of the co-founders of Extinction Rebellion - the mass civil disobedience movement that started in the UK which is credited by a lot of people for spreading awareness of our current climate crisis.
Roger was kind enough to give his time and jump on a pod with me. It's important to state that he did so in a personal capacity, so everything you will hear on this episode is his personal opinion and not the opinions expressed by Extinction Rebellion as an organization.
I knew Roger would be a fascinating guest to interview since I read his manifesto - Common Sense for The 21st Century. It was fascinating to dive into the thinking behind Extinction Rebellion - why they do what they do, how they build up a culture that can sustain their mission and stay within the peaceful protest they practice and also what concrete solutions they plan to bring forward so that people can have a say in how we make decisions in our democracies.
The entire conversation offers an interesting perspective which Roger believes constitutes a complete paradigm shift from how our society currently functions. I was pleasantly surprised at how he answered some of my follow-up questions, especially when it came to concrete solutions and forms of communication & organization which blend in-person debates with modern technology communication.
ROGER'S SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS
Roger's Website - https://www.rogerhallam.com/
Roger's Personal Twitter - https://twitter.com/RogerHallamCS21
His Book "Common Sense For The 21st Century" - https://www.amazon.com/Common-Sense-21st-Century-Nonviolent/dp/1645020002
3:06 - Roger’s Background & The Research That Contributed To XR
8:20 - How They Cultivated The Culture They Wanted Within XR
12:27 - Their Expectations Before Launching XR & How They Were Met
16:02 - His Reponse To Recent Scientific Projections Of Warming By 2100
20:48 - What % Of People Do You Need For Civil Resistance To Work
26:00 - Why Citizens’ Assemblies Are The Solution After Generating Awareness
31:00 - An Example Of A Successful Citizens’ Assembly
35:38 - How Social Change Happens Through Human Emotion
40:14 - Society vs Politics Vs Business vs Science
44:09 - His Message To Listeners
RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
Extinction Rebellion - https://rebellion.earth/
'Why Civil Resistance Works' Book - https://www.amazon.com/Why-Civil-Resistance-Works-Nonviolent/dp/0231156839
Citizens' assembly - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizens%27_assembly
Complexity Theory - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complexity_theory_and_organizations
Fridays For Future - https://www.fridaysforfuture.org/
Roger Hallam: (00:00)
This is one of the important things to understand about extinction of Bellin is, is that it was predesigned, you know, most social movements set up because something terrible happens and everyone goes to the street and it's all gray and it grows really fast because of social media and then it collapses as fast as it grows because there's no structural culture, you know, or organizational capacity. So what's one of the first things we learned is you need to have a really strong, a really strong organizational. Cool. Rolling.
YBW Intro: (00:29)
Ladies and gentlemen, you've been more, it's time to figure out the climate crisis with the top scientists, activists, and entrepreneurs helping us get out of this mess. Now let's welcome your host. Did I? Gosh, in three, two, one.
Today's you've been warmed episode features. Roger Hallam, one of the cofounders of extinction rebellion, the mass civil disobedience movement that started in the U K which is credited by a lot of people for spreading awareness of our current climate crisis. Roger was kind enough to give his time and jump on a pod with me. It's important to state that he did so in a personal capacity, so everything you will hear on this episode is his personal opinion and not the opinions expressed by extinction rebellion as an organization. Now, Roger doesn't mince words when he speaks, so do expect some explicit content in this episode. It's not a lot, but it's something that you need to be aware of going in on. This is not something that I have a problem with, but I just thought you should know. I knew Roger would be a fascinating guest to interview since I read his manifesto.
Common sense for the 21st century a few months ago, it was fascinating to dive into the thinking behind extinction rebellion, why they do what they do, how they build up a culture that can sustain their mission and stay within the peaceful protest, the practice, and also what concrete solutions they plan to bring forward so that people can have a say in how we make decisions in our democracies. The entire conversation offers an interesting perspective, which Roger believes constitutes a complete paradigm shift from how our society currently functions. I was pleasantly surprised at how he answered some of my followup questions, especially when it came to concrete solutions and forms of communication and organization, which blend in person debates with modern technology communication. Without further ado, let's bring Roger on. So I'm joined now by Roger Hallam, cofounder of extinction rebellion. Welcome to the show, Roger. Hi. Hi. So I'm obviously really excited, big fan of your work and of what extension rebellion has done. I've already spoken about you and kind of did an introduction before, but for those who don't know more about yourself, can you tell us just a bit about your background and how you came to found extinction rebellion almost two years ago?
Roger Hallam: (03:06)
Yeah, well I sort of cut my teeth as it were, I suppose activism is concerned as a teenager in Manchester, in the UK in the 1980s in the peace movement. So that's when I was first arrested and went to prison and what have you and sort of learn how nonviolence works. And, and I went to yeah, I was sort of involved in participating in design for a decade or two, which is, you know, how to empower people in groups and get social projects off the, off the ground and that sort of thing. And then I got a little bit disillusioned with politics and everything around. Yeah. 2000 and went often did organic farming for two decades. So I've just given up last Saturday with the climber crisis sorts of coming along. If you're a farmer, it's like their every day sorts of thing. And I have quite big farming business in it, sort of collapse due to extreme weather conditions.
Roger Hallam: (04:08)
It rained every day for seven weeks and then hottest summer ever. The coldest winter ever. And you know, it's just goes on and on and on. So I decided that it was no escaping to the Hills as it were. You know, they're going to come and get us. Aye did an ma Swansea university in Wales where I live and then I go in to do it, PhD research and how to effectively mobilize Oh, critical radical political campaigns. And do civil disobedience. So I spent five years doing field work for working out from a social scientific point of view. Well works and what doesn't work in terms of mobilizing people to break the law.
Yeah. So that's one of the interesting things that I read about you is that you did a PhD into you the research into how to enact social change via mass civil disobedience movement and you did that at King's college London. One of the things that you managed to do there, which I've seen is becoming quite common right now, is to protest to King's college London to divest from, to get them to divest from fossil fuels. And, and they actually pledge to become carbon neutral by by 2025 is extinction rebellion. The movement that you founded kind of a culmination of all the studies and all the work that you've done throughout your life.
Roger Hallam: (05:36)
Okay. Yeah. Yeah. I wouldn't want to personalize it that much. Got, give me, it's a bit of trouble. But like yeah, I did a lot of the research that fed into the XR founding process. The acts. I was founded by a whole bunch of people from 15 people at the initial meeting. But I did a paper before that called pivoting to the real issue, which argued that a mass movement was now possible, as you might say, actually engage in mass participation, civil disobedience. Before extinction, rebellion was set up, a bunch of researchers and activists, including myself and go by broken other people went out and read the literature on how to set up social movements and how to engage in effective [inaudible] nonviolent direct action. So this is one of the important things to understand about extinction rebellion is, is that it was predesigned, you know, most social movements set up because something terrible happens and everyone goes to the street and it's all gray and it grows really fast because of social media and then it collapses as fast as it grows because there's no structural culture, you know, or organizational capacity.
Roger Hallam: (06:44)
So what's one of the first things we learned is you need to have a really strong, a really strong organizational and cultural orientation. And so yeah, I got into it and as I said to you before this video podcasts rather than, you know, what I'm going to, I be telling you in, in this podcast is my orientation on it. There's a number of different orientations. So yeah, I'm talking in a personal capacity before. Yeah, I can tell you plenty about how civil disobedience works.
Yup. I made that clear in the introduction and thanks for reminding people that you are speaking in a personal capacity. I have a ton of questions about your, your manifesto, the work that you did which is called common sense for the 21st century. But I just wanted to touch a bit on what you mentioned. It was one of my later questions, but I think we should dive into it right now. So extinction, rebellion was founded by, as you said several other activists, including yourself and it's, it's a decentralized organization, right? So you guys don't don't have Latino centrally. The, the traditional leadership that an organization would have and that's a strength in many respects. One of my questions was how do you actually cultivate a culture where I guess you have a sort of set of leading principles where you can kind of act as as a whole, as one and all follow the same principles of mass civil disobedience but in a peaceful way and have every member followed that because obviously you need that, that uniformity in order to be successful.
Roger Hallam: (08:20)
Yeah. Well, you know, to explain how it works properly, we probably need about two hours. Because the first thing to say about this is, you know, organization on the left particular it's become very politicized rather than sort of like research based and it tends to get reduced in sort of unhelpful binary is like decentralized and centralized or you know, having leaders or not having leaders. Now really that is not very helpful, you know, because every organizational formation has elements of centralization and decentralization. The real sort challenge here is to do smart organizing. She's based on social, scientific research on what works best in terms of maximizing autonomy and effectiveness at the same time. Right. So, you know, traditionally the argument of centralization is, you know, you can, you've got leaders and they lead and you know, everyone does what they're told and you can get things done.
Roger Hallam: (09:15)
And you know, they're all going for decentralization of courses. You know, people are autonomous and they can do what they want and they feel good about themselves and get more creativity. Right? So the fact of the matter is both very cool support for both of those elements. Right? So, so the question, the project, the design challenge is that is to maximize, they're both elements, as you might say. And that's done through having a really clear central ethos, a really clear mission, and a really clear way of doing things which get translated into specific [inaudible] practices. So a lot of organizations is showing that right now, or social movements, they have some, you know, grants Brendan sounding statement, but no one really knows what it means. So to give a simple example, people say, you know, we're into respect and being in solidarity with people and all this sorts of thing.
Roger Hallam: (10:10)
And you know, you can't really object to that. What does that specifically mean? So what that specifically means for us is when we have a meeting, people read out a statement that says we're in this meetings, respect each other, not to call each other out. If we have a conflict with each other, we deal with outside of meeting for a conflict resilience process. And we don't take on work we can't do. And if you have to take it from too much work, we give it back and we don't give each other a hard time. You see your name. And what that does is really concretizes the culture in one of the central spaces of social movements, which is the meeting space. Right? You know, [inaudible] most organizations rotate around meetings. So then micro designing meetings is a crucial part of the equation. So this moves things away from just, you know, rhetorical left, sort of sloganizing or virtue signaling or whatever.
Roger Hallam: (11:01)
You know, I mean, all that's great. But at the end of the day, if you want to build a mass movement, you have to have a respect culture where people go, I really don't agree with you. Well, I'm not going to call you a chef. You know what I mean? And, and you work out ways to communicate and the result differences, you're inevitable and not a problem or the broad, you know, just to summarize the broad sort of take away from this is you have a really strong culture. That's number one. And number two, they should have that translated in particular particular practices. And number three is you train people like death is, you've got to have a really vigorous training program. So people come in and they learn how to do consolidation, they learn how, you know, not to be aggressive towards the police. They learn how to resolve differences, you know, because these are all crashed right?
Roger Hallam: (11:51)
At the end of the day. And there's people out no helps do it well and you get the best practice and you spread that around. And then you have sort of possible processes where people discover how to do things better and then they're absorbed into new iterations of practices. And then, you know, the whole thing progresses and it's complicated and messy and semi counting and it doesn't work very well. Okay. Sort of assume it some sorts of Nevada or something. It's not, well obviously it gets shit done and you know, people around the world you know, mobilizing thousands using this model.
Well it certainly worked out for you guys because extinction, rebellion snowbelt and one of my questions is, so I speak to a lot of people and whenever I asked them, everyone kind of has everyone that's been has been aware of climate change kind of sense that in 2018 something changed in the collective awareness worldwide. And when I asked them what the reasons are, they all cite three main catalysts. One is obviously a greater thumb Berg and her popularity. The second one is the IPC 1.5 degree report. When that came out lot people were shocked. And the third one is extinction rebellion. Everyone cites you alongside Gretta as the, the activist force that contributed to this mass awareness. So, given that everything that you laid out about culture and how everything can get quite messy and it's not as easy as it sounds, has extinction rebellion evolved as fast as you guys thought it would at the beginning? Or what were your, your projections or, or what were your expectations heading into it?
Roger Hallam: (13:39)
Well, without sounding big headed, but basically, yeah, a bunch of us knew it was going to go big probably about four weeks then because we start to do public meetings and you know, I've been in various social movements and what have you as I say for 30 odd years since I was 15 and you know, there's lots of social movements and they're great causes and you go round and you tell people, you know, something about animal rights or you know, labor strikes, you know, obviously people animated about it and, and they go, yeah, yeah, that's great. But it's like a thing amongst other things, you know? Yes ma'am. Now what's different about climber is it's not a thing amongst other things. It's the biggest shit storm in the history of humanity. And what you, what you find is, and I know this sounds a bit sort of, not very scientific, but it's like you see a look in people's eyes and it's some sort of mixture of rage and fear and desperation.
Roger Hallam: (14:40)
And, and once you see that in a critical, you know, in enough people's eyes, you basically know you've got a mass movement because that's what mass movements are built upon is rage and fear and desperation. And we haven't seen a movement like that in Western societies, you know, since the 1960s, let's say, because okay, that's spicy. You know, we haven't had an extreme pretty cool, you know, stress from a historical perspective, but we're heading into extreme political stress now and everyone knows that and everyone's floundering around going, what the fuck? You know, like how, you know, what's going to happen and you know, how can we do this? And we're just rapidly learning how to do constructive political struggle, which we haven't had to do for quite a long time, you know, and and obviously extinction rebellion's done the research on that, the people in it, and we're producing a model of how to do that. And you know, we're far from perfect. Of course, that's the pathway we are providing for people and people are realizing, yes, days of sending emails and sitting around hoping the politicians are going to sort this out for us. The Rover, the only people that are going to sort you out ordinary people out on the street breaking the law. And that's the way it's,
Yeah, I definitely agree with that. I wanted to ask you something because I, I saw something on the, on the extinction rebellion website and I kind of wanted to get your take on it. It, it was one of the last questions that I wanted to ask, but I feel it fits great here. So on your website it says we're on track for four to six degree of warming. And I've seen a lot of recent scientific projections that kind of show, I don't want to go into all the, all the scenarios that they use because that's quite complicated and I don't think people will necessarily be into that. But basically they're saying the most likely path is three degrees of warming plus minus one degree. Even accounting for feedback loops and all of that, which is terrible, absolutely terrible. And it's going to have a lot of negative consequences.
But at least if there was, if there was a positive, at least we kind of know with a certain degree of certainty that the world is not going to entirely flip because four, five degrees in over five degrees is quite a scenario that we don't really want to visit. Does that change your communication or is because my, my point is kind of, we have to avoid getting over two degrees at, at any cost or as much as we can. And the flip side to the worst case scenarios, not becoming realistic is that the best case scenarios are not realistic either. So in other words, it's going to be very, very hard for us to even stay under two degrees Celsius. So what's your kind of take on these recent developments?
Roger Hallam: (17:31)
Well, you know, what can I say? I think part of becoming politically and spiritually mature is to move from a sort of disempowered state of watching things outside your control and trying to assess how bad they're going to be for you. Right? That's a very demoralizing psychological and spiritual process. And when things get really bad, historically people move from an hour come orientation to what I call a virtue ethics orientation. [inaudible] Moral philosophy. This is two orientations towards life is a utilitarian [inaudible] where you're basically trying to work out whether your actions are going to be effective. Right? And you know, there's a lot going for it. And then there's another big tradition she called virtue ethics, which is you don't, you don't base your actions upon whether again, going to be effective. You base them on weather, that means you're a good, awesome, broadly speaking. And there's different cultural ways of expressing that.
Roger Hallam: (18:40)
You know, it was religious ways that, you know, doing the will of God or whatever. So that's okay. So what I'm trying to communicate, I say do people of your generation and younger people is, is you can [inaudible], right? It's so you're right in terms of trying to decide whether 2 billion of people are going to guy or 5 billion or we're going to go extra things, right? That's not the issue. The issue is where do I get the strength from to be the good person I want to be for the 50, 60, 70. Yes. I'm going to be in existence. You see your name, that's the key question for everyone to deal with now because whatever's coming down the line, it's beyond fucked, right? Yeah. Who gives a fuck whether Australia is going to be desert in 10 years or 30 years, right? It's like, it's beyond awful.
Roger Hallam: (19:36)
You know? And if you want to know what it Oh four looks like, then read some stuff about worldwide war in a world war two, right? This is in the living memory of Europeans to know what it's like to be in a completely devastated social environment. So, you know, that's, it's not like I can talk to you for an hour or two on, you know, the, the science of whether we're going to get to five or three. And you know, for the record, I think it's, you know, my personal view is, you know, two to three is locked in and then we're going to speeding up to five and it's going to be game over, right. So, but that doesn't really concern me anymore because yeah, it's outside my control. What's inside my control is, well, I'm tryna talk to you about in this interview, what I'm going to do after this, Jay, what I'm going to do tomorrow, how am I going to do with my relationships with my fellow activists? You know, how I'm going to be the most creative person and courageous person I can be and how I'm going to, okay. Have a joyful life because I've only got one of them.
Roger Hallam: (20:41)
That's, that's why I'm trying to move people to, and yeah, that makes a ton of sense and it's a really good thanks
For that. Okay, let's, let's come back to extinction rebellion because one of the main points, so we've kind of laid out the motivation behind it. One of the main points that you make by three or studies is that contrary to what people might believe intuitively, you only need a very small percentage of people to actively rebel against what's happening in the world or locally for the rest of the population to jump in and to actually impact the decision makers be day political leaders or big businesses in our case. Can you talk a bit about how you deduce that from previous social movements of the past that were successful and how that has pretty much been applied by extinction rebellion successfully so far?
Roger Hallam: (21:39)
Yeah. well, yeah, there was a little bit in the sort of small world of activism. And so, so social scientific research was a little of a bomb show about 10 years ago when a book came out, why civil resistance works. And it basically did I study or 300 uprisings and rebellions and you know, civil resistance sorts of movements. I found that the, if you have three and a half percent of people go to the streets, then you know, broadly speaking you're going to bring down the regime or get structural change. Now obviously that's become a bit of a meme and got a little bit like reductive and people have criticism. Well I text off and say, you know, call fingers, you get free an opposite of people on the street. I've seen hunky Dory, obviously it's a lot more complicated than that. But the, the the broad takeaway is, you know, we've all sort of been brought up with this idea that people go to the street and your sub is image of everyone, you know, dropping their pots and pans and just going out into the streets and everyone's doing it.
Roger Hallam: (22:43)
Well, apparently that simply is not the case. You know, for instance, like in the Egyptian revolution in 2012 so a million people in Tahrir square in greater Cairo is like something like 20 million people. So, you know, what were the other 19 million people doing? Well? You know, they were just sitting around having that dinner, you know, getting on Facebook, being cynical, you know, arguing with each other and sleeping and you know, going to work, right? So [inaudible] so this isn't massively empowering in terms of strategic design because suddenly people realize it's not a matter of, you know, having everyone in the contrary, you know, agreeing with you what you need is free and heart centered. People got street broadly speaking, and then obviously you need a good minority or small majority of people going, actually these guys are right. So that's, those are the broad two things.
Roger Hallam: (23:33)
And what I would add is, you know, a lot of people think this is a linear process. You know, it's like you go out and you mobilize your million and then you mobilize your next million. Well, it doesn't really happen like that. In my view, my understanding the literature, my personal experience is that what happens is broadly something like this is, you know, 10,000 people go to this street, you know, nothing really much happens. And then two or three weeks later, 50,000 people got straight and then the security forces come out and shoot people or something. Or you know, those people got beaten up and it goes on social media or whatever. [inaudible] And there's what's called is backfiring effect, which is loads of people go, what the hell? You know, I've got to go out and support this, you know, people getting done it. And then the following week and you know, a million people come out, right?
Roger Hallam: (24:22)
Well a million people only come out on the streets that say for two or three weeks, not least because they've got to go back and work and all the rest of it. So that's broadly how it works in what you might call the classical civil resistance model. And as I say, you know, I'm sure lots of people listening to this come up with counter examples. So it's a broad, it's a broad sketch of, of what happens and there's lots of variations on the fee and obviously there's no guarantees that it works. Right. [inaudible] my argument is that it's got the highest probability of working, you know, compared with, you know, sort of guerrilla violence from jungles or whatever. All, you know, sending emails to the two or that sort of broad paradigms [inaudible] trying to change the world. You see what I mean? So yeah, I mean what you, what you need to understand is if you're practically want to change the will, there's no point sitting in some you a university seminar room sort of going that's rubbish.
Roger Hallam: (25:18)
Anyone can say something's rubbish. That's not the question. The question is not where it's rubbish, but weather anything else is, is not so much rubbish. UCLA. So obviously nonviolence is rubbish, but sending emails is even more rubbish. Right? And shooting people is even more rubbish. So you know what, which one do you practically go for? Well, pragmatic. Do you go for the one that's, you know, Leif rubbish. It's like what Winston Churchill said about democracy and an, do you know the quiet, you know, democracy is like completely crap. He didn't say it like that, but that's basically how he said. But you said like everything else is even more crap. Sorry. It's that, you know, in terms of practical change in the world, that's the analysis, not some sort of total critique idea.
Got it. And let's see, once you achieve that scale and you get the impact, the influence, how do you get to solutions? I know in your manifesto you, you propose the citizens assembly and I know there's been some steps done by, by the UK, although extinction rebellion has said that it's not enough and it doesn't match to their requirements and what they demand demanded. But kind of take us to the process of how, okay, we raise the awareness because you said that love movements failed because of the, so we raised awareness, we have their air, how do we proceed to actually get into solutions?
Roger Hallam: (26:36)
Yeah, well this is, this is really enormously important. Like, because you know, there's loads of people criticize, you know, civil resistance and all the rest of it for very good reason, which is, you know, more times than not, you know, you have a mass uprising and then it turns to shit. It's like, it's just a mess afterwards. And what happened is there's the either returns to crop normality or you know, some right wing dictator comes in and yeah, shakes people, you know, gets people straight and you end up with something that's really worse than before. Or you know, you have social chaos in the worst scenario, which, you know, as a certain romantic sort of Pillsbury. But you know, if you're a normal person, it's no fun, right? If you losing your job in, you know, just chaos on the streets. So what, what we really need to do is look again, sort of cool, cool, analytical, social, scientific way.
Roger Hallam: (27:32)
What looks in terms of probabilities, right? So again, we're looking at probabilities, just not like, Hey, this is the solution. It's definitely going to work. No, no, no. What he's saying is this is most likely to work and it requires a certain amount of political imagination because the fact of the matter is like [inaudible] well, we've had in the world so far, Oh, you know, corrupt autocracies or corrupt democracy. So we haven't really progressed for 200 years in terms of upgrading democracy to something which is genuinely represents people's views and doesn't get taken over by, you know, corporate capital and all that stuff. So how do, how does this work? So the idea that a lot of academics and research to come up with is the notion of sortition based assemblies where you take a randomized selection of the population. So people are chatting. I wasn't by chance.
Roger Hallam: (28:26)
And the critical thing to understand about this is it can't be corrupted, right? It's a bit like rolling a dice, right? No one corrupt that they can, you know, to help pay you to roll in a certain way. It's like it's pure chance. So what happens then is, the second thing to understand about that is that a producers, normal people, so you haven't got, you know, activists on the left or corrupt businessmen on the right sorts of getting into parliament. You've got normal people. And the beauty of that is people, it gives political legitimacy. So let's say you got a thousand people I've selected randomly from the U K they all meet in a public way where it's all cannibis and people can see people like that in the assembly, you know, bus drivers, some glass guy or you know, and bays and stuff, all that sort of thing.
Roger Hallam: (29:16)
And then they deliberate in what you might call the [inaudible] best practice way. So a lot of academics and lawyers and Mike, you've been working on this for 13 years, so broadly goes along the following lines that you have statistics to start off with. So you actually know what the facts are. And then secondly, have experts opinions across a range of different views. So it's quite pluralistic. And then thirdly, did people in the assembly witnesses back that they want the question more and then they deliberate in small groups on the issue? [inaudible] True. That's not an iterative process. They come to a consensus, well maybe they votes, isn't it? I mean, obviously it's variations on the feed life, representational democracy. So the idea of this is that you actually get the people's well too recite sort of phrase in a, in an effective way rather than it being corrupted.
Roger Hallam: (30:08)
And so well XR is saying is, is, and you know, all the movements around the world and other, the other academics are saying this is our best bet because if we're going to solve this crisis, we are not going to solve it through sectional politics. You see what I mean? She's a pretty big problem with the affecting, my personal view is it's not a left wing issue anymore. It's a human issue. She goes, man, it's a bit like fighting Hitler in world war II, you know? Yeah. Conservative Catholics, you know, doing resistance stuff communist. And because everyone realized [inaudible] you know, it's either, Hey Mo, all of us, you know what I mean? Like and that's, that's the realization going on around the world moment is people need to come together or who broadly believe in human bias. And there's massive differences within that category.
Roger Hallam: (31:00)
Of course. Well, we're not going to solve this unless we have widespread popular legitimacy. And the argument is the best way of doing this, well, the least worst way of doing this, it's true assets in some assembly, which I've just described to you. Has anything like this ever been put in practice? Maybe even at lower, like more local levels? Well, this is where to be honest with you, [inaudible] imagination comes in, right? Because I'm not going to pretend that this has actually happened in a fully successful way because all the regimes around the world, Oh, are dominated by corrupt, you know, correct. Political parties or by corrupt autocrats and you know, and all the rest of that. So no, there's no sort of proof. So you have to use sources of circumstantial evidence, UBC automate, of which there is plenty. And you know, I'll just give you one example, which is the citizen's assembly on abortion in Ireland a year or two ago.
Roger Hallam: (31:59)
And as you may know in Ireland, you know, this is a really diverse, you know, Mmm. It was a really controversial issue and it was really polarized. And so people came into this six-months assembly, you know, really quiet, polarized views going, no way would I have agreed to abortion and what have you. And then through the process of these weekends deliberating on it, it came to a consensus since the abortion [inaudible] legalized. And then it was the referendum during that referendum, you know, the population said, well, if people like us agree with agree with it, then maybe their rights and you know, it was massive victory for four, Mmm [inaudible] to legalize abortion. And, and obviously, you know, people said to me where it's not just about sit and assembly and obviously it's not, you know, it was lots of work done over several decades to get to get the pro abortion sort of issue onto the agenda. Mmm. Well, the fact of the matter is, is it resolved the controversy in a nonviolent, participatory and democratic and civilized way. That's a massive prize when you dealing with massively controversial issues.
That's an amazing example. And I'm definitely gonna read up on it more because it sounds super interesting
Roger Hallam: (33:14)
And yeah, I just wanted to add on that. And this is something where it's maybe people don't realize is this isn't some sort of cold, cognitive, utilitarian and sort of sit around and make some okay, some sort of Cole decision, right? This is an intensely emotional and even spiritual process for people because what we mustn't [inaudible] underestimate is the enormous empowering effect of people freely deliberating for the first time in their lives. You know, because most people for most of their lives, just about all their lives, I basically have no feeling of agency. You know, you just friend around, you lose your job, you got another job, you know, you're told what to do by the boss. You know, you talk like critical parties, what's going on. You never really feel that you personally can make a difference. And it's enormously emotional when people join these assemblies and for the first time in their lives [inaudible], you know, create these human connections with each other and then they collectively come to a decision and you know, people are crying about it and they come out to and saying, that was the most how awful experience of my life.
Roger Hallam: (34:26)
So this is, you know, this is the great potential. I know it sounds a bit weird, but yeah, there's something about the climate crisis, which opens up the possibility of a true humanity emerging globally for the first time ever. And I know I'm not saying that because I'm just some [inaudible] no, I'm not happy with it, you know, cause I've just, yeah. Dreaming they set up, I think there's good social scientific evidence for a transformation in consciousness, you know, which is basically provoked, but it's terrible situation.
I can, I can kind of see that happening. I've had maybe sort of a similar view on things. One thing that I wanted to add to the fact that you said it's, it's it liberates people. A lot of these people, they don't even have the, they get their information through someone else's gaze. So the media, we know how the narratives are controlled. We know the misinformation that is happening right now. So they probably don't even have control over, over the information that they get. They might come to, especially something like abortion, which is very disputed at least in the U S as well as Ireland. And,
Roger Hallam: (35:38)
And they probably come with a very deep opinion on life, which is probably not formed by, by having spoken to people on both sides and understanding the science behind the issue. So I can see how them coming together. We helped. And to your second point about how climate change might, could bring us all together, I think we're seeing a lot of concerning trends worldwide, which are undeniable in terms of inequality, misinformation, extremism, especially if the right all these movements that are kind of bubbling everywhere and you see all these demagogues emerging everywhere and then you see counter movements appearing in, in all these countries. Especially in the U S now I think, I think where extinction, rebellion has, has sort of made real progress, if you don't mind me saying so is, is him realizing the social change is driven by emotion and emotion is driven by humanity, the feeling of humanity that comes through face to face interaction, which basically means eye contact.
Roger Hallam: (36:48)
Right? And there's, so what, what we are trying to innovate here is to bring together why we call 19th century community organizing, you know, political organizing. The must meeting. Yeah. The evangelical awakening sort of, you know, going around villages, people getting together and joining in some emotional arousal combined with 21st century I T right. In other words like getting beyond that dichotomy. You know, it's not a lot of people have realized that the internet is amazing, but there's something missing. And what's missing is human emotion, which can only come fruit. You know, there's really super old fashioned thing. I've a bunch of people, 15 people sitting in a circle in a village hall and sort of neglected part you know, a country connecting with each other and joining together in collective action. And then of course they all share that email addresses or gets on WhatsApp.
Roger Hallam: (37:51)
Do you see what I mean? So this is the dream combination. It's like, you know, like I'm sure you know from systems theory and stuff is real creativity comes from combining two separate systems together to create a whole, which is greater than the sum of the parts. And this is the super exciting thing that's happening around the world, assuming that activist people that are concerned about climate sort of twig, but they've got to get out and talk to ordinary people. And this is why I bang on about all the time, you know, because extinction, rebellion has been settled and what tends to happen is people communicate online and they try and contact or their organizations, I'm going, no, no, no, no, no. Right? Get out into the village halls, the town halls, good cafes and have meetings with ordinary people. Often you don't like them because they don't share your political views.
Roger Hallam: (38:42)
But that's like neither Hannah. That right was a climate emergency. And once you talk to someone for about half an hour [inaudible] okay, you come into the conversation, I'm thinking better about a twit. Know you'll find loads of common interest, right? Cause everyone really cares about the same thing. At the end of the day, which is, you know, to be listened to and loved and awesome agents in their life. We're all the same. And again, I'm not saying that because I'm trying to be spiritual help, hope or anything that's good. Social, scientific basis, the motivation and creativity and activism, it's all basically produce fruit connection. Community connection.
Yeah. So, so I really understand because technology in a way shouldn't be a substitute for personal relationships and it kind of does that because it, it kind of dehumanizes our relationships. But if you use it as a tool which enhances communication because you can communicate with people and organize online, which makes things much more efficient, but you also keep the human element and you make the most important decisions after personal deliberation, then I can see how that can become a very efficient way of making decisions. So that's a really, really cool perspective on things.
Roger Hallam: (39:53)
Yeah, I mean I'd go as far as saying it's, it's revolutionary and it's, it will transform the world in the next 10 years. You know, if you're going to survive. Th that's the, that's the methodology is the fusion of face to face meeting on social media, which then producers like mass civil disobedience. That's the plan.
Awesome. And on that note the last question that I usually ask if guests, you kind of laid it out, but I would love for you to expand it in, in the kind of the structure of this question. So I ask guests to rank the following sectors in order of importance to tackling climate change, one through four and talk about the relationships between them because obviously they're all interdependent. So the four elements are politics and policy. So whatever governments can do, for example, incentivizing renewables, stopping fossil fuel subsidies, et cetera. The second one is society. So activism, civil disobedience, individual lifestyle changes. The third one is businesses. So businesses having less emissions stopping the funding to the fossil fuel industry, et cetera. And the fourth one is scientific research innovation. So breakthroughs in energy, efficiency in, in battery power costs, or let's say improvements in nuclear technology. How would you rank those one through four. And what do you think are the the interdependencies between them?
Roger Hallam: (41:17)
Well, I guess you probably won't be surprised if I quit. If I questioned the assumptions behind your question. As you might say, I'm a, I'm a complexity theorist, you know, that's my, that's my metaphysical system, which means that everything is connected, right? And change is usually nonlinear. So that sort of messes up the idea that, you know, we can trundle along in these different siloed sectors of society and no one's going to be the thing that creates something and all the rest of it. Well I would say is, is, is what's gonna happen in my personal view. Fair enough. I think the support for this is there's going to be a nonlinear event in global society and you know, it might be sort of thing to such a degree sort of jolts in it, you know, when all be on one day. But there'll be big leap and I think the big league is the thing that's going to open the door to everything else is mass civil disobedience.
Roger Hallam: (42:17)
In other words like fundamentally changing the structure of a political regime for blocking the city or Oh, tax strikes or a combination, a culmination [inaudible] of civil resistance. And the reason I say that is the central sort of element here is the state because the state as that Notley violence, it has that control over the rules of society and one, a state basically enables business and the scientific community and politics to change. Then everything is released. So it's a bit like, the analogy I've got is is you're in a house and you're just in one room and everyone needs to get out of that room and spread around the whole house and there's a door and the door basically his master will just be against, if you see what I mean. That's the thing that basically opens up to a new regime and I mean a new regime emotionally, psychologically and politically, but that the central element of that is the state because it does state, like for instance, you know, to give a concrete example, we need the state to invest massively in resets.
Roger Hallam: (43:25)
No. So that we can take carbon out the atmosphere for instance, and how are we going to, you know become more resilient? Mmm. You know, and then we need the state to basically enable and, or, and for massive changes on business and then business can, you know, get on with the job of actually, you know, transforming the economy and obviously there's loads of questions around how that should or shouldn't be done. And then the political system needs to be reformed so that the people are in control of that. All those things basically happen through this catalytic event, which is manifested through, you know, political struggle through, through this winning, winning the battle on the, on the, on, on, on the street.
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I'll be the first one to admit that my question is sort of a trick question. So I, I appreciate the fact that you, that you, that you switched it and provide your view. That's kind of what I'm, what I'm expecting. Thanks a lot for your time. Thanks Todd for the knowledge. It's been super interesting. Is there anything that you want to send as a message to listeners? If they want to get involved with, with extinction rebellion or if they want to help and then you weigh where can they find resources, how can they get involved and what should they do as a next step?
Roger Hallam: (44:42)
Yeah. What I'd say about that is this, you know, there's no point trying to think. You can change what you do by yourself. I mean, this is a bit of a myth of the enlightenment without sounding too intellect. What about tech? Basically, how are you going to change is when you [inaudible] space with other people and you get influenced by other people. Now I give you the courage on the support to change. So it's not a matter of after this, you know, podcasts going, okay, I'm going to do this, that and the other. No. If one thing that you want to do is go and meet people face to face. Yeah. In Fridays, [inaudible] or extinction, rebellion or whatever, and go into that group and engage in a collective save activity. I'm through that. You'll find the courage to do what you need to do. [inaudible] Do you? Very unusual individual. You're not going to find the courage to give up your job. People meet, you know, stop flying all these things unless you put yourself in a culture cause we're all social animals at the end of the day. And yeah, so there's just one thing I'd suggest people take is go and do that. You're going to talk to people who are engaged in this sort of massive conundrum. Right.
That's amazing. Thanks for the advice. It's been a big pleasure. Thanks for your time and hopefully we do this again at some point soon.
Roger Hallam: (46:00)
Yeah, yeah. Thank you so much.
Can I go share again, thank you so much for listening to this. You've been warmed episode. I really hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Now you can find all the episodes on our website and it's www dot you've been warmed.com both in audio and written form. So you can find the transcriptions on there. I'd love for you to reach out to me on Twitter and tell me what your favorite episode has been thus far, or if you have any feedback on the episode they just listened to. My Twitter handle is at DRG Stephanie school, so DRG coming from draggish, my first name, and then Stefan ESCO, which is my last name. And finally, if you want to get notified when new episodes are out, subscribe to this podcast and consider dropping a review for us if you enjoy the content that's all for now. See you soon.