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Gary Stark
+ posts


“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

By now most of us are familiar with this expression, and nowhere does it apply more than in our response to climate change. Individually, we can recycle, stop flying and driving, turn off lights, plant trees, cut out meat, lobby our local representatives and go on marches. But if we’re truly honest about the impact, such actions are a drop in the ocean. We need to confront the fossil fuel industry directly. Organisations like Just Stop Oil have already reached this conclusion.  However, it’s not an easy problem to address. Fossil fuel corporations have enormous wealth – and consequently enormous influence over our political systems. And like the tobacco industry before them, they’re not shy about deploying tactics of obfuscation, propaganda, and outright lies to protect their bottom line.

But we also have a bottom line that needs protecting. And it’s no less than the survival of the Earth’s capacity to sustain the environment in which we and our fellow-creatures live. So unless we find a way to directly impact Big Oil’s bottom line, there will be no fundamental change. It’s simply not practical to boycott power plants. We live in a world where we rely on energy – but at the same time we need a more practical way of boycotting the fossil fuel industry in order for the transition to renewables to happen even faster. This is the idea behind the Carbon Holiday.

Imagine if we all stayed home on one Monday a month, and kept our purchases and energy consumption to the bare minimum. It would be noticeable, but not transformative. But then imagine that the next month we repeat the process on Monday and Tuesday.  And the month after that, Wednesday too, thus gradually extending the duration of the holiday. In taking this quiet, revolutionary decision, we have the collective power to cause a massive disruption to our economic system and challenge the capitalist system more directly.

The Carbon Holiday doesn’t distinguish between energy generation and other sectors of the capitalist system; that’s its strength. It impacts the bottom line of all corporations. And once corporations begin to feel this financial pressure you can be sure that our politicians will take notice and be forced to act.  We’ve essentially turned the oversized influence of corporations to Earth’s advantage. The other value to this approach is that everyone can participate, not just those living in large metropolitan cities, and not just those living in democracies.

Extinction Rebellion has caught the attention of millions, but by design XR is decentralized.  There’s logic behind that approach, but the Carbon Holiday necessitates unity. We need to all act as one to fight against climate change.  Another quote worth remembering is this:  “United we stand, divided we fall”.  And with climate change we are truly all in this together.


Gary Stark is a retired engineer who spent decades creating videogames for Atari. He is now focused on gardening and trying to be a part of the solution in a world struggling to attain sustainability.

This call to action is different than most. It’s not just about confronting corporate power, but about providing a more inclusive protest opportunity in which everyone can participate, not just those living in the big cities. This means harnessing a wide range of organizational expertise. If you’re interested in sharing your thoughts on how to make the Carbon Holiday project a reality, watch this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LY9gOCtM4aQ

and contact garydstark@gmail.com.