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PEOPLE POWER & PAPARAZZI


I’m no alchemist, but I know the magic and power of celebrity- driven paparazzi to incite change.


I met the delightful and also driven celebrity Daryl Hannah when she called me at the Rainforest Action Network looking to help. Recently, Daryl and I hooked up as arrest buddies for a big action in Washington, D.C. The story and more is below.


Some believe the word “paparazzi” comes from a 1960 Fellini film and has to do with that annoying buzz of a mosquito in your ear. Daryl and I believe it will take more than an annoying buzz of paparazzi to create what is needed. How about a great societal U-turn? Our vision is to reverse directions and head to a much more socially just and ecologically sustainable


society––a happier place for all of us and the lovely creatures whose collective web is the foundation supporting life on earth.


In December of 2009, world leaders gathered like alchemists at the Copenhagen climate-change meeting. Money matters in that fight, and they were hoping to conjure up some silver and gold to finance a tolerable planet to live on. Numbers also matter in this fight for survival, and getting the greenhouse gases back down to 350 PPM (Parts Per Million) might save us and a lot of species in the mighty Amazon. Wilderness matters as well.


At a Copenhagen session, journalist Bill McKibben and I pondered what it would be like to get a thousand nonviolent people arrested in Washington, D.C.– maybe surrounding the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest lobby group. These business sorts don’t seem to get the importance of the world’s tropical rainforests or a tolerable climate for our


by Randy Hayes


spinning little planet. The plan shifted a bit, and Bill’s heroic group, 350.org, along with Rainforest Action Network and others got organized. The result was more than twelve hundred people arrested for civil dis- obedience and for demanding a giant NO to an ecologically ugly oil pipeline (yes, that’s redundant) that would stretch from Canada to the U.S. The burnt oil, of course, would soak worldwide into our blue sky, defying the purpose of the Copenhagen Climate talks.


Wave after wave of people sat nonviolently in front of the White House and were indeed arrested. The paparazzi came and cameras flared as Daryl got handcuffed and was led away. Once out of jail, she hit the TV show circuit. What many don’t know is that she continued feeding interviews to the press for days. The story reach was impressive. A “friend” of mine visiting China saw it and wrote, “Who is that ole guy sitting next to Daryl?”


32 | OriginMagazine.com


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