Disruption is not wisdom.
That distinction was lost on a group of climate activists who believed Wednesday morning commuters would see Boston traffic gripped and take up arms against fossil fuels.
There is nothing like intentionally stopping people from getting to where they need to be to awaken solidarity with one’s cause.
“We are disrupting traffic because we need to wake up society and treat the climate crisis: an emergency. We cannot go about our daily lives as if nothing is happening. is,” Extinction Rebellion member James Comiskey said in a statement distributed by the group.
People have to go about their daily lives regardless – and that includes going to work, appointments, classes, meetings and various events that they had to be on time for Wednesday morning.
Minutes after the workers were arrested at the Leverett Circle Connector, state police spokesman David Procopio said two ambulances drove through the area. Did the protesters consider that Wednesday morning traffic might include ambulances and other emergency vehicles?
Why should protesters care? When you’re throwing a wrench into other people’s plans, the most important thing is to shout the loudest, hold your poster high, and get the most attention with your antics. But the choice of target beyond the meaningless public gesture is surprising.
Activists said they were disrupting traffic to draw attention to their demand to ban new fossil fuel infrastructure in the state.
According to WalletHub’s 2022 rankings, Massachusetts is the sixth greenest state. The website compared states’ environmental quality, eco-friendly practices and climate change contributions.
We are number 6, just behind California.
Last month, Gov. Baker signed into law a landmark climate change law requiring all new cars sold in the state to run on electric or hydrogen power by 2035.
Does this sound like a state that is dragging its feet on reducing carbon emissions?
Activists also said Massachusetts should ban all new residential gas hookups.
The new Climate Change Act allows 10 municipalities to ban fossil fuel heating in new buildings, according to EnergyWire.
And as the Herald reports, Mayor Michelle Wu has proposed that Boston ban gas service in new building construction.
Cities and towns, including Boston, are already doing what activists see as necessary to fight climate change. But “We demand you keep doing what you’re doing” won’t make for a catchy slogan.
The group also wants construction on a $55 million gas-fired power plant to be built in Peabody halted and plans to build a $33 million pipeline in Springfield halted.
So you oppose plans in Peabody and Springfield by protesting in Boston.
The group released a message ahead of the events: “Join us Wednesday morning as we call on rush hour commuters to make some noise and stop the fossil fuel industry, NOW!” The message said.
Making some noise is not the same as making a serious point.
After all, as Shakespeare wrote, “It’s all sound and fury, with no sign.”