This guest post is by Meghan Hughes. She has been involved in a variety of environmental groups including Greenpeace, the Save Happy Valley campaign and the Green Party. She has recently finished a Masters in New Zealand Literature and lives in Wellington. She is married to Green Party MP Gareth Hughes, but is proud to claim all her opinions as totally her own.
“Until they personally run their own lives without fossil fuels I’m not prepared to consider their position about not extracting fossil fuels.” Dunedin city councillor, former ACT MP Hilary Calvert.
Hypocrisy (n): the practice of claiming to have higher standards or more laudable opinions or beliefs than is the case. Oxford English Dictionary.
Driving a car to an oil-free protest makes you a hypocrite, right? Wrong: I support an oil-free future in the long term. I agree with divesting from oil exploration in the short term. Ultimately, I believe in moving from a fossil-dependent economy toward a sustainable and more environmentally-responsible economy. What underpins my stance is the reality of man-made climate change and the need for man-made societal change. However, there are people out there who would want me to believe that unless I am able to live my life, run my household, and raise my kids without utilising any products of our oil-dependent society, I have no right to demand anything different. They say to do so would mean that I am a hypocrite. Right?
Wrong. Most of the people making this kind of absurd allegation really don’t care about a genuine response. It is a tactic to shut you down. Unsurprisingly, many of these same people refuse to acknowledge that we are changing our climate, so reject also the responsibly we share in doing something about it. So this isn’t for them, this is for you. This is to tell you that it is ok to drive your car to an oil-free protest.