I feel like an elder in the metaphorical Nyala herd of Life, still possessing long horns and a strong fighting spirit, but scarred, streetwise, and short of patience. I believe that some individuals are born with an innate, genuine sense of moral outrage, which can only find expression through meaningful and productive action. It’s important to remember that “action” lies at the heart of the word “activist.”

Back in ’73, when I was eleven years old, I wrote a poem about pollution for a school assignment. I took my inspiration from the “Archie” comics, where the “Letters” page was filled with poems addressing the prevalent environmental issue of that time, relevant, visionary material written by a juvenile readership. Through this experience, I discovered the power of social action as my poem went on to win international prizes, and drew attention to and from my generation, despite the controversial nature of the topic.

During the 1980s, in my early twenties, I was passionately hot-headed, in the throes of an “angry young man” affliction, and a politically-engaged university student. I transformed into an anti-apartheid activist not solely out of sympathy for the oppressed citizens but because I found it logically unjust to condemn an entire race for the misdeeds of a few individuals deliberately deprived of education. This contradiction troubled my moral compass, and I couldn’t reconcile it. Consequently, I became involved in challenging the system and paid the price by being briefly detained without trial. This period also led me to extensively study the works of Pyotr Alexeyevich Kropotkin, a Russian activist, and understand the moral principle of “mutual aid.” This solidified my political—or perhaps more accurately, non-political—ethical code, emphasizing the transformative power of collective action, where people working together can achieve far more than any hierarchical government ever could.

During my military service from 1984 to 1985 – a mandatory experience to avoid a lifetime of imprisonment (I most certainly wasn’t a Mandela), I would be asked about my political stance, to which I would simply retort. I simply retort, “to the left of communism.” This incident was reported, and I underwent a court-martial, resulting in the stripping of my rank under the scorching Namibian sun during a parade. This period granted me firsthand experience of witnessing the preservation of an autocratic and bigoted ruling power, as well as the brainwashing required to maintain it. I saw young individuals barely out of school cheering on the brutal massacre of women and children in traditional villages by their fellow soldiers.

I continued my fight for environmental restitution, and one particularly cherished project involved relocating Giant African Bullfrogs (Pyxiecephalus Adspersus) to their ancestral waterways. These magnificent creatures hibernate for up to eight years and emerge from the ground when a specific amount of rainfall occurs, engaging in a frenzy of feeding and reproduction. Due to real estate development, they were on the endangered list. I have photos of my young children carrying these massive amphibians, and I take pride in having been bitten by a male estimated to be about forty-five years old. You see, I believe that environmental resistance is futile unless one’s heart and mind are fully committed to the required action.

In 1990, I had the opportunity to briefly meet the iconic Nelson Mandela at Ellis Park, a sports stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa, during a music festival shortly after his release from prison. When I say “meet,” it was more of a moment or two because his charisma and presence were so overwhelming, so palpable, it was like walking into a brick wall. In this small encounter, I learned about the power of personality and the serene, unshakeable conviction required for effective social change.

As an advocate of anarcho-capitalism (believing that leaderless competition fosters the best outcomes in and for societies), I frequently encountered objections once I explained that anarchism does not necessarily imply chaos. It does not involve the caricatured round bombs from cartoons (disregarding the Anarchist’s Cookbook), black flags, or riotous disorder, an interpretation perpetuated by Big Media for dramatic effect. Critics argued that such a society was impractical in the present day because it placed too much responsibility on a disorganized, dependent, escapist, and entitled humanity. unwilling to recognize or acknowledge a problem or situation.

However, twenty-two years ago, I confronted my addiction disorder and joined recovery peer-based fellowships, where I experienced genuine and effective anarchism firsthand. Everyone came together, in solidarity and communion, and worked together to ensure the sustainability of the organization for future generations, without directly-expressed rules, and the heavy hand of authority. It came down to a willingness to abandon all the posturing, just to get things done and to build lives.

In 2009, I traveled to the North-West Province of South Africa to construct a road leading to a school for an indigenous community governed by an ancestral chief. During the construction, we were required by conditional legislation based on the empowerment principle of Apartheid restitution to repair collapsed boreholes for the community, to source our labor force from the local community, and we went so far as to “donate” our temporary construction yard to be used as a vegetable garden, complete with a high-security fence. Additionally, we assisted in earth-turning and de-silting the community dam. This prompted me to ask a headman why I had not yet been asked for a bribe, as payola is a prevalent, crippling issue in the country, exacerbating, and insinuating into every nook and cranny of the social structure today. I was informed that while bribes solely benefit the individual receiving them, contributions to the community benefit everyone, including the intended beneficiaries. This deepened my understanding of the native principle of “Ubuntu,” a very spiritual profound, keen, and cute element of the African communal psyche, and yet another example of practical anarchism in action. I believe that anarchic principles offer the best approach to mitigating climate change, as they transcend politics, permissions, and authority. They enable individuals and their communities to reclaim independence and power, and sovereignty of their reality, and their practical environments.

I identify myself as an environmental anarchist and am intense – in the absolute sense – willing to visibly advocate for change at this apocalyptic time. I do not believe that spraying buildings red or vandalizing the gardens of oil companies serves any authentic purpose in advancing the material aspects of global heating mitigation. Such tactics, invented and overused by Greenpeace are so last-century, have no place in the current urgency and complexity of environmental crisis.

I believe that all my experiences on the various fronts of social issues have converged to bring me to this moment. The right to survive as present-day humans and secure the futures of our children, ensuring the survival of as many species as possible, surpasses the manipulations of politics and the influence of big commerce. It transcends the principles and possessions we collectively hold dear.