I recently heard an interviewer ask someone who their heroes are, and was struck by the lack of names that came up when I asked myself the same question (although Dr. James Hansen now springs to mind…)
But now I think I have one, having discovered the brave story of Robin Bank (AKA Enric Duran). He is a Catalan activist who spent the two years to 2008 taking out loans totalling nearly half a million euros, and then donated all of the money to various social movements working to build alternatives to our unequal and suicidal economic-political system. His video message revealing what he had done and explaining his motives is posted above. I consider it one of the most inspiring stories of insight and resultant action that I have yet heard.
Edit – Dec 2011 – A new video has been posted in which Duran speaks about the ‘Catalan Integrated Cooperative’ project – this complements his ‘financial civil disobedience’ with the hard work of practically demonstrating his thoughts on viable alternatives.
…Incidentally, having reflected on my initial struggle to come up with examples of my heroes, I think that it may have been partly due to being in the very fortunate position of actually knowing and working with some of the most inspirational people I know of. I don’t think of them as my ‘heroes’, but I have some seriously awesome friends
And I’ve recently discovered another hero, who I would like to introduce you to – ‘Bidder 70‘, Tim DeChristopher, who is facing up to ten years in jail for following his conscience and successfully protecting ‘Federally Protected’ land in the U.S.A. His story is told in the below news clip:
Edit – Jan 2012 – An honest, unguarded interview with Tim has just been published in Orion magazine. It has deeply affected me and significantly changed my thinking on how I use my time.
“Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul” – Edward Abbey