I am Che.
Too pretentious? Please allow me an explanation.
I’ve been called Che. And also the Gandhi of climate science. And Jesus. And, by a two-year-old unable to pronounce my name, God. Calling me Che Guevara doesn’t seem so pretentious now, does it?
Like Che, I am a warrior. Those with less fortitude would have surrendered long ago to the cacophony of culture. As I wrote more than five years ago, “We need witnesses and warriors” on behalf the living planet. The longer version comes from an essay I wrote in November 2013: “We need witnesses to the carnage. We need to document the crimes against humanity as well as the crimes against nature. We need to illustrate alternatives, and then live them. We need warriors if the living planet is to survive industrial civilization.”
Like Che, I love being outdoors. From childhood to a career in field biology, from a college degree in forestry to my current life in full view of the world’s first designated wilderness area, I’m purposely immersed in the wild.
Like Che, I provide a voice for those who cannot speak. The oppressed are my brethren. In my case, these include non-human organisms.
Like Che, I seek social justice. Unlike Che — based on my limited understanding of his perspective — I’ve been connecting it to environmental protection for a long time.
Like Che, I am a prolific writer. He was radicalized much earlier in his life than I was in mine.
Like Che, I am profoundly anti-empire. Like Che, I target American Empire as the worse example in history.
Like Che and many who visit this space, I think deeply. On many topics, I question the dominant culture and its narrative, a practice with little reward beyond a largess of hate mail.
Unlike Che, I don’t brandish a rifle, nor do I ride a motorcycle. On both counts, I suspect I’d be more effective if I followed his rebellious lead.
Unlike Che, for better and worse, I’ve not been killed yet. I’ve already outlived him by more than 15 years.
Unlike Che, as nearly as I’m able to determine, I’ve not yet killed another human. Well, not directly. I’m certain I’ve killed many people indirectly, simply because I’m a citizen ensconced within history’s worst example of imperialism.
Like Che, I eat, drink, and otherwise participate in modern society. Ergo, I’m a hypocrite and murderer.
You are Che, too. With a single breath, you inhale a single molecule that emanates from Che’s last exhalation.
We are Che. Much as this culture promotes the opposite belief, we are connected in material ways.
I am Che.