When you show up to defend nuclear energy, it encourages others to realize they are not alone. When you visibly support nuclear energy, it makes it more acceptable for others to be pronuclear. For me: “Show up to help others show up” is the most important statement for pro-nuclear advocacy.
Anti-nuclear groups are very effective at taking over the public discourse, and making it seem as if: “Of course, everyone hates nuclear energy.” Once “everyone hates it” is the general belief, pro-nuclear people are afraid to speak out.
Nobody wants to be alone. Everyone needs to feel they are with friends, that someone “has my back.” Therefore, nuclear supporters need to be visible. We need to show up in order to encourage other supporters to show up.
The picture above shows pro-nuclear and anti-nuclear people, lining up to sign up to speak at a hearing about Vermont Yankee in 2012. Many of the pro-nuclear people are wearing green buttons, and many of the opponents are wearing radiation-danger buttons. There were plenty of people on each side. Therefore, both sides felt comfortable speaking. Because people on both sides—showed up.
I have been in meetings in which there were far more opponents than supporters. In some of these meetings, opponents shouted and chanted, hoping to intimidate and silence pro-nuclear speakers. Opponents can’t do this as effectively if the numbers are closer to even.
Just be there. Not everyone is comfortable speaking in public, especially when the audience is (at least partially) hostile. But you can show support by being there. Not everyone has to be articulate. Not everyone has to speak.
Sit in the audience. Wear your green pro-nuclear button. Encourage your friends. “Show up to help others show up.” Be there. It matters.