In this sneak peek of a powerful article from our Spring 2019 issue, Davie Philip discusses how we can use new stories of hope and resilience to inspire ourselves to tackle the challenges facing our planet. To read the full article, pick up a copy of the magazine at your local stockist or subscribe here.
Waking Up Together
The rebirth of community
By Davie Philip
“The good of the individual is contained in the good of all.” John Ruskin
The popularity of collaborative-based initiatives that enable people to meet their needs for food, energy, healthcare and housing, as well as facilitating the sharing and reuse of things, is definitely growing. There is no shortage of new, community-led models that could help reduce our ecological footprint while producing healthier and more resilient villages, towns and city neighbourhoods.
People are definitely waking up, however our society is still driven by values of self-interest, competition and individualism and most people are fast asleep to the existential crises we now face. In a speech at the UN climate conference in Poland last year, David Attenborough warned that the world was facing its “greatest threat in thousands of years” and that “If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.” Yet, despite the overwhelming evidence, most seem oblivious. Of course it’s not just climate breakdown – we also face many unprecedented emergencies.
Adapting to the massive challenges ahead and transforming our society will not be easy. I think the most effective responses will be found at the local scale. It will be important to find replicable examples of how, at other times and in other places, people have sustained themselves and lived a good life in balance with the natural world. More than ever we need stories to inspire us.
Not only is another world possible, it is already being lived. There are local communities throughout the world and across the country that are acting as living-laboratories, prototyping low carbon and equitable ways of life that bring wellbeing to all.
Davie Philip is a community catalyst at Cultivate, the sustainability cooperative based in Cloughjordan Ecovillage. Cultivate will be illuminating stories of transformational local projects and hosting conversations around the country as part of their annual Convergence Festival in June. Interested?