Davie Philip – one of our regular columnists – is a community catalyst and facilitator at cultivate.ie, the sustainability cooperative based in Cloughjordan Ecovillage. We love this article he wrote for our Spring 2020 issue, discussing how community resilience, caring and connectedness are key to tackling climate change. Read on to find out more.
A Decade of New Beginnings
Build Community, Connect to Nature
by Davie Philip
“You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.” – Angela Davis
You could say that the 2020s will be the defining decade for our species. With storms, floods and wildfires of biblical proportion, along with unprecedented protests by young people, 2019 was the year that we finally woke up to the climate and ecological emergency. It is being called an existential threat to our civilisation and scientists are telling us that we have ten years to turn things around before we are locked into runaway climate breakdown. The root causes include deforestation, habitat destruction, soil erosion, species loss, pollution, rampant consumerism, fragmented communities, obscene inequality and an epidemic of loneliness. These issues are all interconnected and our response needs to be more holistic, and deeper than just reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
We urgently need a decade of new beginnings, with change that goes way beyond what we can currently imagine. It is not surprising that people feel helpless in the face of such enormous challenges. Driving an electric car, recycling, avoiding flying and eating less meat should be done, but will not be enough. Ultimately this is a relationship crisis, and is a unique opportunity to rethink our long-standing separation from nature and transform the way we connect to ourselves and to each other. If ground-breaking change is needed – let’s break new ground. Here are some suggestions of things to consider that might help us reconnect and cope with the uncertainties of these times.
Nurture Inner Resilience
A changing climate will have impacts on our mental health and increase emotional distress and anxiety. Slow down, be aware of your shadow and social programming, decolonise your mind, maintain a daily meditation and stretching practice, and spend more time outdoors with friends and family.
Collectively we can achieve a lot more than we can do on our own. Reconnect to your place, relocalise and join, or initiate, cooperative initiatives like community-supported agriculture systems, local energy projects, or car clubs. These can improve the resilience and economic prospects of our local communities while strengthening relationships with the people around us. Connect and converse with people outside your bubble – with racism, cynicism and intolerance on the rise, it’s important we listen more to people with different opinions.
Connect to Nature
Changing our relationship to the natural world and spending more time in it is essential to the quality of our mental health and is closely tied to our sense of well-being. Let children explore and interact with the natural world with little supervision. Rewild and regenerate degraded and damaged ecosystems. By feeling part of nature and loving it we are more likely to protect and not destroy it.Let’s ensure that the 2020s are remembered as the decade where we responded to the greatest challenges of our time and began working to radically transform the world. Together, let’s co-create the future that we always wanted while supporting each other and the organisations working for positive change.
Davie Philip is a community catalyst and facilitator at cultivate.ie, the sustainability cooperative based in Cloughjordan Ecovillage, and a network weaver with ecolise.eu, the European network for community-led initiatives on climate change and sustainability.