In our Summer 2021 issue, Davie Philip shared some insights into how we can begin to embrace a more inclusive and sustainable worldview. We are in the process of moving from an ‘ego-system’ paradigm to an ‘ecosystem’ paradigm. Enjoy his words below.
In our Winter 2020/21 issue, our regular sustainability columnist Davie Philip wrote about the importance of local food sovereignty, and how this is key to developing our communities’ resilience in the years ahead.
Our resident sustainability and eco-living writer, Davie Philip, wrote a powerful piece on nurturing community connections in our Autumn 2020 issue. Read it below.
In our Summer 2020 issue, Davie Philip discussed how current world events have given us the opportunity to cultivate a deep sense of resilience, and re-envision how we connect to the world around us. Read on to experience his message of clarity and purpose!
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.
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.
In this extract from our Autumn 2018 issue, Davie Philip talks about how we can change our collective mindset to one of collaboration and openness.
“With our thoughts we make the world.” – Buddha
By Davie Philips
Change is constant. However, recently the pace seems to be accelerating. To cope with this, and to make the transition to a healthy society based on fairness, wellbeing and sustainability, we need to shift worldviews and open our minds and hearts to fresh ways of thinking. So what kind of thinking would enable us to flourish in uncertainty?
Currently, we are locked into an individualistic worldview where reductionist or mechanistic thinking dominates. This mindset breaks everything down into parts to be analysed and measured. By understanding the parts and how they function, we presume we can understand everything important there is to know about something. This reductionism is useful for understanding inanimate things, or simple systems like machines, but can be destructive when applied to living systems. It also tends to lead to a silo mentality, which is inward looking and resists sharing information and resources.
We justify our superiority over the environment when we think we are separate and with this worldview we create fragile, linear systems. Through the diversity and complexity of their webs of relationships, and by sharing resources across their boundaries, living systems increase wellbeing and resilience. Observing these patterns and principles of natural systems might provide us with vital insights into how to redesign our socioeconomic systems to be collaborative, regenerative and resilient.
So, how might we shift our thinking?
Our current way of thinking is rooted in the industrial revolution. This period of human development was dependent on a mechanistic worldview and has dominated and influenced our behaviour ever since. In integral philosophy, worldviews evolve by including and transcending preceding worldviews. So rather than an ecological mindset replacing a mechanistic one, instead it provides a different perspective and access to another type of knowledge with which to navigate the world.
We cannot make the transformation the world needs without making an inner transformation in our thinking. With an ecological worldview we think in terms of process, pattern, flow, connectedness, and relatedness. I believe that as we become more conscious we evolve to hold an ecological worldview. According to theologian Thomas Berry, we will then realize that we live in a world which is a “communion of subjects,” not just a “collection of objects.”
Davie Philip is a group facilitator and trainer who manages the Community Resilience programme at Cultivate. Davie is collecting stories of transformational community led projects: if you are involved in something in your area, do send him an e-mail.
In this sneak peek of Davie Philip’s article from our Spring issue, he talks about the hidden gifts that introverts have to offer to the world, and how they can learn to embrace and express them. The full article is available in our new magazine, which can be obtained at your local stockist or through a subscription.
By Davie Philip
“Everyone shines, given the right lighting. For some, it’s a Broadway spotlight, for others, a lamp lit desk.”
“David was a quiet wee laddie,” according to someone I went to school with whom my mother met recently in the Scottish town where I grew up. Although I now intentionally live in community and work as a group facilitator, I definitely have introvert tendencies. In an extrovert-dominated culture that appreciates the loudest and most outgoing, how do we ensure that the voices and contributions of people who are not as comfortable putting themselves out there are valued?
Over the years I have managed my social awkwardness and overcome a fear of public speaking and am now very comfortable addressing and working with large groups. That is, as long as the focus is on sustainable community or another topic that I am passionate about. Outside of my bubble I can lose my flow, be very quiet and sometimes be severely inhibited.
It was Carl Jung who first coined the terms introvert and extrovert, to describe his observations that people tend to be energised either by going inward in quiet reflection, or outward and are invigorated through interactions with people. Of course, it is a spectrum and our personalities and ways of navigating the world are a lot more complex. It is commonly perceived that all introverts are reserved, constantly quiet, and unsocial, however they are actually a very diverse group with a lot to offer the world.
I recommend reading Susan Cain’s book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking. It outlines the advantages and disadvantages of each temperament and the positive aspects of being an introvert. Cain cites research in biology, psychology, neuroscience and culture to explain that introversion is both common and normal, and notes that many of humankind’s most creative individuals and leaders throughout history were introverts.
By Davie Philip
In the ground beneath our feet, out of sight and out of mind, microscopic communities of bacteria, fungi, protozoa and nematodes are working away providing vital functions upon which our very lives depend. The health of our soil, therefore, is key to the health of our plants, our food and, as we are now discovering, exposure to it has many other benefits for our wellbeing. It is likely that our disconnection from the living world is at the root of our present mental health crisis and many of the other challenges we face today. We all know that being in nature makes us feel good, and the health benefits of gardening, working or even just taking a walk on the land are becoming more apparent. Soil is alive; a teaspoon of it can contain billions of bacteria. There is increasing proof that contact with a specific strain of bacterium in the soil, Mycobacterium vaccae, makes us happier and smarter. This triggers the release of serotonin; reducing anxiety and making us feel more positive.
Some soil bacterium can also be helpful in preventing or treating diseases. Our future really does depend on healthy soil. With intensive agriculture and an increasing urban population, soil degradation is a serious problem. It takes approximately 500 years to replace an inch of topsoil lost to erosion. Half of the planet’s topsoil has disappeared in the last 150 years, and 10 million hectares of productive land is lost annually, the equivalent of 30 football pitches per minute.
If we want to counter the damage, we must begin by fostering awareness and nurturing a reconnection to our land. To reverse further degradation of soils we need to accelerate the shift towards more sustainable, regenerative agricultural models and increase participation in the stewardship of our land. Cultivate, the civil society organisation I work with, are the Irish partners in GROW, an EU-funded project setting out to empower citizens to become active guardians of our soil. Commercial organic growers, students, community gardeners and all sorts of growers will use sensors and other equipment to complete experiments and monitor and better understand their soil. They can then share their own data and learn from the results of the wider community. Increased availability of low-cost sensing technologies has opened up all sorts of new possibilities for collaborative data collection and sense making. GROW is a citizen observatory, where people of all ages and backgrounds can help with the monitoring of our soils at an EU-wide level, assisting organisations like the Met Office and policy makers in climate change adaptation and sustainable land use. As well as measuring soil quality, these engaged citizens will develop knowledge and practical skills to regenerate depleted soils. Do you have an allotment or own a small farm? Are you involved in a community or school garden? Do you want to develop your knowledge on soil and skills in growing food? Do you want to be part of a movement preserving soil for future generations? If the answer to any of these questions is yes then email email@example.com to get involved.
davie Philip firstname.lastname@example.org is a community catalyst at Cultivate cultivate.ie and is based in Cloughjordan ecovillage, thevillage.ie. He is curating the Convergence festival in September 2017 on the topic of Citizen engaged, Community Led Transitions. To join the conversation email email@example.com
Co-ops: The Original Social Enterprise
By Davie Philip
I spent my summer commoning, practising the forgotten art of co-operation. I am most alive when I am collaborating with others, and I believe change only happens as networks of relationships form between people working together on a common endeavour. As a business model, co-operatives are fundamentally different to conventional profit-driven companies. They are founded on the values of self-help, participation, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. They are the original social enterprises and more awareness of their benefits may be incredibly beneficial to all of us.
Recently I moved back into the Ecovillage, the sustainable neighbourhood in Cloughjordan, which is now home to 130 people, 15 businesses, a communitysupported farm, Ireland’s largest community-owned, renewable-energy heating system and an enterprise centre. The biggest challenge we have is working out how we work together to ensure everyone’s needs are met. Through Cultivate, the co-op that I have worked through since 2000, I co-facilitated a number of events this summer on the topic of community ownership and resilience.
These included the Art of Commoning, a three-day summer school that brought people together to discuss the question: What becomes possible when we harness our collective capacity in service of the commons? Following this, we co-curated the Global Green pop-up ecovillage, the sustainability area of the Electric Picnic festival where commoners from 40 community-led initiatives demonstrated the art of commoning to 45,000 revellers.