It means helping everyone who makes day-to-day decisions to be more environmentally friendly. According to Google Trends, in the last 90 days, search interest in “How to Live a Sustainable Lifestyle” has increased by more than 4,550%.
As many of us find our new normal while sheltering at home, we wanted to share some of our favourite simple sustainability tips.
Saving the planet is saving money.
If I would tell you that storing your food in the right place, freezing the leftovers, using the dishwasher (instead of washing dishes by hand), and turning the water heater down just a few degrees could help protect the environment, you might think that it sounds too simple.
However, the biggest impact on the planet comes from only three things: food, water and energy use.
If each of us makes a few small changes, we can all make a big difference (and save money while doing it).
According to Google, the “how-to” search has seen a spike in sustainability queries related to food, recycling and composting.
“How to freeze” has been a popular question. Here are a few of the answers I found particularly helpful:
1. How to freeze milk? Place the milk in your freezer in its original plastic container or glass freezer-safe container. Make sure to leave room to allow the milk to expand, so remove some milk if needed. When you’re ready to use the frozen milk, allow it to thaw in the fridge.
2. How to freeze eggs? To freeze whole eggs, you simply mix the eggs together and pour the mixture into either an ice cube tray or a freezer-safe container or bag. If you will need to use individual eggs, it would make more sense to make sure each ice cube tray holds only one egg so that you can easily separate them.
3. How to freeze broccoli? Broccoli—florets and stems—must be blanched for effective freezing. If you freeze it raw, you’ll wind up with bitter, drab green, shrivelled stems. Blanching or steaming preserves the bright green colour and tasty flavour. You can either blanch in boiling water for three minutes or steam for five minutes.
So, what are the most powerful actions for sustainable living from home?
1. Reducing plastic waste and switching to reusables.
2. Take care of your energy and water consumption, if you can install some energy-efficient lightbulbs and taps, do it!
3. Opting for local produce.
4. Embracing natural cleaning products.
5. Rejecting fast fashion. Just stop buying clothes.
6. Reducing single-use plastic consumption.
7. Composting, you can also invite your neighbours!
8. Reusing and recycling as many items as possible.
9. Sleep well, if you sleep well, you reduce your anxiety, and with this, your consumption of food and energy.
10. Opt for board games or a book if you feel bored.
11. Save your money in ethical banks (We will discuss it more in a future post at The Global School)
Nature-based solutions harness the power of nature to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and also help us adapt to the impacts of climate change. They are win-win solutions that involve protecting, restoring and sustainably managing ecosystems to address society’s challenges and promote human well-being.
Forests are probably the most well-known nature-based solution for climate change, but there are many more – including peatlands, mangroves, wetlands, savannahs, coral reefs and other landscapes.
More and more NGOs, Activists and Educational Institutions are advocating for this concept, as a viable and powerful solution to tackle climate change and ecosystem collapse. This is the case of The Biomimicry Institute, a non-profit organization that equips people with a process to create nature-inspired solutions for a healthy planet.
In a 9 chapters series, the Biomimicry Institute showcases how innovators from around the world are learning from nature to solve global challenges. At The Global School for Social Leaders, we love these amazing NGOs bringing great solutions with powerful messages:
1. How marine habitats are informing new concrete designs.
ECOncrete offers products that facilitate the growth and regeneration of local marine species and strengthen structures over time through a process known as bio-protection. Inspired by beach rock formations, coral polyps, oyster shells, mangrove roots, and other marine habitats and life forms, ECOncrete embodies biomimicry’s design intention: to learn from and mimic forms and processes found in nature to create regenerative solutions. Nature-Based Solutions:
2. How butterflies inspired a new type of paint.
Cypris Materials has developed a tunable structural colour coating that can be applied directly to surfaces as a paint. Their technology can improve the building and automobile energy efficiency by reflecting UV, visible, and infrared light, and it expands the available colour pallet while eliminating the use of toxic pigments and colourants. Nature-Based Solutions:
3. How trees inspired a new way to dispose of human waste.
change:WATER Labs (cWL) has developed a new way to dispose of human waste – by evaporating out the water! This technology emerged from work done for NASA on wastewater recycling on the International Space Station and is now being deployed in off-grid rural communities and refugee communities. Nature-Based Solutions:
This moment humanity is going through can now be seen as a portal and as a hole. The decision to fall into the hole or go through the portal is up to you. Lessons from Indigenous to resist the crisis.
If you repent of the problem and consume the news 24 hours a day, with little energy, nervous all the time, with pessimism, you will fall into the hole. But if you take this opportunity to look at yourself, rethink life and death, take care of yourself and others, you will cross the portal. Take care of your homes, take care of your body. Connect with your spiritual House.
When you are taking care of yourselves, you are taking care of everything else. Do not lose the spiritual dimension of this crisis; have the eagle aspect from above and see the whole; see more broadly.
There is a social demand in this crisis, but there is also a spiritual demand — the two go hand in hand. Without the social dimension, we fall into fanaticism. But without the spiritual dimension, we fall into pessimism and lack of meaning.
You were prepared to go through this crisis. Take your toolbox and use all the tools available to you.
This is a resistance strategy. In shamanism, there is a rite of passage called the quest for vision. You spend a few days alone in the forest, without water, without food, without protection. When you cross this portal, you get a new vision of the world, because you have faced your fears, your difficulties.
This is what is asked of you: Allow yourself to take advantage of this time to perform your vision-seeking rituals.
What world do you want to build for you? For now, this is what you can do, serenity in the storm. Calm down, pray every day. Establish a routine to meet the sacred every day. Good things emanate; what you emanate now is the most important thing. And sing, dance, resist through art, joy, faith, and love.
Learn about the resistance of the indigenous and African peoples; we have always been, and continue to be, exterminated. But we still haven’t stopped singing, dancing, lighting a fire, and having fun. Don’t feel guilty about being happy during this difficult time. You do not help at all being sad and without energy.
You help if good things emanate from the Universe now. It is through joy that one resists. Also, when the storm passes, each of you will be very important in the reconstruction of this new world. You need to be well and strong.
And for that, there is no other way than to maintain a beautiful, happy, and bright vibration. This has nothing to do with alienation.
White Eagle, Hopi indigenous: Lessons from Indigenous to resist the crisis
White Eagle is the name given to the wise teacher and philosopher who guided the
formation of the White Eagle Lodge. The name White Eagle in the Native American
tradition is symbolic and means a spiritual teacher.
The white eagle soars far into the heavens above the emotions and turmoils of the earth and sees things from a different perspective.
No true spiritual teacher ever makes claims about themselves – they come in simplicity and humility.
Have you also seen the exponential surge of Wellness and Wellbeing courses, coaches, workshop, retreats, etc.?
COVID-19 is forcing us to rethink our wellbeing, however, we have crashed to the wall: Happiness is expensive, this is the case of Europe.
For some of us who come from the global south, we find the concept of happiness as a commodity, extremely weird and complex, more related to the industrialised world than a universal value. Now, everyone wants access to happiness, but none dare to challenge the status quo of an accumulation based society anxious by consumerism:
Like working out harder to lose weight but keep eating pizza every night.
You are paying more for “happiness” than taxes.
Recently, a study was released about how expensive is Happiness in Europe, published by Mckinsey: The pandemic’s negative impact on well-being in April was up to 3.5 times the losses experienced in GDP; This means, for every euro lost due to the economic burden, 3 euros were lost due to life-dissatisfaction.1
For example, If you are earning a salary of 2,700 euros per month, the economic collapse due to COVID-19 wiped out on average 540 euros of that salary, but your life-dissatisfaction wiped out 1,620 euros, transforming your real salary into 1,080 euros per month or a cut of 60% of your salary!1
Happiness is expensive in Europe and getting more and more expensive. If you embed this, into the ecological footprint of every European country, consuming 3 up to 9 countries available resources, or per capita: 2.8 planets for satisfying the European consumer2, turns out that European happiness is expensive, luxury, exclusive and an unsustainable goal, near 10 times more expensive than any other human in the world (Except USAmericans).
Furthermore, if you consider the high addiction of alcohol and drugs in Europe, 200% higher than in the global south countries 3, you start to draw a better picture of the problem:
OurExpensive, Destructive and Non-sustainable life-dissatisfaction for ourselves and the planet.
What about the world happiness report? Well, it just confirms it.
Even the WHP, where Europe ranks on top, acknowledges this: Industrialised societies relies mainly on GDP and income for their life-satisfaction, reducing happiness to a simple commodity.
Unlike the Happy Planet Index, placing ourecological footprint and personal wellbeing as the key components of life satisfaction, ranking on top the countries close to the Ecuador.
Communities around the world are begging rich countries to reduce consumption, and learn how to live happier and sustainably, like the campaign from the Himalayas #ILiveSimply, where people highly hit by climate change, are joining to call the world in a single shot out:
“Please live simply, so others can simply live¨
Now we see funded research, training, certifications, workshops, etc. An army of persons is trying to incorporate wellbeing to their everyday life, but at the same time, they find themselves caught in a complex system based on high consumption fuelled by an anxious economy.
As a foreigner in this land, I often face the same feeling when another foreigner goes to my country and I find out that people still buy water in plastic bottles for survival.
Water is a human right, and it should be available cost-free. Can happiness be considered as essential as water for our existence?
I want to believe that all this wellbeing, wellness and happiness movement in Europe and industrial countries are based in an inside-out transformation for the well of our relationship with ourselves and our planet, but numbers say otherwise, maybe moments of happiness will become another commodity in this accumulation-based society.
In only a few weeks of reduced physical exercise, heightened stress and anxiety, limited access to diagnostics and care are likely to have longer-term health consequences for every European resident, which eventually will turn out in a public health issue and a priority for policymakers.
How can policymakers design real wellbeing policies after a long tradition of enlightenment and individual responsibility?
How can governments think not only beyond GDP but activities, incentives and metrics for a mentally healthy society? Is possible a European policy on living happily with less? Happiness is expensive and is getting out of control.
Furthermore, how can Europe think about holistic development and personal wellbeing in the middle of a technological war where Europe has decided to stand up and oil the economic machinery as a geopolitical strategy, putting even more pressure to its taxpayers (aka citizens).
It´s an unknown territory where there is no book or manual written, where it´s finally time to open our minds into a more holistic approach on the development, more human and less economical, on how other cultures live more prosperous with less impact in their mental health and the health of the planet.
A New Formula of Happiness. Our development framework.
After more than 10 years of working in more than 20 countries across 4 continents, and having a sensitive understanding of what the most satisfying cultures have in common,
I have summed them up in 3 easy goals: the Humanity Development Goals (HDGs), an inside-out invitation to rethink development in a holistic way rather than a single policy intervention. The HDGs complement and go beyond The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
1. Mckinsey Group. Report: Well-being in Europe: Addressing the high cost of COVID-19 on life satisfaction: https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/europe/well-being-in-europe-addressing-the-high-cost-of-covid-19-on-life-satisfaction
2. Footprint Network Report 2019.
3. Our World in Data. https://www.footprintnetwork.org/content/uploads/2019/05/WWF_GFN_EU_Overshoot_Day_report.pdf
“Because mindsets and paradigms guide behaviors, changing them can have a profound impact… People who manage to intervene in systems at the level of paradigm hit a leverage point that totally transform systems.” — Donna Meadows, lead author, Limits to Growth²
1. Beyond GDP: Towards SDGs and Wellbeing.
While development efforts showcase success stories, such as the decrease in the number of people living in extreme poverty, the current paradigm is unable to fully explain successes and failures of development interventions. As we increasingly live beyond our planetary boundaries, inequality and mental health issues have been rising, and happiness and wellbeing remain elusive for many around the world.
Furthermore, given the number of crises — from climate change to COVID19 — alongside the ambitious nature of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), there is an urgent need to investigate the effectiveness of the 20th-century human development paradigm for the 21st century.
While the current human development approach shifted the development focus from Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to a somewhat broader perspective some 30 years ago, we have not made major progress since to truly advance human development in a holistic manner.
Calls for a more holistic human development paradigm are supported by the Beyond GDP movement as well as other wellbeing initiatives around the world,³ and the need has also been recognized by the United Nations’ General Assembly (resolution 65/309: Happiness: towards a holistic approach to development, 2011). Global mindsets are very similar to paradigms in that they are the source of manifesting systems. As Achim Steiner, UNDP’s Administrator stated:
“We are now on the verge of shifting into an economic paradigm that is not about communism or capitalism; it is about recalibrating equity and sustainability into a development paradigm.” ⁴
2. Key Questions
Based on the need to rethink human development, the following key questions come to mind:
How can we shift towards a holistic development mindset that advances physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing?
Are we willing to leapfrog to an enlightened paradigm that recognizes and develops humans as multi-dimensional beings?
How to harmoniously advance the wellbeing of both people and the planet?
We protect and develop what we cherish, what we feel part of and connected with. Therefore, how can we nurture three essential connections: with our inner being, our communities and Mother Nature? The opportunity to create a new paradigm for the 21st century comes from combining current science with timeless wisdom. Could the root causes and transformative power of human development be within us?
3. Inspiration from Bhutan
Some countries have not fallen into the trap of blindly pursuing GDP and materialistic growth. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) awarded Bhutan with a Special Award of Recognition for holistically advancing human development in 2019.⁵ Bhutan famously declared Gross National Happiness (GNH) to be more important than GDP.
GNH is a holistic and sustainable approach to development, which is based on 9 pillars that balance material and non-material values.
It is noteworthy that GNH is not to be confused with a shallow understanding of fleeting happiness. Rather, GNH is a multi-dimensional approach which some argue is more holistic than the SDGs, given that it also entails dimensions such as psychological wellbeing, time use, community vitality, amongst others. The COVID19 crisis has amplified the importance of mental health.
Even before the crisis began, a staggering 800,000 people die due to suicide every year globally.⁶
Furthermore, Bhutan is heralded as a global example of a carbon-negative country that lives in harmony with nature. It is a biodiversity hotspot and is often seen as a leader in sustainable tourism. Its strong emphasis on health and protecting communities is seen as a success factor and has allowed the country to notably handle the COVID19 crisis.
It is evident that Bhutan’s enlightened development approach and leadership has led to extraordinary poverty reduction while protecting the environment.⁷
“Our generation is called upon to rethink, to redefine the true purpose of growth and, in doing so, to find a growth that is truly sustainable.
We must never forget that, for lasting peace and happiness in this world, the journey forward has to be one that we must all make together… It all starts with leadership of the self”.⁸— His Majesty the 5th King of Bhutan, 2011
4. The Blind Spot: Mindsets
The strong focus of development assistance on external factors and measurable progress has left aside an understanding of internal factors and potential hidden root causes. Internal factors such as mindsets can play a transformative role in people’s, nations’ and humanity’s development journey.
While there has been researching on behavioural insights, self-empowerment, personal development, leadership and transformation in some specialized fields such as psychology, sociology, philosophy and neuroscience, there has been no — or minimal — direct connections made to human development approaches. There is indeed a significant knowledge gap on inner dimensions, which are more difficult to measure — such as people’s mindsets.
These ‘soft’ inner factors have, so far, not been well considered in the field of human development, in contrast to ‘hard’ indicators such as income levels, life expectancy and years of education.
This underscores the need for a new holistic approach that takes the interaction between internal and external factors into account, for development to be transformative and advance sustainable wellbeing for people and planet. As Nobel peace prize winner Prof. Muhammad Yunus illuminates: “Unless we change our mind we cannot change the world.” ⁹
5. The Key Role of Mindsets
Mindsets are the invisible leverage point to be included in a new 21st-century human development paradigm. Mindsets are made up of our deep beliefs, attitudes and values; they frame our thinking and therefore determine our behaviour, life experiences and journey.
They influence how people lead their lives, how they vote, what personal, educational and professional opportunities they pursue, and what they make out of crises, challenges and opportunities. Even national policies and global development goals spring off national and global mindsets.
For example, during the COVID19 crisis, we can perceive staying at home as being forced into lock-down or consider it as voluntarily protecting our vulnerable elderly. Mindsets are not, of course, a panacea and external factors should not be negated altogether.
However, by acknowledging the role of inner dimensions, foremost mindsets, we emphasize the agency that people have in realizing their true human potential. History is full of change-makers and social leaders who have overcome and changed their external circumstances and structures and therefore written history.
6. Need for a Global Mindset Shift: Holistic Development for Planetary Wellbeing.
It is widely accepted that the SDGs cannot be achieved by business as usual. For behaviour and actions to be different, they require a new way of thinking, a new mindset and a sense of urgency for transformational change. The urgency to shift towards a development paradigm that finally translates the ‘beyond-GDP’ aspiration into a wellbeing and sustainability mindset with its corresponding concept and measurements are increasing.¹⁰
In systems thinking and leadership, shifting mindsets is considered the highest leverage point to change a system, even higher than policies and goals. Shifting the global mindset towards a wellbeing economy can be inspired by examples from Bhutan, Costa Rica and New Zealand, amongst others.
This indeed also reflects the call by UN Deputy Secretary-General for a “New paradigm shift to replace the traditional sustainable development approach to realize the 2030 Agenda”.¹¹
7. Suggestions for Mindset Shifts.
While we are largely unaware of mindsets due to their intangible nature, mindsets can be changed. Pressing issues such as greed, violence and discrimination also start in our mind, and in the minds and hearts are the keys to transformational development.
Six mindset shifting suggestions:
1. Sustainable transformation happens from the inside out. 2. Mindsets matter. They play an important role in human development at the individual, collective and global level. 3. Mindsets can be shifted by increasing awareness, fostering self-reflection and self-responsibility. 3. Solutions need to be co-created which requires a mindset shift of development practitioners themselves. 4. Current development approaches are too materialistic; therefore they need to move beyond overly focusing on GDP and economic development. 5. A new holistic development paradigm should include inner, collective and planetary wellbeing.
While the above-mentioned points indicate the important role of mindsets, there is a blind spot in the academic and development literature. This calls for further research exploring the role that mindsets play in human development, towards sustainability, transformation and wellbeing for people and planet.
About the Author:
Jürgen Nagler is the UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Bhutan. He has over 20 years’ experience in successfully delivering global, regional and field projects with the UNDP, UN Global Compact, international NGOs and private sector.
He joined the United Nations after a 10-year career with international companies and founding an international grassroots NGO. He completed first-class Bachelors in Business Administration (Germany) and Masters in International Development (Australia).
Jürgen has a passion for transformative development towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and is researching the role of mindsets for holistic human development, in a personal capacity. Jürgen can be contacted at jjnagler[at]gmail.com.
This article was originally published for the International Science Council and UNDP’s Human Development Report Office global experts’ call for new perspectives on human development.
Forthcoming Study on Mindsets
If you would like to receive a free copy of a mindsets study, which will be published in 2021, please register at www.wellbeingmindset.org.
Addendum: Wellbeing Mindset
What is a wellbeing mindset? Following the publication of this article, I’ve developed the following working definition, feedback welcome: “A wellbeing mindset means the whole of attitudes, believes and values of a person or group of people that fosters wellbeing. Wellbeing of a person, group of people, the whole of humanity, other sentient beings such as animals, and/or planet Earth.”
1. Attributed to multiple wisdom teachers, foremost the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama. See a similar translation for the Buddha at Easwaran, Eknath (2007), “The Dhammapada: Classics of Indian Spirituality.”
2. Meadows, Donella (1999). “Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System.”
5 ways coronavirus could help humanity survive the ecological crisis
This pandemic is a further wake up call things need to radically change and many of the emergency measures help the planet too
The human tragedy of the coronavirus is immense. So far over 3,000 have died and more than 90,000 have been infected globally and millions have been affected. Whilst infectious disease has always been a part of the human experience, the expansion of industrial civilisation has inexorably amplified the risk of new diseases.
Uncontrolled industrial expansion also dangerously heats the planet and drives the collapse of ecosystems worldwide. Experts like Professor Jem Bendell and philosopher Rupert Read have argued that societal collapse is near inevitable and that up to 6 billion people could die. Dr Nafeez Ahmed argues the collapse of civilisation may have already begun. That human civilisation itself is at risk is an increasingly accepted reality of our times. More than 11,000 scientists from 153 countries have declared a climate emergency warning – “chain reactions could cause significant disruptions to ecosystems, society, and economies, potentially making large areas of Earth uninhabitable”
Coronavirus is both a symptom of the problematic globalised economy and an important signal that things need to change. Emergency short-term measures to contain the virus also have a positive impact on decimated global ecosystems. Crisis can be an opportunity and adopting some of these measures in perpetuity could help to avert the worst case runaway climate scenarios and help to maintain the planetary conditions that humanity is adapted to.
1. Demonstrating a less industrial future is feasible
Currently, a slowing economy is a lower-carbon economy. In China, coronavirus has slowed industrial production, prompted longer holidays and the introduction of travel restrictions, all of which result in lower CO2 emissions: China’s emissions alone are down by a quarter or 100 million metric tons. The decrease in output mean less material being shipped across the world, and less disposable products ending up in landfill.
The sort of precipitous and unmanaged decline coronavirus has forced on global economies can devastate people’s livelihoods and living standards. However it is possible to implement such measures in a steady way, and forge societies less dependent on industrial production that not only protect livelihoods but simultaneously increase citizens’ well-being. This is what economists and sustainability experts call degrowth: a ‘phase of planned and equitable economic contraction in the richest nations eventually reaching a steady state that operates within Earth’s biophysical limits.’
While coronavirus has resulted in a very sudden scale down in industrial production due to a public health emergency, living through this spasm may allow citizens to imagine, and policy-makers to plan, how it is possible to live differently in response to the ecological emergency. Reducing economic activity and industrial output is a means to enable global ecosystems to regenerate.
Nasa images show China pollution clear amid slowdown
2. Driving a massive contraction in demand for cruises and aviation
With the Diamond Princess now as synonymous with the virus as Wuhan province, the last place people are dreaming of being right now is on a cruise ship, bookings for the $45 billion a year cruise industry are down 40%.
Each day one cruise ship can release as much pollution as one million cars
Cruise ships emit extreme pollution in some of the world’s most beloved and fragile ecosystems such as the arctic, caribbean and Galapagos Islands. Burning the world’s dirtiest oil (bunker fuel) they pollute the air and cause sickness among coastline communities. The European fleet of the world’s single biggest cruise company, Carnival Corporation, creates more air pollution than all of Europe’s cars.
Until these giant corporations address their impacts a drop in bookings for this monstrously polluting sector can only be a good thing for planet earth.
Similarly, air travel is down due to coronavirus, declining for the first time since 2009 with an estimated cost to airlines in excess of $29 billion in revenue this year. Campaigners have been calling for limits to air travel for years highlighting the sector’s massive and increasing climate impact. It seems that the coronavirus is driving the sort of reduction in air travel that lawmakers and the industry itself have thus far failed to enforce. In the face of a climate emergency and political dithering an overall reduction in unnecessary travel could promote shifts to the enhanced local economies that may help avoid the most dangerous runaway climate models.
3. Shifting towards more resilient local economies
More and more of us live in cities and eat food that has been industrially-produced elsewhere and trucked, flown or shipped in using fossil fuels. Intensive food production and perpetual long distance shipping makes the spread of disease more likely. Furthermore, the loss of nature and spread of monocultures enable “disease pathogens to thrive.” A shock such as coronavirus or surges in oil price reveals just how precarious the globalised economy on which many of us depend is. For example, if fuel supplies are interrupted, London will run out of food within days. Tim Lang, a Professor of Food Policy says, “It is all on the motorway. We have a just-in-time system of food.”
Community gardens, like this one in San Francisco, can help achieve sufficiency. Kevin Krejci/Wikimedia Commons
Massively boosting local food production slashes fossil-fuel emissions and reduces our dependence on this complex and precarious flow of global trade. What’s more, it will make us radically happier too. Our current economic system, which maximises how much we all work and consume, has failed to translate into a rise in wellbeing: instead it has created a raft of new afflictions, running from obesity and eating disorders through to depression and a suicide epidemic in young men.
A future sustainable society would mean most of us working and commuting less, being more involved in our local communities and growing food near to where we live, with more time with our friends and families—all things found to increase human happiness. Helena Norberg-Hodge the director and founder of Local Futures said –
“By shifting towards more localised, diversified food economies around the world, we’d not only reduce the risk of diseases infecting our food supply, but we’d also keep more wealth within communities instead of siphoning it away to multinational corporations. We’d be providing livelihoods for people who are getting squeezed out of jobs by the mania for mechanising and centralising food production. And we’d be pushing back against the climate crisis as well, by reducing the need for fossil fuel-powered global supply chains to get our monocrops from place to place. Local food economies are a win-win from every angle.”
4. Ending the trade in wild animals
The calamitous decline of wild species is at least as great a threat to human survival as the climate emergency. Every species that goes extinct is an irreplaceable loss. In January this year, China banned the wildlife trade nationwide in markets, supermarkets, restaurants, and e-commerce platforms due to the coronavirus outbreak. In a joint statement, the country’s market watchdog, agricultural ministry, and forestry bureau also said any places that breed wildlife should be isolated, and the transportation of wildlife should be banned.
It is widely reported that the outbreak of Covid-19 may have started in a wild animal market in Wuhan. Pangolins, in particular, have been proposed as a possible host of the virus before it jumped to people via bats. Pangolins or scaly anteaters are extraordinary animals – the only mammals with scales. They are also the most trafficked creatures in the world mainly for use in Chinese traditional medicine. As with the rhino horn, their scales are believed to have medicinal properties. They don’t. Banning the wildlife trade could put a brake on the relentless and pointless persecution of these animals allowing them to recover from the brink of extinction.
5. Highlighting the horrors of factory farming
Factory farms, which raise billions of animals per year in squalid, cramped and unhygienic conditions, are ideal breeding grounds for infectious diseases. The deadly 2009 swine flu pandemic sprang out of a massive pig farm in Veracruz, Mexico, where hundreds of pigs died in an outbreak that eventually moved into people.
Mandy Carter, Global Senior Campaign Manager at Compassion in World Farming, said: “Intensively farmed animals live in crowded, barren conditions deprived of even the most basic natural behaviours. Given the number of animals involved and their lifelong suffering, factory farming is one of the biggest causes of animal cruelty on the planet. And not only does it harm animals – it hurts the natural world and us too.”
Cage farming is a nightmare we can end. Join the campaign today
Wendy Orent, the author of “Plague: The Mysterious Past and Terrifying Future of the World’s Most Dangerous Disease” writes –
“If we want to forestall the evolution of ever-newer, and possibly deadlier, human-adapted viruses, live animal markets must be permanently shut down… until factory farms housing millions of animals are eliminated, until we take the inevitable logic of disease evolution into account, novel, and potentially deadly, human diseases will continue to arise. Again. And again. And again.”
Factory farmed animals are fed feed grown in the habitats of the world’s last wild animals such as the Amazon rainforest. Factory farming animals is increasingly seen by scientists, health experts and ethical commentators as an abomination that has to be stopped.
The future is a new relationship with food and farming
The best way to prevent pandemics and avoid the scale human suffering we are seeing unfold in the world due to coronavirus is not self-isolation, handwashing or facemasks, but the jettisoning of our moribund economic, food and transport systems, and replacing them with structures that put nature and planet first. A world where factory farming and wildlife trade is outlawed. Where economic growth is not pursued at all costs, where our capacity to feed ourselves from one day to the next is in our own hands, rather than those of gigantically polluting multinational corporations.
Coronavirus and the ecological crisis are linked symptoms of an unjust and unsustainable global system. Steps we can take to prevent another coronavirus spreading are the same steps we need to take to tackle the ecological emergency: to live more locally, with due respect for our biosphere’s limits and reverence for the precious wild creatures within it. Overall, this virus may be an important signal that human health cannot be treated independently from the health of the natural world; the two are inextricably linked.
Human civilisation can protect itself from future shocks and become more resilient by shifting to become more in tune with the natural world it is a part of. Degrowing the global economy, regenerating natural systems and ending the systematic mistreatment of animals are key.
Could the global outreach of Covid-19 lead to the next major shock to the Global System? This was the question I asked myself in January while observing the developments as regards the Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan, China. Later on, I published an article claiming that the disruption of the global supply chains due to the outbreak of Covid-19 is to be seen as the canary in the Global System mine.
Furthermore, I stressed that the markets had not anticipated the long-term disruptions of global supply chains, nor had they priced the real stress on the globalized networks as well as on the global flows of goods, people and services prior to the global outreach of the Covid-19. I concluded in mid-February that the Covid-19 pandemic would further aggravate the ongoing economic slowdown and trade stagnation and might even result in a yet unprecedented major shock to the Global System.
What happened next?
First, the Coronavirus has spread much quicker to other parts of the world than any government had anticipated or prepared for. Meanwhile, most of the seriously affected countries have introduced very restrictive measures to slow down any further Covid-19 spread. These measures and actions are well documented and data is available on the Internet. I will particularly focus on the concrete effects on the Global System as outlined in my article from February.
First, it is important to emphasize that the Global System was already put under pressure due to the systemic decoupling between the USA and China as well as cyclical processes such as an ongoing global economic slowdown, trade stagnation, and liquidity crisis prior to Covid-19 crisis. Systemic risks show multiplicative dynamics that are often ignored or misunderstood due to their higher-order effects. Against this background, the Covid-19 became an accelerator of the sum of various minor shocks to the system and thus the global virus outreach exemplified another systemic risk emerging from the interconnectedness of the Global System.
“Unlike 2007/08, this is not a financial implosion that threatens the economy and society. It is not a shock from within the economy that threatens the stability of the financial system. It is a devastating shock to people’s health that threatens their livelihoods, the businesses in which they work and invest savings, the wider economy, and therefore the financial system. Weaknesses in the financial system are exacerbating the potential feedback loops, which risk deepening the downturn and impeding eventual economic recovery.”
“As we resign ourselves to the inevitability of a large and broad-based shock to global growth, the key issue is whether we can avoid a traditional and longer-lasting recession event.”
Other key financial institutions presented even grimmer prognoses for the second quarter of 2020 and pointed to global recession trends. Deutsche Bank assessed the situation as follows:
“substantially exceed anything previously recorded going back to at least World War II.”
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard even outlined an unprecedented 50% decline in the US GDP. It is obviously no longer about the confirmation of the global recession prognoses that were made prior to the Covid-19 crisis. We are potentially sliding into a global depression in a much more interconnected Global System than during the Great Financial Crisis 2007/08, let alone the Great Depression in 1929. In fact, Nouriel Rubini referred to these forecasts as “depression growth rates”.
“In the face of the most serious global health crisis in more than a century, fiscal and monetary policy makers around the world will have to pull out all the stops to prevent what currently looks like an inevitable recession from turning into a depression,” according to Joachim Fels of Pacific Investment Management Co.
The global financial and economic system witnessed coordinated monetary stimulus and bold fiscal responses by the Central Banks and the Governments of the developed economies on both sides of the Atlantic that were not seen before. The European response came from both layers — the institutional (ECB) and the national (the member states). The European Central Bank (ECB) launched a Pandemic Emergency Purchase €750bn ($820bn) package to mitigate the Covid-19 shock. The president of the ECB even stressed that there were no limits to the ECB commitment to the Euro. The European Commission announced further €37bn under its regional funding programmes to combat the impact of the pandemic. The major European economies disclosed massive financial packages too (Germany — €500 billion, the UK — £350 billion, France — €345 billion, just to name a few).
At the same time, the Federal Reserve cut interest rates to almost zero and launched a $700bn stimulus program. Furthermore, the Federal Reserve announced the establishment of temporary U.S. dollar liquidity arrangements (swap lines) with other central banks — the Reserve Bank of Australia, the Banco Central do Brasil, the Danmarks Nationalbank (Denmark), the Bank of Korea, the Banco de Mexico, the Norges Bank (Norway), the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and the Sveriges Riksbank (Sweden). Finally, the Federal Reserve even pledged asset purchases with no limit to support the markets as part of a massive new package. This was described as “QE infinity” territory and it remains to be seen whether other Central Banks will follow suit with their QE programs.
One conclusion that may be drawn from this first stage of unprecedented measures and actions is that it is not about the Too Big To Fail (TBTF) banks this time but the Too Many To Failsmall businesses, entrepreneurs, working-class and middle-class people, who will be the target of the bailout programmes first and foremost.
We are just at the beginning of the greatest uncertainty in the last hundred years cycle, particularly as regards the future of the Global System coupled with potential major shocks to its main socio-economic systems due to the unforeseen disruptions and cascading effects within the interconnected networks, occurring with much higher speed and greater scale than any government or institution could respond to.
To conclude with the final statement by The Systemic Risk Council:
“If things deteriorate a lot more, whether quickly or slowly, governments may find themselves facing the question, not seen outside major wars, of whether to steer the economy’s production priorities, whether to support household spending with subsidies and welfare payments much higher than in normal circumstances, and whether to fund themselves via their jurisdiction’s monetary authority. Obviously the threshold for steps of that kind should be very high given the interference with normal freedoms and constraints. But governments should be conducting contingency planning to think through the issues in advance rather than, however remote it seems, being overtaken by events.” (SRC, 19. March 2020).
My main long-term Global System scenarios remain as follows: 1) either a “violent” systemic decoupling encompassing all socio-economic systems (currency, trade, financial, diplomatic, etc. networks) or a systemic co-existence between US-led and China-led blocs in the long run. But this will be the topic of another input.
Velina is Head of Institute at the Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy (AIES) in Vienna.
This week looking for interesting readings, we find this piece that has motivated us to publish in our blog, the author Christiana Figueres, Former Executive Secretary of the Convention on Climate Change of the United Nations, Founding Partner of Global Optimism, Co-host of Outrage And Optimism podcast and Co-author of “The Future We Choose”. In this post Christiana, gives an interesting analysis about the situation of climate change and the effects it will have for the year 2050.
We are heading for a world that will be more than 3C warmer by 2100.
It is 2050. Beyond the emissions reductions registered in 2015, no further efforts were made to control emissions.
The first thing that hits you is the air. In many places around the world, the air is hot, heavy and, depending on the day, clogged with particulate pollution. Your eyes often water. Your cough never seems to disappear. You think about some countries in Asia, where, out of consideration, sick people used to wear white masks to protect others from airborne infection. Now you often wear a mask to protect yourself from air pollution.
You can no longer simply walk out your front door and breathe fresh air: there might not be any. Instead, before opening doors or windows in the morning, you check your phone to see what the air quality will be.
Fewer people work outdoors and even indoors the air can taste slightly acidic, sometimes making you feel nauseated. The last coal furnaces closed 10 years ago, but that hasn’t made much difference in air quality around the world because you are still breathing dangerous exhaust fumes from millions of cars and buses everywhere. Our world is getting hotter. Over the next two decades, projections tell us that temperatures in some areas of the globe will rise even higher, an irreversible development now utterly beyond our control.
Oceans, forests, plants, trees and soil had for many years absorbed half the carbon dioxide we spewed out. Now there are few forests left, most of them either logged or consumed by wildfire, and the permafrost is belching greenhouse gases into an already overburdened atmosphere.
The increasing heat of the Earth is suffocating us and in five to 10 years, vast swaths of the planet will be increasingly inhospitable to humans. We don’t know how hospitable the arid regions of Australia, South Africa and the western United States will be by 2100.
No one knows what the future holds for their children and grandchildren: tipping point after the tipping point is being reached, casting doubt on the form of future civilization.
Some say that humans will be cast to the winds again, gathering in small tribes, hunkered down and living on whatever patch of land might sustain them.
More moisture in the air and higher sea surface temperatures have caused a surge in extreme hurricanes and tropical storms.
Recently, coastal cities in Bangladesh, Mexico, the United States and elsewhere have suffered brutal infrastructure destruction and extreme flooding, killing many thousands and displacing millions.
This happens with increasing frequency now. Every day, because of rising water levels, some part of the world must evacuate to higher ground.
Every day, the news shows images of mothers with babies strapped to their backs, wading through floodwaters and homes ripped apart by vicious currents that resemble mountain rivers.
News stories tell of people living in houses with water up to their ankles because they have nowhere else to go, their children coughing and wheezing because of the mould growing in their beds, insurance companies declaring bankruptcy, leaving survivors without resources to rebuild their lives.
Contaminated water supplies, sea salt intrusions and agricultural runoff are the order of the day. Because multiple disasters are often happening simultaneously, it can take weeks or even months for basic food and water relief to reach areas pummelled by extreme floods.
Diseases such as malaria, dengue, cholera, respiratory illnesses and malnutrition are rampant.
You try not to think about the 2 billion people who live in the hottest parts of the world, where, for upwards of 45 days per year, temperatures skyrocket to 60C (140F), a point at which the human body cannot be outside for longer than about six hours because it loses the ability to cool itself down.
Places such as central India are becoming increasingly challenging to inhabit. Mass migrations to less hot rural areas are beset by a host of refugee problems, civil unrest and bloodshed over diminished water availability.
Food production swings wildly from month to month, season to season, depending on where you live. More people are starving than ever before. Climate zones have shifted, so some new areas have become available for agriculture (Alaska, the Arctic), while others have dried up (Mexico, California).
Still, others are unstable because of the extreme heat, never mind flooding, wildfire and tornadoes. This makes the food supply in general highly unpredictable. Global trade has slowed as countries seek to hold on to their own resources.
Countries with enough food are resolute about holding on to it. As a result, food riots, coups and civil wars are throwing the world’s most vulnerable from the frying pan into the fire. As developed countries seek to seal their borders from mass migration, they too feel the consequences.
Most countries’ armies are now just highly militarised border patrols. Some countries are letting people in, but only under conditions approaching indentured servitude.
Those living within stable countries may be physically safe, yes, but the psychological toll is mounting. With each new tipping point passed, they feel hope slipping away. There is no chance of stopping the runaway warming of our planet and no doubt we are slowly but surely heading towards some kind of collapse. And not just because it’s too hot.
Melting permafrost is also releasing ancient microbes that today’s humans have never been exposed to and, as a result, have no resistance to.
Diseases spread by mosquitoes and ticks are rampant as these species flourish in the changed climate, spreading to previously safe parts of the planet, increasingly overwhelming us. Worse still, the public health crisis of antibiotic resistance has only intensified as the population has grown denser in inhabitable areas and temperatures continue to rise.
The demise of the human species is being discussed more and more. For many, the only uncertainty is how long we’ll last, how many more generations will see the light of day. Suicides are the most obvious manifestation of the prevailing despair, but there are other indications: a sense of bottomless loss, unbearable guilt and fierce resentment at previous generations who didn’t do what was necessary to ward off this unstoppable calamity.
This is an edited extract from The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis by Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac, published by Manilla Press (£12.99). To order a copy go to guardianbookshop.com. Free UK p&p over £15
I spent the last few days in the mountains celebrating X-MAS with my dear ones and while relaxing I finally managed to read one of the best books I have read in ages- ” Doughnut Economics ” by Kate Raworth. I wanted to take some time offline but I have to share this as I hope it inspires some of you to take a different look at economics in 2020.
Finally, I found the book that brings together all the hypothesis and concepts I was drawn to over the past years and puts them into a holistic picture how we can look at economics in a 21st century way.
When researching about the author Kate Raworth- an economist at the University of Oxford, who calls herself a “renegade” economist- she is sometimes referred to as the “John Maynard Keynes of the 21st century”.
From my point of view, her simple and brilliant book Doughnut Economics offers a game-changing analysis of our current economic system and is an inspiration for thinkers how to look at our world in a different way. She presents a very convincing concept on how to create economies that are regenerative and distributive by design- a subject very dear to my heart.
Kate Raworths economic theory is based on the picture of a doughnut. The doughnut has a social foundation and human well-being in the middle, and is itself ‘the safe and just space for humanity’ and for a ‘regenerative and distributive economy’, surrounded on the outer edge by the ecological ceiling of ‘critical planetary degradation’.
The overall target should be to remain within the doughnut to ensure that we neither fall into conditions of social inequality and suffer shortfalls, such as in water and food, nor allow growth to overshoot into threatening environmental collapse.
Kate Raworths research on the history of economics and where our guiding concepts originate from was the most appealing element of the book for me. As a person educated in economics I “grew” up with the paradigm of economic growth. The thoughts of the neoliberal Chicago School and their concept dominated my way of thinking about the economy.
And most of you who studied economics for sure came across Samulsons “Economics” textbook. The way we learned economics then still dominates our decision-making for the future, guides our investment decisions, and shapes our responses to climate change, inequality, and other environmental and social challenges that define our times. However, those concepts do not suit the challenges we are facing today.
“The fundamental ideas that guide our economy today are centuries out of date yet are still taught in college courses worldwide and still used to address critical issues in government and business alike!”
This is dangerous and the effects can be seen in the in rising inequality and the environmental challenges we are facing nowadays. That’s why it is time, says Kate Raworth, to revise our economic thinking for the 21st century.
She proposes 7 ways of thinking – that in her view should guide 21st-century economists. With those seven ways, I can very much relate. How about you?
The 7 Principles of the Doughnut Economy…
… and my thoughts on them
1. Change the goal—from GDP to the Doughnut. Doughnut Economics
The continuous growth of the gross national product (GDP) has been the goal of mainstream economics’ ever since the mid-20th century. Raworth argues economic growth cannot by itself solve all other problems our societies are facing and it cannot last forever, due to the scarcity of resources. Delivering well-being for people and the planet (our “planetary household”) as laid out in the picture of the doughnut should be the main purpose of economics instead of growth and profits.
Ever since I got in touch with the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development goals they are a guiding star for the impact I want to make in the world. The Sustainable Development Goals provide a blueprint for the transition to a healthier planet and a more just world — for present and future generations.
Those goals are reflected in the inner and outer dimension of the doughnut. They are a powerful concept interlinking the social, ecological and economic aspects of sustainability.When I started my first activities in the social business world my major concern was inequality.
But studying migration management I more and more learned about the interconnectivity of social and ecological aspects, which led me to support Fridays for Future and join Entrepreneurs for Future and actively advocate for stronger political action on climate-related issues as social issues can only be really solved if ecological and economical issues are also taken care of.
As a social entrepreneur, I feel that running a business on more KPIs than just financial growth by adding the social and ecological impact is very satisfying and I am deeply convinced, that this could also be a motivating way for all players in our society.
2. See the big picture—from self-contained market to embedded economy. Doughnut Economics
In neoliberal economics, the market rules. It’s supposed to most efficiently allocate resources when left to its own devices. The regulation ought to be minimal, the state’s role restricted to providing security to its citizens and protecting private property. Society is irrelevant, and the Earth’s resources seen as unlimited and thus left out of the equation.
Kate Raworth advocates stepping back and taking a broader view to see the economy how it really is, embedded within Earth’s natural systems and within human society. Within the economy itself, households, the market, the state and the commons all have an equally important role to play in meeting human needs. None should be given primacy over the others, but they should all be supported to serve human welfare in mutually complementing ways. I could not agree more to this holistic picture
3. Nurture human nature—from rational economic man to social adaptable humans. Doughnut Economics
Neoclassical economics bases its theories on a limited view of human nature, the notorious endlessly rationalizing and self-maximizing homo economicus. Kate Raworth tries to draw a picture of him: Standing alone, with money in his hand, ego in his heart, a calculator in his head and nature at his feet. He hates work, he loves luxury and he knows the price of everything. The whole concept was brought up to make it easier to argue economic models.
Raworth argues that we need a new picture of the person we picture as a base for our economic models taking into account our capacities for solidarity, empathy and reciprocity.How I hated the model of the “homo economicus” when studying economics! I remember long arguments then up to now that humans are not selfish and ego-driven.
The really bad part about “homo economicus” is that studies show that the more we learn about it the more selfish we become so it is more than time to come up with a better picture – we are so much more than a dollar hunting animal.
Why would we set out and found charities, help others, found social businesses and the like if men would just be selfish?
4. Get savvy with systems—from mechanical equilibrium to dynamic complexity. Doughnut Economics
The book brings up the historic context of how economics as a science was shaped. Economics became a science when economists started to introduce diagrams and concepts resembling Newtons diagrams and mechanic thinking. Economists have for a long time strived to simplify economic models to resemble linear mechanical models.
However, our world gets more and more complex day by day and the only way to master this complexity is system thinking. Thinking in terms of systems can do a far better job helping us understand how our world works and what actions we could take to reverse negative developments. I think this is especially true if you look at fast technological developments that will shape our future
5. Design to distribute—from ‘growth will even it up again’ to distributive by design. Doughnut Economics
Raworth says inequality is neither good for growth nor a necessary stage of development. On the contrary, more unequal societies are shown to be less healthy and happy and to face a higher degree of environmental degradation.
Redistributing income is not enough to address the situation, for most of the rise in inequality we see today is due to wealth concentration resulting from returns on capital.When we started our venture goood network we were lucky to work with Karl Wagner, former director of external affairs of the Club of Rome. T
he discussions we had when working on our manifesto were very inspiring and I learned a lot about how to look at the world in a different way.Karl co-authored a discussion paper of the Club of Rome- The Values Quest where he argues in the line of Kate Raworth that our theory and practice of economy do not rest on natural laws but on the underlying values.
To have an unequal society instead of an equal one is our choice, it is not a given by nature. To change the world for the better we need to address values and the narratives they are embedded in. Based on his thoughts I started to rethink what I can do to help change the current system and this is why I started to speak publicly and advocate for purpose and sustainability.
6. Create to regenerate—from ‘growth will clean it up again’ to regenerative by design. Doughnut Economics
As regards the environment, our current economic setup is eating up Earth’s resources at one end and spewing out waste from the other. We should instead strive to design a circular economy with all the energy and resources in constant flow – reused, renewed, returned to the planet’s life cycle where the “waste” of one process can be turned into input for another process.
The circular economy is rather a new concept for me, but I think it is super fascinating. As a consumer, I am drawn to intelligent products based on circular concepts and as an innovator and entrepreneur, I see opportunities emerging from new collaborations.
One of my goals for 2020 is to learn more about the concept and how we as a network of system-thinkers can contribute. I am looking forward to an interesting exchange and discussions on the topic with all of you.
7. Be agnostic about growth—from growth addicted to growth agnostic. Doughnut Economics
So my wish for 2020: Let´s break free of our old picture of economics and transform to a 21-century concept of economics. Even if you are on a New Years diet- get involved with the Doughnut- I am convinced it will serve us and our world well.
Passionate, internationally recognized award-winning Social Innovator.Entrepreneur and serial founder of various ventures e.g. Adjacent Possible Network (Consulting), GOOOD Network(Impact Incubation) and goood mobile Germany & Austria (B2C mobile operators) as well as co-founder of an impact initiative for social inclusion.
Passionate about social impact and impact innovation, I believe in the power of shaping a positive tomorrow by transforming traditional business models for the next generation.Corporate Executive background with 15+ years of track record in managing leading international ICT companies in very challenging market environments, serving millions of customers.Continuous consulting assignments (strategy & operational tactics development, business planning) and business development with a focus on customer experience, digital transformation and impact innovation.
Our harvesting session was facilitated by Fyodor Ovchinnikov of Institute for Evolutionary Leadership, and Naomi Joy Smith, designer of the Digital Hikoi and coordinator of the Beyond Us community engagement.
Also participating in this harvest, was:
Screenshot of the ‘Wedding Table’ data visualization model developed by Lauren Moore Nignon — eventually each participant will be able to connect all the conversations they’ve taken part in, track notes, follow up on action items, side discussions, missed connections and context from conversations that they missed.
Indigenous leaders, Educators and Storytellers
Starting the Learning Journey
We would like the world to know that the Cobra Canoa is the beginning: it’s the beginning and it’s happening. It’s happening during a time when humanity is talking about the sixth mass extinction, when nature is actually in an evolution of falling apart due to the popular term called “climate change”.
It’s a shared story that was co-created during a learning journey initiated from Rio de Janiero to São Paulo, and it was given the name Cobra Canoa as a symbol of regeneration of a cosmology that connects humans back to nature and back to the we-ness or belonging to a community — a community of happiness, joy, and companionship, not only between humans but between all life that is part of the bigger cosmology of being human.
This new story happened when a group of people from different places on the planet, disconnected from each other, started using technology to have live interactive learning journey and actively co-creating new stories and new patterns for understanding life better. Life in itself was a classroom, nature was a classroom. The purpose of this in terms of our mission is to inspire people to create more learner centered schools, to empower students.
In co-creating a new story, the networks are like a forest. The power of a story is really telling a story that is beyond us, where we are enmeshed with one another again — collective humanity rediscovering our belonging in the web of life, reawakening to our tribe activated and alive.
This united narrative was stated by traveling teachers, travelling storytellers who are connecting languages and people coming from different parts of life, learning as much as we possibly can from every encounter and accelerating this educational shift as a radical emergency call by people who are connected to nature — not only indigenous people, but people from all cultures of the world that are really feeling compassion and love for all life on the planet.
It was fascinating to discover many intersections: perpetual learning, learning journeys, indigenous wisdom, connective storytelling, networked movements, collective leadership. Some of us have been working in these and other related intersections in theoretical, practical, and creative community contexts for the last decade and it was nice to find others — not as isolating.
Reconnecting to indigenous leadership on climate change at CCC19 — a catalyst for Beyond Us
Decolonizing, Grieving, Healing, and Reconciling
One of the words that kept coming up as a pattern was “decolonization”. We talked about what that process really entails, how specifically the Xucuru people are experiencing this, and that even these calls that we are doing are a part of that decolonization for them and a service to them as well as ourselves.
They spoke a lot from a spiritual aspect where pretty much everything that they do is rooted in their spirituality and the wisdom of their ancestors. This is definitely something that we have lost in the Western culture and forget about a lot. It was a great reminder. It felt like something that was being remembered or gained is lost and forgotten in a lot of the ways that we work in Western culture.
How are we going to get back in touch with that even if our science these days is almost catching up with this mystery of what we are all doing here and what we need to do in the future?
There is a healing, there is grief, there is a reconciliation process that really has to tap our emotions into grief, sadness, even madness for the chaos we have created on the planet. Above us, the stimuli of the environment moves us like starlings in murmuration; as we connect to the dark parts of ourselves, our shadows, our grief, and our trauma, our collective patterns move us like the mycelium under the earth connects the roots of the trees.
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