11 November 2019 Liam Kavanagh
Art / Earth / Tech is pleased to team with Naresh Giangrande, co-founder of the Transition Town movement to put together the first gathering of a new initiative on contemplative activism.
Here, Naresh, my co-organiser, briefly explains it as: “When a disappointment happens in the environmental movement, we often hear: ‘It’s alright, eventually consciousness is going to change’,… but, can we do something about that?”
A longer version is that many have remarked that the environmental issue that we face is really a spiritual issue. We are out of touch with what is larger than us, as a species and with capacities for wisdom. Joanna Macy famously has remarked on our conviction that we are separate from nature blinding ourselves to our awful effects on it and on ourselves. Martin Heidegger, Iain McGilchrist, Thich Nhat Hanh, Charles Eisenstein and Gail Bradbrook and a host of others have made related statements.
It is by now clear that these ideas are not going to spread themselves. The famous criticisms are as apt as ever, and climate chaos is upon us making it clearer every day that it is not just polar bears, but humans, that are in danger.
Activism is what we do with dreams, ideas, and perspectives. What are we doing to promote the awareness that the environmental crisis is based in a spiritual confusion? Are we being the change we want to see — are we acting as though, at base, the environmental issue is spiritual? What would that look like?
So why will this gathering make a difference? We are gathering a very diverse and unusual group of leaders in their field, like you! Our intended outcomes (which are only a starting place) are the following: The formation of a group who is able to hold the turbulent, transitional time we find ourselves in as gracefully and compassionately as possible, providing a model for others.
For all of us as contemplative beings, to deepen understanding of what it means to be involved in activism in these chaotic times. That activists have access to tools of transformation that will change the way they are in themselves and the way they work.
Image credit: Tom Manwell
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