25 September 2012

one week in a wonderful world

By Charlotte Du Cann

I spent most of this last week at the Transition Network Conference in London meeting up with 300 people from the UK and other countries who are holding out for a different relationship with our planet. The conference was called Building Resilience in Extraordinary Times and I was co-ordinating a crew of social reporters to cover the conference's many workshops and activities. Over five days we discussed everything that would make our communities (and the world) thrive in times of chronic collapse and imminent resource depletion. We looked at community energy incentives, alternative currencies (the Bristol Pound also launched this week). social enterprises, education,  sustainable food systems, skillshare, the work of activists and artists and of the thousand inititaives that have sprung up over the last six years.

But most of all we came together in a certain spirit and realised we were not on our own.

This week was also the week on-line pressure group Avaaaz put out an appeal - one of their many - to stop the killing of lions in South Africa. This is a week where we were asked to stop the killing of badgers in the dairy fields of Gloucestershire, to look at the "liquidation" of pigs and cattle in the USA due to rising feed prices, the slaughter of thousands of people in the resource-rich Congo and illegal fishing and human rights abuses of indentured Burmese fishermen on Thai prawn boats. This is a week, like any other week, where those of us who are shocked by such things, who care deeply about justice and liberty, are asked pledge their support to the campaigns and activists engaged in stopping the destruction of the earth we are living on, and its creatures, including ourselves.

Avaaz used the following YouTube to send to their supporters as a reminder of what we are losing. I don't watch television or care for the proprietorial tone of nature programmes, yet it seemed to me that the most crucial thing we need right now to do is to ask ourselves: what do we really value? Do we think this is a wonderful world? Or is this clip just an escapist moment, a substitute for the real earth, where we can go Ahhhhhh..... to and then carry on eating industrially-farmed prawns and drinking cheap milk and using mobile phones that depend on African minerals, without a thought of the consequences?

So this isn't a column in the usual sense of highlighting a subject that requires attention. It's more of a pause for reflection. At the Transition conference I felt that unless we could come together as a people and work in harmony,  unless we could see the beauty of what we were doing, whether we succeeded in our tasks or not, there would be no resilience and no extraordinary turn around as the storm advanced towards us. No matter how well-organised or successful our projects were, if we didn't feel of one heart, we would not hold together as a movement, a community or a culture. So our task is as human beings to see this wonderful world, and make all our actions based on that feeling. On our kinship with all beings. Here it is:

No comments:

Post a Comment