Dear fellow Earthlings,
A lot’s changed since the very first ‘Earth Day’ in 1970. For a start, understanding has broadly shifted away from ‘protecting’ the environment, as the day originally advocated, and towards what’s needed to heal and regenerate it.
A single day to honour the gloriousness of this home of ours and call for its protection feels somewhat deficient, but we’re taking the opportunity to share a few different perspectives we appreciate on healing the Earth and our relationship with it and each other. This healing might look like:
Acknowledging the root causes of Earth’s destruction
For the first time in 30 years, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPPC) has named “colonialism” as a historical and ongoing driver of the climate crisis in its final report released earlier this month. While this isn’t new for the climate justice movement, it is new for the world’s leading scientists, and subsequently, for policymakers. It has huge potential for how world leaders shape future climate policy, hopefully centering decolonisation; as well as indigenous and marginalised voices and knowledge; ensuring that climate ‘solutions’ don’t harm more people along the way; and holding colonising countries to account and pushing for reparations. Understanding the root causes allows for systemic solutions.
Read more from Yessenia Funes’s Atmos article Yes, Colonialism Caused Climate Change, IPCC Reports here.
Reassessing ‘climate anxiety’…
Oppressed and marginalised communities the world over have long experienced the effects of environmental destruction, but they have also, as Sarah Jaquette Ray writes in their article Climate Anxiety Is an Overwhelmingly White Phenomenon, “developed traditions of resilience out of necessity.” Jaquette Ray’s advice for those of us with privilege who might be asking “What can I do to stop feeling so anxious?” and “What can I do to save the planet?” and “What hope is there?” is to instead ask: “”Who am I?” and “How am I connected to all of this?” The answers reveal that we are deeply interconnected with the well-being of others on this planet and that there are traditions of environmental stewardship that can be guides for where we need to go from here.”
Read more from Sarah Jaquette Ray’s Scientific American article Climate Anxiety Is an Overwhelmingly White Phenomenon here.
Remembering that others’ care more than we might think
Common Cause published our own response to the release of the IPCC’s latest report in early April, suggesting that a barrier to many of us (with relative privilege) feeling galvanised, organised and collaborative in pursuit of climate justice and environmental regeneration could be underestimating the extent to which others care, otherwise known as ‘the perception gap’.
Read the full blog post Are many of us frozen in the face of the climate crisis because we think other people don’t care enough? here.
‘Reforesting the mind’ — coming back into relationship with the living world we are part of
In his latest article, our good friend Felipe Viveros reminds us that the world’s Indigenous peoples protect 80 per cent of the world’s remaining biodiversity, while making up only five per cent of the global population. Despite this, they are more under threat than ever before, on the frontlines of the devastating externalities of capitalism, and discredited and derided by the West, at huge cost to all life on Earth. Through his conversations with Indigenous elders from myriad communities, Felipe calls for the world to repair its relationship with indigenous communities and to ‘reforest our minds’ to support their efforts in global conservation.
Read Felipe’s full article in Dumbo Feather; Reforest the Mind, Say Brazil’s Indigenous Leaders, here.
Remembering that we are Earth
“we are earth. each of us. we are one. it’s us day.” wrote adrienne maree brown on Earth Day this year.
In her beautiful article for Atmos; We Are Earth, adrienne sets out the principles of emergent strategy, suggesting that “to change the course of the climate crisis, we must draw on the strategies of our fellow life-forms, ensuring collective survival through interconnectedness.” adrienne writes: “In this period of climate catastrophe, we must begin to grasp how our culture is not aligned with sustaining human life on Earth. And we must begin to, as Butler writes in her Parables series, “shape change” rather than seeing ourselves as helpless victims of change.”
Read adrienne maree brown’s full article on Atmos We Are Earth here.
We really appreciate this Instagram post and wisdom from BUKI FADIPE (@adventures.in.om) that reads “Learning to see everything as a relative and not a resource”. Please read the full post and caption here, and support Buki’s work here.
We feel that each of the perspectives above help to create the cultural conditions required for systemic, durable change to take place, living in such a way as to honour our intrinsic values.
In the spirit of remembering how interconnected we are, before I sign off I’d like to share with you a poem I wrote back in 2019; We all share the Moon. Every day is Earth day folks.
With care and solidarity for these times we’re in,
Elsie, Ruth and Tom
From Common Cause
Values 101 Workshop
If you want to attend, but don’t fit in to one of the remaining ticket categories, let Ruth know via email and she’d be happy to arrange a cheaper ticket for you.
In the world
A brief selection of books, articles, videos, podcasts and events that resonate with us that we think you might enjoy…
Poem: spell for another day on earth
“what must it feel like
to carry every longing
feed every body
lift us in flight, hold us
offer every beauty
fractals patterns chaos
such genius and glorious design
– to swallow sun
and create sustenance
and then be told
‘we want more’”
Read adrienne maree brown’s beautiful poem for Earth day in full on her blog here.
Video: Carl Sagan’s Pale Blue Dot
A deeply beautiful perspective on Earth by astronomer Carl Sagan.
Watch the video here.
Podcast — The Roots of Climate Justice
In this podcast from Climate Justice Alliance, guides Elizabeth Yeampierre, Kali Akuno, and Inkza Angeles travel from Indianapolis, to Puerto Rico, North Carolina to Mississippi, California and beyond, walking through the formation of climate justice — from slavery to environmental racism and environmental justice, to economic freedom and energy democracy. Each guide shows us the ways in which they live and embody a relationship with land and with community that sets an example for the rest of us. Listen to the episode here.
Podcast: Climate narratives with Elizabeth Kolbert, Kim Stanley Robinson and Jeff Biggers –
In this episode of Climate One from 2021, science fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson, climate writer Elizabeth Kolbert and journalist and oral historian Jeff Briggers discuss the importance and effectiveness of climate storytelling. Listen here.
Event: Huddlecraft 101
Our friends at Huddlecraft are running their next instalment of Huddlecraft 101 in May — It’s a masterclass in how to create spaces for peer-led learning, support and action. If you have a goal or challenge that could be transformed by peer-power, this might be for you. Find out more and sign up here.