Intuitively, linking our imagination, our inner resources, evolutionary development and the thresholds all around us makes a lot of sense. “I’m so proud we’ve woken up” one Chilean said to me as people filled the streets of Santiago recently. I believe he meant it in the compassionate and selflessness sense from David’s quote above. It’s certainly hard to be self-centered as you are repeatedly heading into tear gas streams!
These potentials seem increasingly present, linked, forefronted and exploding—we’ve seen millions of protesters cascading into the street. From Hong Kong, Haiti as well as globally on our climate emergency to name only a few.
Diverse protests emerging around the world are connected. Climate strikes by school children around the world, fare evasion in Chile, roadblocks in Lebanon and Extinction Rebellion disruptions in Brisbane are all part of the same phenomenon. Many people in many places have had enough of a system that destroys nature and perpetuates inequality — Chris Riedy
There are clear connections between the social and equity protests and climate drivers. Maisa Rojas, the scientific coordinator for the COP25 climate summit and director of Chile’s Centre for Climate and Resilience Research, recently connected these pieces too:
We know that climate change acts as an amplifier of social inequality, disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable… In Chile, just a month before the social crisis exploded, we saw the first internal displacement as a result of the climate crisis… Only if social demands are met will ambitious and rapid climate action be feasible. The good news is that addressing social issues alongside the climate crisis has the potential to generate powerful, long-lasting solutions.
All of this asks us to surface some often hidden qualities. In addition to imagination, compassion and selflessness it’s confronting too. Our world has very real power dynamics. It’s the way it is because it suits us, or enough of us, for it to be this way:
Actively engaging a transforming world, even if we are not bolstered by a sense of certainty or moral righteousness, confronts us with power. The powers that be, and our own, as well as any lack of power we may feel — Susi Moser
That, not surprisingly, makes change hard. It’s calling for a new level of engagement and, particularly with our global interconnectedness and interdependencies, it seems clear that a significant part of that new level is around rediscovering and updating our collective natures.
Perhaps the missing piece is our interconnectedness. I have recently been inspired by the work of the People’s Supper… At the foundation… is the belief that “Relationships move at the speed of trust; social change moves at the speed of relationships” — Julianna Gwiszcz
There are significant points of leverage. In our physical world, as Paul Gilding put it today, “across energy, transport and food countless climate solutions are not just available but are broadly superior… cheaper or at least price competitive“. He’s highlighting a step shift and near future tipping point. Our minds need to match this too:
The idea is that to begin to transform towards a better world, we all need to shift our framing—our cultural mythologies—to understand the world in a new way. Today’s dominant mythologies tend to be economic, and around individualism, growth at all costs, and purportedly free markets — Sandra Waddock
That’s where we reach for stories and imagination. As David puts it poetry is “creating the physical experience of this frontier… the art to which I have dedicated my life“.