I recently went to a session in which Dr. Chris Johnstone and Sue Weaver tried to help a group of environmental professionals come to terms with the burden of knowledge that the earth system is in crisis.
Chris works a lot with helping people overcome addiction. I am struck by the fact that our society is addicted to oil and cheap energy. Cold Turkey is going to be interesting to put it mildly. Frankly the prospect terrifies me but that's what Sue and Chris were trying to help us with.
I recently encountered the story of Tricia Morgan, a voluntary worker in Swansea who through her work on Swansea Community farm underwent transition from an ex-addict on probation to director of a community regeneration trust. The message is clear: individuals can change. Their efforts are heroic. As society is made up of millions of individuals, it too can change.
Chris publishes a newsletter called Great Turning Times. Through this he develops ideas of positive visions giving routes through adversity, creating resilience.
Often what is needed for change is a positive vision to aspire to. This is true for individuals and societies. That's the most important thing I got out of the day. The burden of knowledge that climate change and peak oil threatens our way of life can result in a paralysis of despair. But while we fail to act, others will. A political solution is part of the answer. A positive political vision that recognises that salvation will come from what we have in common not from that which divides us. The battle lines are drawn - recall the results of the recent Euro elections. Sustainable Development is the movement towards a more equitable, less greedy, slower, more peaceful and harmonious way of life. Lets work on that vision and learn to articulate it so that it can inspire others and overcome fear.
As Chris says, 'this is the time of the Great Turning'. We are all heroes in this epic struggle.