As I sit down to write this, it has started to rain in Swansea after two weeks or more of unusually hot and dry weather. My neighbourhood adopts a different character; smells and sounds that have not been experienced for days. It is as though a pause button has been pressed, while the sky replenishes life: hydrologically, physically, emotionally. Even our cat comes in for a cuddle. I recall a line from Thank You For The Rain, a documentary film by Kisilu Musya and Julia Dahr, screened at Gentle/Radical’s Decolonising Environmentalism event on Saturday: “the sky is mother of all life”, observed Christina, a Kenyan farmer struggling to survive with her husband and children in an increasingly arid land.
This was post was originally published in March 2017 by the (now unfortunately ceased) Swansea News Network.
To the walker on the beach, who frowned in bewilderment as you navigated your way through an incoming tide of women dancing on Caswell beach at 6.30am last Sunday morning: our apologies, I know it was quite a sight, and you probably hadn’t had a cup of tea yet. I hadn’t either.
This was originally posted on Imaginary Papers – a blog by the Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University
So far today my mind has been: worrying about how I’m ever going to finish my Ph.D.; contemplating what I will cook for dinner tonight; planning for a presentation tomorrow; and occasionally dreaming (read: procrastinating) about building my own little house one day. The only time that my mind has been fully focused on the present moment was when my colleague offered me a chocolate brownie (and I ate it), and another moment when a poor bird flew into the glass window close to where I was sitting and dropped, twitching, to the ground. These brief interludes, one happy and one sad, distracted my mind’s temporal wanderings for a total of about 90 seconds out of the eight hours I have so far been awake today. Continue reading
Recently I have been mainly procrastinating by crafting a smug blog post about the low-carbon merits of not flying. Thankfully I have scrapped that for a less-smug version because, to tell the truth, I got really quite confused about the whole thing – to fly or not to fly? And does it really matter?
~~~Hello and Happy New Year, despite it starting rather unhappily with news of shocking events in France and Nigeria reaching our screens of late. In light of the outpouring of written and spoken commentary on these events it seemed relevant to publish this blog post now, although I wrote it back in December. It describes my recent experiences at a workshop about Non Violent Communication (NVC), and although what follows is specifically about language and environment it struck me that the overall aims and principles of NVC are apt at the moment. Above all the method stresses the value of using language in ways which create space to contemplate the whole rather than forcing debates into the kinds of binary thinking which ultimately insults people’s ability to understand and live in a complex world. If the world seems a bit inhumane recently, NVC teaches that words can be small but mighty ways of regaining and sharing some humanity, if we use them wisely. ~~~
After years of becoming more and more deeply convinced by the idea that we humans need to disturb nature less, to consume less, to stop pursuing growth and to take heed of our ‘environmental limits’, I have recently stumbled upon some quite surprising literature which claims “No! Stop! It’s not about LESS – it has to be about MORE!” Admittedly, this literature stems from a decade or so ago and I am behind the times in discovering it, but its arguments have struck me because they are, I think, important and yet still, 10 years on, largely absent from mainstream ‘environmentalism’ as far as I can tell. Continue reading