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    Multiple pathways can lead us to climate action 

     “We need courage, not hope, to face climate change. But the scale of climate change engulfs even the most fortunate. Courage is the resolve to do well without the assurance of a happy ending.” 

    Kate Marvel, climate scientist 

    Our determination to set in motion a community-based ecological transformation can be discovered in a plethora of ways. The arts, farming, meditation, a liberal arts education, scientific avenues, religious practices and political conversations are all possible entry points to discussions that include Nature as our focal point.

    On June 13 I attended a two-hour gathering in Sherbrooke’s Baobab Café community space facilitated by Observatoire estrien du développement des communautés [OEDC](Eastern Townships Signpost for Community Development), a nonprofit organization that has been engaged with our population since 2006. [

    The first of a series of workshops, the gathering brought together people of all ages to better understand the direction our community is striving for. Through a series of fifteen multiple-choice questions, each with three or four possible responses, we were asked what we collectively need to drive the values of our societies. Do we remain in an technocratic, capitalist, anthropocentric sphere, or do we transition towards a more democratic, social justice focused, ecocentric community? OEDC wishes to help its members, both individuals and organizations, to ferry themselves along that transition.

    After two hours it was very clear that the Township citizens wanted to initiate actions that were firmly tethered to an ecocentric transition. We need to examine our role in this dangerous age of advancing climate breakdown and biodiversity loss and accelerating pollution. At the end of the workshop we discussed briefly local questions such as “Are we aware of the ecological issues in Sherbrooke?” Although I found some of the questions and particularly the answer options to be too vague, limited and overlapping, this was the first community meeting and I would expect future conversations to delve more deeply into collective actions that urgently need to be taken if, as they suggest, a “better way of life” is to be achieved. Although we wore name stickers, there was not enough time to get to know the other people present, or to discuss the questions in depth: that will come in future workshops. But what was abundantly clear was that OEDC got 35 strangers together and wish to help foster collective action. 

    Tragically, it is also clear that Nature activists around the world are being relegated to the sidelines in the quest by governments, corporations, institutions and individuals to grab more extractive resources to the extreme detriment of Nature and non-western societies. By pushing at a feverish pace, corporations sing the praises of consumerism, but by in doing so they are sending democracy into a downward spiral that will undeniably place many of the promising achievements to protect Nature in utter jeopardy. This is not a harbinger of prosperity, but a death wish. Trump, Putin and company have made no secret of the fact that they wish to dismantle decades of protection. 

    Even in the European Union, the 2024 parliamentary election could see the rescinding of the positive green biodiversity legislation of 2019, which would be lamented as a sought-after but failed attempt to enshrine eco-centric policy firmly in EU law. Those Earth-focused laws were at last to permeate all future activities and result in a long-held commitment to end, and thus heal, humans’ war against Nature that is best epitomized by our relentless use of fossil energies. 

    In the UK, outgoing Green Party MP Caroline Lucas has long been a staunch advocate for Nature, but she warns us that we now risk shoring up the status quo by not challenging more vigorously the anthropomorphic economic and political rulebooks of most governments and corporations. This is not the time to give into malevolent populists.

    We don’t want to see the heady rise of youth participation and protest fizzle out. The days of half a million climate protesters in Montréal need to transform into an increasingly invigorated activist-driven Earth agenda that can take the form, for example, of individuals coming together to refuse to pay for services that contravene health and ecologically safe practices, as demonstrated in unsafe water and sewerage policies. []

    A massive wave of invigorated Earth-saving climate activism is called for. Youth Climate Lab  []  brings the world’s young activists together to stitch a powerful network of effervescent unstoppable voices into an eco-centric movement.  “We enable young people to become leaders in the climate space by empowering them with skills, financial access and policy knowledge through the creation of tools and programs.”

    Indigenous education centres reconnect and reaffirm humanity’s place in Nature. The Ulnooweg Education Centre in Nova Scotia is “Inspiring Indigenous communities through a holistic educational approach through initiatives in science & innovation, agriculture, and health while revitalizing Indigenous culture and language for the benefit of all youth and communities.” [

    In the political domain, will climate scientist Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo’s success in the  Mexican presidential election translate into climate progress? Mexico can and should transition away from its dependence on fossil fuels.

    Meanwhile, Extinction Rebellion’s world agenda keeps it in the news by celebrating non-violent protest. []

    An article in The New York Times brings home the contradictory values that underpin many of the elite universities’ overwhelmingly progressive student perspectives. “Introspection is required when we speak of progressives. Symbolic progressive actions are many times a smokescreen to do nothing… Land acknowledgments—when people open public events by naming the Indigenous peoples who had their land stolen from them—are the quintessential progressive gesture… The lesson for those of us in the educated class is to seriously reform the system we have created or be prepared to be run over.”

    Can our Earth actions be rooted in/derived from our subconscious? “First and foremost we have to challenge our own memory, our own forgetfulness, our ancestral memories…” []

    Whether we once more go out into the night to listen to the nightingales, or to the birds of North America, our actions will be shaped by our depth of connection to Nature.

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