Collective action. We cannot save this planet alone and it is too simplistic to think that only indigenous peoples and local communities are the answer. Whilst there is a vital need to restore security to indigenous and local community lands, supporting them in their struggle to protect forests we must also look within ourselves to bring about change. How are we living? Are we contributing to the destruction of our environment? Are we still connected to the earth, the seasons, the plants that grow through the cracks of concrete in our cities? We can no longer sit aside and just wait for others to stop the rot, to hold back the pollution and unhappiness that seems to come with modernity. We need to be the change we want to see.
The UN gives us 12 years to catastrophic climate change, the next two are vital to shift the thoughts of our political leadership into action. Frontline communities from Brazil to California are facing severe threats to their lives and time is running out. Direct action is vital and groups like Extinction Rebellion in our cities and APIB in the jungles of Brazil are putting their livelihoods on the line. In the remotest parts of the world this often has life threatening consequences. To grow this struggle we also need to build connection and connectivity, fuse the vibrant neurons and synapsis of our global conscious. To build a new future we need a new story, new narratives of what we can be.
This year at ‘If Not Us Then Who’ we used storytelling tools to connect people and build online communities – Virtual Reality, documentaries, smart phones, film festivals and social media – but this is only one part. It is not enough to just interpret the lives of others through the lens of our own understanding. We need to create space where people can meet face to face and we need to take the time to connect with others, to really receive someone and share their problems, support them when they are feeling pain or amplify them in their success. We need to start to think as a community.