— by Susan Eirich, PhD —
When we do any journey with good intention, be it an inner or an outer journey, we come back home with riches. This is a time where it is especially critical that we journey, in order to come up with the most thoughtful effective things we can do for our Earth and the life systems she supports. The more mindful we are about what we can do the more effective it will be. We must let the sense of urgency energize us but not lead us to quick fixes or waste time on not very useful actions.
I would like to share with you a journey I just took in pursuit of how Earthfire can be more effective, and share with you what I came back with. Then I would very much like to hear your own journey, and thoughts about what you can do or are already doing.
I was invited to attend a workshop put on by the Pachamama Alliance in Tucson that is strongly aligned with what we want to do at Earthfire for wildlife. It is a well thought-out blueprint for what we can do about the current crises we face. Called Awakening the Dreamer, in reference to the idea that we as a species are in a trance, has five parts:
1.Where we are.
2.How did we get here.
3.A New Story
4.What is possible now.
5..Where do we go from here.
Each section had substantive and evocative material on the topic with speakers ranging from environmental leaders and scientists to poets and mediation teachers. It included time for reflection, and then interaction in small groups to help digest the material and its impact. It moved from the highly disturbing state we are now in (for example 90% of all large fisheries are collapsing; we will have lost 50% of wildlife in the last 40 years; we have 60 years of soil left with current agricultural practices); unexamined assumptions and behaviors that have brought us to this state; then moves to the powerfully hopeful next three sections. It ended with time to reflect in small groups on what we can do, then sharing our ideas with the whole group. It was beautiful to see how energized people were.
This free workshop is available around the world, and also online, creating a community of citizen leaders. There are trainings available so anyone can become a facilitator of these workshops. Once you have completed this introduction there is a free eight week online course you can take about becoming an effective leader in your community. Called the Game Changer Alliance, it has developed an Up to Us Engagement Pathway.
One of the astounding facts that stayed with me is a statement by Lester Brown, founder of Worldwatch Institute, that we could turn the pending environmental disaster around with $200 billion. The United States currently spends $741 billion on its military budgets, and the world spends $1071 billion. We need a dramatic cultural shift. It is Up to Us.
As Lynne Twist says in the workshop there is no right way. No wrong way. There is only YOUR way, and it is up to each of us to find it. For some guidelines The Alliance recommends that we focus our energies on two major issues: the corrupt use of money, and climate changes. I would add- the disappearance of land for wildlife habitat (which is land to sustain the biological systems we depend on) and current agricultural and food distribution practices.
The workshop was presented by a woman who is full time executive director of a very demanding organization. But she felt this was important enough that she took the training to be a facilitator and has now reached over 4000 people.
The power of one………
I look forward to your responses, ideas, actions you are taking, or are thinking of taking…..
The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill where the 2 worlds touch,
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep. – Rumi
Dr. Susan Eirich is the Founder and Executive Director of Earthfire Institute Wildlife Sanctuary and Retreat Center. A licensed psychologist, biologist and educator, her goal is to widen the circle of conversation about conservation to include the voices of all living beings.