You can watch a recording of the session here.
In session one we talked about “finding hope” and the importance of a positive and hopeful message amid the many challenges.
We heard from Sonia who talked about how the story we tell shapes our perception of reality.
The neoliberal story places individualism as the hero, and government as the enemy. This has led to the breakdown of relationships between people and government. It has led to the commodification of everything, leaving so many people behind - witness how people have become housing insecure due to the view of housing not as a right, but as a source of profits. Sonia talked about PUSH, a documentary that investigates why we can’t afford to live in our own cities anymore.
Sonia appreciates George Monbiot and his ideas in Out of the Wreckage because of his focus on community. In response to George Monbiot’s call for a new story or paradigm to replace neoliberalism, Sonia said that we need to build community connection, and create the conditions for collective well-being. The solution to our polycrisis is a politics that prioritizes the conditions for people to be well. We can make an economic system around this that works, and isn’t based on exploitation and inequality.
In an interview, Thomas Homer-Dixon talked about the importance of a new story and the importance of hope in changing the future. In his book Commanding Hope, The Power we Have to Renew a World In Peril, he writes about the importance of heroes in our stories and recounts the actions of Stephanie May, Elizabeth May’s mother, as an anti-nuclear activist, and Greta Thunberg as a climate activist.
His book is about the importance of hope to inspire action. He is not talking about blind optimism, but the hope that if we work hard and do the right things, we can change things, no matter how much the odds are stacked against us. He calls for hope with action, for “Hope without action will just contribute to a hopeless ending, but commanding hope can turn any one of us into the next hero.”
- George Monbiot, Out of the Wreckage – A New Politics for an Age of Crisis. 2017
- Thomas Homer-Dixon, Commanding Hope - the Power We Have to Renew a World in Peril. 2020
- “The Politics of Hope” RABBI LORD JONATHAN SACKS
- George Lakoff, Don’t Think of an Elephant - Know Your Values and Frame the Debate 2014
- George Lakoff, The Political Mind. 2009
- Daniel Kahneman, Thinking Fast and Slow . 2013
The “Take-Aways” - a summary of key points from breakout groups and chat:
The importance of hope
- The antidote to despair is hope
- Being positive, focusing on what we want, not what we don’t want
- The importance of self care - hope together with humour, laughing, dancing
- TMIG - “This moment is good”, Taking time to see the good things in life and be grateful amid the negativity (there were some who suggested this might be an acceptance of the status quo, but most saw it as positive)
- Changing the world from our hearts
The importance of action not resignation
- Hope must be tied to action and being involved
- “Hope to” rather than “hope for” gives people agency
- Need a vision of what we are working towards rather than focusing on the negative
- The need for persistence/perseverance to make things happen
The importance of stories
- Stories are key to culture and we need a new story if we are to change the culture.
- Need to be able to tell our own story in the context of the bigger picture - “I” stories.
- Need to have a story to tell about the BC Greens
- Telling to story on an ongoing basis, not just during election campaigns
The importance of local connections
- Finding like-minded people to connect with
- Community is the superpower where hope lies
- Focus on “we” - our social networks
- Caring for future generations (7 generations)
- Stories are a key part of connecting with others
We cannot wait for a unifying crisis before we act
- By then it will be too late
- We need to confront the climate crisis and call it what it is - a crisis or emergency.
- Unity after a catastrophe is often short lived
- We have to come together and take action
We are losing the ability to disagree and are failing to find common ground
Resource suggestions by participants:
- Peter Zeihan, The End of the World is Just Beginning: Mapping the Collapse of Globalization. 2022
- Stefano Mancus, The Nation of Plants. 2019
- Elizabeth May, Who We Are. 2014
- Naomi Klein, The Shock Doctrine. 2007
- Confront the Climate Emergency: An Urgent Call to the BC Government. December 2022
- Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty (FFNPT)