How can we remain creative and hopeful in these crazy times? Jaimie has been thinking deeply about this question for the past few months. Her recent blog posts, Game on or Game over? (with video) and Easier Done than Said: Move from Fear to Action by Educating for a Sustainable Future address this topic and encourage us to get to work. In her recent webinar, Staying Hopeful: Gathering strength for the work ahead, Jaimie asks the question, “Why should we be hopeful?” She offers up three big ideas that have been a source of inspiration during this time of negativity and chaos. These concepts are useful, natural occurrences that can serve, both as metaphor, and as examples of how life organizes towards life on our spaceship called Earth.
The Imaginal Cell: If you’ve heard the saying, “There’s nothing in the caterpillar that implies the butterfly”, then you are familiar with this concept. The truly astonishing thing here is that there is absolutely no structural similarity between a caterpillar and a butterfly. From death or transformation, the new begins. This inspires hope during times of great change.
The Maelstrom: Formed in a state of chaos and turmoil, this phenomenon creates a dangerous downward spiral. Harder to perceive, but of vital importance, is the counterforce that spirals up at the same time. This is what we need to pay attention to. There are stories of ships caught in a maelstrom, whose wise captains recognize and jump over to the counterforce to be saved. In nature, appropriate disturbances create new cycles of life. What are these counter-forces that we can hitch our wagons to so that we don’t get taken down by our current maelstrom?
Emergence: Referring to the existence of collective behaviors, emergence happens when parts of a system do together what they would not do alone. For example, cells that make up a muscle display the emergent property of working together to produce the muscle's overall structure and movement. Radical change can also happen when networks of people with a shared vision of what’s possible learn and connect with each other. Learning communities are created and spread out, taking the new knowledge to scale. This new system of wisdom has greater power and influence over the larger system, creating the potential for large-scale transformation.
Before opening up the program to questions and comments, Jaimie provided some real-world examples that have given her hope to keep working towards a sustainable future:
GDP decoupled from CO2 emissions in recent years - For the first time, economic growth was not linked to increased carbon emissions in many places due to investments in clean energy.
Regenerative farming movement - This increasingly common practice, using natural principles, restores biodiversity and sequesters CO2.
Buckminster Fuller Challenge - Visit the website to be inspired by the work people are doing around the world, including Living Building Challenge.
NYC Zero Waste Plan - With a comprehensive plan to reduce waste, improve recycling rates, and divert organics from landfill, New York City aims to reduce the amount of material it sends to landfill by 90% by 2030.
Project Drawdown - This project, edited by Paul Hawken, gathered a qualified and diverse group of researchers from around the world to identify, research, and model the 100 most substantive, existing solutions to address climate change. Did you know the education of girls is part of the solution to climate change?
Ecological Footprint - This tool helps us to measure how much nature we have and how much nature we use. It lets us know how we are doing and how far we have to go.
The Awakening of our Democracy - More and more people are becoming informed and participating in our democratic process. From getting out the vote to running for office, we now understand that we must participate in order to have a healthy democracy.
Below is a link to the webinar. Listen as Jaimie and webinar participants reveal how they stay hopeful for the work ahead. Let us know what inspires you in the comments. Stay tuned for our next opportunity to learn and grow together.