To tackle climate change we must radically reframe our relationship with nature and the planet. New Alliance member – Anthropocene Actions – aims to do just this by promoting fair, loving and ecologically regenerative societies. We caught up with co- founder Peter Lipman to find out more.
Allyship and solidarity across issues, movements and networks is crucial if we’re to support each other and collaborate to address, mitigate and adapt to the many accelerating crises we’re experiencing. We are crashing through many planetary boundaries that support human societies including two degrees and more of global heating. This means accelerating disruptions at grand scales, so we urgently need to foster solidarity across differences to counter the fear and othering that we are seeing already, and intentionally organise to achieve fair, loving and regenerative cultures. Our ways of achieving transition may be different, but we share the Rapid Transition Alliance’s desire to act urgently at speed and scale while mindfully seeking a just transition that is equitable for all.
The difficulty of changing dominant paradigms from within those dominant paradigms; the resilience and pervasiveness of the notion of economic, now green, growth; the tension between our sense of urgency and the careful nurturing of connective, ‘relational tissue’ between people on which healthy movements for change can be sustained; our desire to act at scale knowing that scale can be the enemy of diversity; the lack of public discourse on global heating, loss of biodiversity, and the need for an equitable and just transition in the face of intransigent, powerful elites. All of these things are challenges. And the question exposes a challenge in our way of thinking and feeling about how we face the predicament we are in – that there is no “biggest challenge”. We all need to come together mindful of the intersectionality of all our issues – no one challenge is bigger, no one approach is the solution. Complexity requires a nuanced discourse and response rooted in compassion and pluriversality. In this sense a major challenge is to urgently move beyond the narrow cultural paradigm of those dominating societies that have led us to this great unravelling.
We are seeking to co-create ways of fostering solidarity across different cultures, geographies, sectors and issues whilst collaborating and learning internationally is accessible and remains possible. We are developing capacity and resources of localised hubs while fostering the network structures and relationships between them. We believe that enabling such connections is fundamentally important in responding to an approaching two degree world because true solidarity inspires and sustains us in times of crises. This work, Solidarity Matters, is operating at a cultural paradigm level by combining diverse cultural perspectives and experiences with developing the connective tissue of relationship that nurtures solidarity between us, and the embodied and tangible support that flows from that.
Our approach is to support people to meaningfully connect across diversity, online and in person, holding spaces and processes that foster broad and deep solidarity between activist practitioners. This is challenging work in the face of diverse norms and perspectives, yet together this emerging community of interest and of practice is developing skills and co-creating processes for strong relationships rich in many ways of knowing and being. True solidarity is hard, often messy, and needs time, space and processes for overcoming barriers to solidarity, including inequity of power and privilege and ongoing oppression. We are developing a solidarity “train the trainer” drawing on two previous phases of the work, and are hoping to beta test the cascading of this training within networked hubs starting later in 2021.
Favourite is not the right word, but the sheer speed and scale of reaction to the pandemic shows how quickly human societies can transition away from what has been assumed to be normal/inevitable. This includes many community level organisers supporting the old and sick, and although often inadequate at national levels, unprecedented levels of support for those with less material resources. It’s obviously not a perfect example of a just transition, but the rapid 18-month journey of the Global North towards living with pandemics reveals the possibility, and the dangers, of speedy transitions.
Genuine solidarity between people within movements and networks for change, supporting collaboration, emergence and self-organising whilst recognising and accepting our differences and addressing inequalities. Making more visible the scale and diversity of people already enabling transition will make the unravelling we’re experiencing less individually scary, and will give more permission to us all to work beyond the boundaries of the paradigms that constrain us. This requires those of us with the greatest privilege – the beneficiaries of the dominating systems at the root of the crises – to be more humble and willing to learn from others, and re-distributing our resources and funding, particularly to those who have been living for years with the impact of climate change and loss of biodiversity.
Was founding chair of Transition Network and former chair of the Common Cause Foundation. He also chaired the UK government’s Department for Energy and Climate Change’s Community Energy Contact Group. He worked at a UK charity, Sustrans, for 15 years, latterly as External Affairs Director, before setting up Anthropocene Actions.