Novasutras is an emerging eco-spiritual movement, to nurture and uplift one another during these challenging times, as we create a world that works for all people and all species of life on Earth. Novasutras honors both spirituality and science in the quest to understand our existence, open our minds, expand our hearts, and guide us into action.

Why did you join the Rapid Transition Alliance?

As an eco-activist and eco-spiritual organisation, we at Novasutras are devoted to creating a world where all can thrive. We need a rapid transition toward true climate justice, for all people and all species. The faster we can make our transition to climate sanity, the less suffering will be experienced, the more people, species and ecosystems will be saved.

What for you is the biggest challenge of rapid transition?

The corporations and profiteers who have most benefited from the rate of growth that has been possible under the old fossil fuel economy have accumulated enormous concentrations of wealth and power. They have perpetuated the myth that such growth can continue. It is now up to us to develop fair and sustainable alternatives, and create new models for how to live together in ways that protect and restore a healthy climate, thriving ecosystems, and humane cultures where everyone receives care and respect.

What is your organisation doing to encourage rapid transition?

We help activists build personal resilience and skills that make them more effective change agents. We help people reconnect with their love for the living world, and remember their interdependence and relationships in the community of life. We help people understand and remember that they are not alone in this struggle, and they do not have to face the challenges of climate disruption alone.

We also engage in more direct action, helping to organize local climate justice protest actions, mobilizing around stopping new pipeline projects, and encouraging big banks to stop funding fossil fuel projects. 

Novasutras projects manifest compassion and care for all people and other beings on Earth. We focus on education, idea incubation, community- and capacity-building, nonviolent direct action campaigns, and supporting the efforts of changemakers around the world.

What is your favourite example of rapid transition?

In Novasutras, we appreciate ideas like biomimicry (learning from Nature’s examples), and perspectives that are informed by an understanding of complex adaptive systems. From a systems-thinking perspective, it often helps to seek solutions that address more than one problem. 

We love the permaculture model, not just as a way to cultivate healthy and diverse food, but also as a set of principles for envisioning more ecologically sane economies and societies. These principles align with the core principles of Novasutras: 

  • Life is sacred
  • Change is essential, inevitable and important
  • Complexity and maturity emerge from cooperative relationships
  • The beauty of the living world is to be savoured, honoured, celebrated and protected

The four-day work-week idea is another good example for rapid transition, because it solves multiple problems. It reduces fuel use for transportation by cutting commutes. It cuts down on consumption of disposables and food waste because people have more time to cook, clean and mend things. It even increases productivity in most workplaces where it has been tried.  Best of all, when implemented fairly, it improves quality of life by giving people more time for connecting with family and building community, without reducing people’s ability to meet their needs.

What one thing would best help the task of rapid transition?

From deeper within the systems-thinking perspective, one of the most powerful places to make change is to change the mindset or paradigm that created the problems in the current system. We also know that a complex system often looks like it is not changing very much, until it reaches a tipping point of incredibly rapid change. By working at the deep levels of changing mindsets, while simultaneously supporting the actions today to halt destruction and save all that we can, we are creating the next system, while doing what we can to minimise the harm that might be experienced through the inevitable rapid transition.

Michelle Y. Merrill

Michelle Y. Merrill

Michelle Merrill founded Novasutras as an exploration of how we can connect with, learn from, and teach each other to co-create a more regenerative, resilient culture. She is a meditation teacher, a writer, a climate justice activist, a community organizer, a workshop facilitator, and a public speaker.