“Activism is often seen as showing up at meetings, going on marches, campaigning, which is hugely important. I learnt a lot here from Joanna Macy. She talks about the Great Turning as a big story that can happen through us in this time. She talks about three dimensions in that Great Turning. The first (although all three are of equal importance) is the ‘holding actions’ that are often seen as traditional activism. Holding actions is how do we hold on to what’s of value? How do we act to protect the biosphere, the resources? That involves the campaigns, the raising awareness, the public lawsuits, the showing up for legislative change.
But then the second type of activism, second in a trio of equals, is about actions and structures to support a sustainable society. I think about it as the green shoots of a new way of living. It’s developing sustainable education, it’s looking at sustainability in healthcare, it’s looking at our whole patterns of communication. It’s looking at how we organise ourselves, how we have our meetings. It’s building a new society around us. It’s not waiting until some international committee agrees or some government is voted in. It’s saying “let’s start here and now”. What would a life-affirming society look like? How do we start building that now? That includes things like permaculture, things like Incredible Edible Todmorden. It includes things like the Million Miles project in Black Isle. It includes many of the things that you wrote about in ’21 Stories of Transition’. That’s the second type of activism.
The third is about the consciousness shift; looking at the inner landscape of our mind and hearts. The work very importantly pioneered by people like Sophy Banks around Inner Transition. We see that as part of activism. Part of activism is paying attention to what happens in our inner landscape, what I’ve talked about as the middle bit of change between awareness and action”.