If we are to heal the earth, we must also heal ourselves, individually and as communities. Moreover, the two are inter-connected. It’s all about relations — relations of mutual recognition and respect and mutual support and sustainability. It’s also about the daily practices of mutuality and responsible self-governance that support these relations.
First, that we all have ancestral relations to the land; and,
second, that positioning ourselves to reclaim this, at first just in our imagination as a possible shift in perspective, is a critical step in reconnecting with the earth and the urgent task of transforming our economic and political relations with it, for mutual survival.
“Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good is an admirable, even noble, vision, and expresses very eloquently what will have to be done if humanity is to escape the current race towards disaster.”– Noam Chomsky
An uplands pasture near the ancestral Menzies lands in Scotland.
Fable is an old-fashioned word for a story meant to convey a useful lesson. I noticed it used in several reviews of Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything on climate change and what to do about it in the context of addressing what the reviewer sensed as a gap in an otherwise excellent book: the absence of a vision to unite alternative action or, as one put it, a fable. I think the commons offers such a vision. This first of two blog posts is about being open to ancient story and vision.
Like so many activist writers, I knew what I was against: letting an overheated global corporate economy remain on a collision course with our increasingly distressed planet. But I couldn’t name what to do about this in terms meaningful enough for a social movement to sustain action on them.
Countdown to Paris, Dec., 2015: The People’s Climate & 350.org
This article starts “The People’s Climate” blog series by Heather Menzies, author of Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good: A memoir & a manifesto.
In Reclaiming the Commons, I praise Bill McKibben and 350.org as Luddites for our times for championing limits on energy extraction.
– Heather Menzies
# One: On why a “People’s Climate” works, but only so far.
If you’d marched to the UN shouting “the people’s climate” 20 years ago, it wouldn’t have made sense like it does now. Two things have changed.
Back then, scientist-experts informed government decision-makers who spoke and acted to defend common-good things like the climate and the environment on behalf of people and the planet. Sometimes they needed a nudge from opposition parties and civil society groups, but that generally moved things along, sort of; though the crisis kept deepening, becoming more palpably obvious too. Now civil society groups –the people– are taking the initiative, informing themselves of the science and telling decision-makers what to say and do, NOW. The fate of the earth, and of its climate is no longer a scientists’ or official policymakers’ issue. It has become a people’s issue.