A piece of blank paper. It’s taken out of a packaging which states about the content, “A4, 500 sheets, FSC®Certified EU Eco label Recycled 100%, 80 gsm, 150 CIE.” Neither does it say magic nor time machine in the description, even though clearly everything can happen on a piece of paper.
Your point of origin
If you think about an event in your life when you were 7 years old it can take you to that very moment. Descriptions of surroundings, touch, smell, taste and dialogues create the portal activating your personal time machine. How you feel in this instant can be expressed on paper with words, drawings, paintings, mind maps or with music notes. Likewise, plans and sketches of everything from gardening, video making, sculptures to the community you dream of can be a building bricks for the future on a piece of paper.
Processing feelings and creating envisaged solutions
Climate change has an unquestionable effect on our lives. Our (lost) connection to nature is not only to be decoded in state of the world information available in graphs and statistics including species loss, increasing temperatures and carbon dioxide molecules in the atmosphere. How to express ecological grief, climate grief, any sadness experienced due to the loss caused by environmental destruction or climate change? Artistic expression can be one of many ways to face one’s emotions.
“Our response to this crisis may vary: from measured expressions of hope through to feelings of despair. Art is one way of articulating and processing these feelings and of sharing envisaged solutions,” states the University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
The Trust is behind the Health and the Climate and Ecological Emergency Exhibition website which displays submissions in different media such as painting, photography, print, sculpture, performance and video.
The article, The art exploring the truth about how climate change began shows us that art can also bring insight about the causes and effects of climate change. This exhibition looks into the roots of global warming and how it impacts the developing world. It points out a link between the world's environmental issues, colonialism and slavery.
Resilient narratives and creative steps for the future
There are several creative, artistic tools available to us when wanting to go towards more sustainable living. Here’s a few on our list.
At Surefoot we work with communities and individuals to strive towards net zero, promote low-carbon living and climate justice, build resilience and support mindful consumption. We often bring creative tools into our workshops when inviting participants to explore and share feelings and ideas. Please contact Surefoot if you would like to know more.
To decode narratives as well as creating new stories about the natural world you might find the free online course in ecolinguistics funded by the University of Gloucestershire useful.
“Ecolinguistics provides tools for revealing the stories we live by, questioning them from an ecological perspective, and contributing to the search for new stories to live by.”
The Scottish Communities Climate Action Network has created a Storyteller Collective. Please enjoy the first of a two-part short story ‘The Egg Hunter’ by Surefoot’s Gazelle Buchholtz, a story with a futuristic view into recovering what is first believed lost.
Poems are known to evoke feelings and to make it possible to connect to oneself and surroundings. How does the poem ‘Kinship’ by Ursula Le Guin affect you?
Please contact Surefoot if you would like to share any piece of magic which you find supportive in the ecological emergency.
We benefit from varied landscapes with space for myriads of species - each living with a role to play. Being engrossed in such a rich environment can be both soothing and stimulating. Likewise, the International Conference on Ecolinguistics in April was a life-giving boost. The three days were packed with knowledge sharing on tackling real-world issues equipped with Ecolinguistics which is a term describing the connection between environment and language in a broad sense - Eco-language. The wide range of experiences based on activism, art, campaigning, education, research and studies on ways of expression, underlined that through these activities we can strengthen the life-sustaining interactions for all the beings on the planet and the planet itself. Ecolinguistics can support humans to connect with other-than-human nature.
Pam and Gazelle from Surefoot both delivered workshops. 'Using the tools of Nature to Breakthrough for Resilience' was one of the workshops, and is rooted in one of our European projects - a new element in the Eco-language tool box.
Interested in knowing more?
1) Free online course Stories we Live by about Ecolinguistics. The course is funded by the University of Gloucestershire for public benefit.
2) Check out what Surefoot offers to equip people, communities and organisations with skills for sustainability and resilience.
Here’s a collection of some of our articles which have been in our newsletters or published elsewhere.