Little by little, we come to understand that the whole world is one community. Our community includes everybody.
We have a natural feeling for others. How can we turn our backs on the pain of the poor, the vulnerable and the disenfranchised?
Because of the economic, political and social interwovenness of the modern world, we are all implicated in the causes of poverty, injustice and discrimination.
The wealth and power of the few rests upon systematic subjection of the many.
Because we live in a partly (or partly functioning) democratic society, in a globalised world, we have a direct line of responsibility to all who suffer – equally when they are near and seen, or distant and out of view.
The question we have to ask is:
What am I going to do
about the suffering and oppression of others?
We have a duty to all feeling, sentient creatures – and therefore to the integrity of the web of life as a whole – and therefore to the environment as a whole.
There will be no lasting peace
while there is appalling injustice and poverty.
There will be no genuine security
if the planet is ravaged by climate change.
Incredible though it may seem, a few people are still pretending that there is no crisis of the environment. But the evidence is plain.
The way we live is unsustainable. We are too many, we live too well, and it can't go on. We face species extinctions, environmental degradation, and climate change. Unless we act now, there will certainly be warfare, as people fight over water, land, food and scarce resources. Other civilisations, which seemed secure, have crumbled into dust.
When they make a desert,
they call it peace.
We have been making a desert, and calling it wealth.
How are we going to turn things around? How shall we set about leaving behind a world, which is fit for our children to dwell in?
It is time to ask –
What am I going to do
about the destruction of the global environment?
But perhaps you feel helpless?
Whatever you do will be insignificant,
but it is very important that you do it.
You must be the change
that you want to see in the world.
Act anyway. Join with others. Do what you can.
It is never right, to abandon hope.
Art, justice, environment
We come to think of an idealist as one who seeks to realize
what is not in fact realizable.
But, it is necessary to insist,
to have ideals is not the same as to have impracticable ideals,
however often it may be the case that our ideals are impracticable.
I very much like to work with a person – using experiential focusing as a source of direction and creativity – when the project on which they are working belongs to one of three kinds. These are projects, which relate to my own deep interests and concerns:
- Creative arts projects
- Environmental projects
- Social justice projects.
Creative arts projects
I am fascinated by the magic of words, sounds, gestures and images, and have many years experience of engaging with creative and artistic projects.
Only through the power of the artist to engage hearts and minds do we become fully human, able to commit ourselves to life, and to take a full part in the life of the world.
The three practices of being in the body, the act of creation, and situational focusing work together to set free the artistic forms and images which are generating in your mind.
Only when the last tree has withered,
the last fish is caught,
and the last river has been poisoned,
will we realize we cannot eat money.
—Cree Indian tribal saying
I love wild places, and am deeply troubled by what is happening to the environment. It means a great deal to me when I can support an environmental project.
Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power.
We have guided missiles and misguided men.
—Martin Luther King
We have to gather our courage now, to face how bad things are – and to act decisively.
We the human race have ruined the earth,
and our own chances,
by greedy exploitation.
It's almost, but not quite, too late
to take steps – but what steps? – to retrieve the situation.
—David Hughes and Gerry Durrell
Social justice projects
The way of acquiescence leads to moral and spiritual suicide.
The way of violence leads to bitterness in the survivors
and brutality in the destroyers.
But the way of non-violence leads to redemption
and the creation of the beloved community.
—Martin Luther King
I am haunted by the great issues of social justice, equality, peace and human rights.
I want to do whatever I can to help people who are fighting against violence or injustice, alleviating suffering, or working to dissolve tension and build bridges between those who fear and distrust one another.
The time for the healing of the wounds has come.
The moment to bridge the chasms that divide us has come.
The time to build is upon us.
—Nelson Mandela (speech at Pretoria, 10th May 1994)
It is too easy to look away from the suffering of others, as if it were nothing to us, who can shelter for a little while in some local comfort and security.