Climate Conversations

Tuesday, 3rd October 2023By Ethan Hanna

I feel a deep gratitude to life and for my life. It hasn’t always been easy and I’ve had my own experiences of suffering, but I cherish my life. The very possibility of being born human is a rare and wonderful thing, even if it’s easy to forget and take it for granted. Alongside my gratitude for life I also experience a deep pain for the suffering I witness in our world. This arises in me as a multitude of emotions including anger, sadness, disappointment, despair and fear.

In September 2022 I attended a Buddhist ecology camp, Green Earth Awakening, in the hills outside Taunton. While I was there I participated in workshops on Joanna Macy’s The Work That Reconnects, previously known as despair and empowerment work. During one workshop I took part in a role play, sitting opposite a person playing a being from the future. They asked me two questions. The first was ‘we hear that there were many things happening in your time, such as climate change, mass extinctions, extreme weather and wars. Did you know?’ I explained that I do know about these things and how painful it is to be aware of such things. The next question was ‘what did you do about it?’ and upon hearing the question I wept. I wept for the painful reality I had acknowledged that I know about, but I also wept knowing that I had to take action and change my life as a result.

In the time between September last year and now I have joined the Green Party, changed my bank to an ethical bank – Triodos, and been elected to Bude and Stratton town council as a Green Party councillor representing Stratton ward.

August saw the first of a series of ‘climate conversations’ at the Pearl Exchange. The climate conversations are a result of the questions I was asked in that role play last September in a field in the hills of Somerset. They are the result of a desire to respond creatively to the suffering I see and experience in our world. I encourage anyone who experiences pain for the world to join us in those conversations. There are no special qualifications for attending, and the space is for anyone and everyone who experiences pain for our world and a desire to be part of a shared creative response.

Hopefully there will be biscuits. Some might even be chocolatey.