Today, 30th November, is the first day of Advent or the first day of the liturgical year, a season of deeper reflection on our place in the world and what it means to live a good life.
Today is the first day of COP21 in Paris, the UN Conference of Parties to agree a global deal to tackle climate change. The photo above is from yesterday’s People’s Climate March in London, one of many around the world voicing how much we care about the continuity of life. (How bizarre that we have to say over and over how important that is!)
Today is the international Remembrance Day for Lost Species. This says, Lest we forget, three species are lost to eternity every hour. How can we begin to act effectively, if we do not begin by engaging with the grief? Today you are invited to toll a bell for the lost species past and to come.
This is also the start of National Tree Week, encouraging planting and care of trees, and awareness of the value of trees.
What do these four things have to do with each other?
Well, oil or fossil fuels in general, is one big linking factor:
Climate change (caused mainly by emissions of fossil fuels) combined with deforestation (mainly due to agriculture) is leading to the Sixth Mass Extinction. We are on course to temperature rises by 2100 that will make the planet unliveable for all vertebrate species.
Trees are an essential type of organism that enable life to thrive on the planet. Climate change is causing drought and diseases that lead to catastrophic forest fires. In turn, the emissions from these fires are ramping up the CO2 in the atmosphere. Deforestation by fire is also a deliberate tactic, for example, clearing forests for palm oil plantations.
So, this Advent is a time to think more, more deeply and altruistically. And then to take action. What are you going to do?
If you need help, many of the links in this post are to a resource I have created, Future Action Culture Tools. There are 31 workshop activities, aimed mainly at cultural organisations wanting to consider how they should respond to big global challenges. (They will be useful for other kinds of public service organisation or charity too, interested in how to use creativity or effect cultural change.)