This is cross-posted from The Otesha Project UK blog
It’s sad but true that in a month, I’ll be leaving my current role at Otesha to go back to school and do a masters at Sussex Uni in Climate Change & Policy. I’m a mix of emotions – sad to be leaving, excited to move to a new city but also thinking a lot about what it means to be moving away from all the invigorating, life-affirming, life-changing grassroots work that I’ve been privileged to be involved in these past couple of years, and moving towards talk of economics, markets, policy and acronyms.
I’ve had to justify my position to a lot of people, who think the system is broken and therefore I shouldn’t go there, that change can only happen on the ground. On the flipside, others have breathed a sigh of relief – “thank god” I can see them thinking “she’s going to get off her bike and start making real change where it matters”!
But surely, SURELY, it can’t be that cut and dried. The environmental justice movement is a spectrum, and there is a need for us all, and therefore maybe we need to do it all. I want to be able to engage at that level, and talk to big and important people, and tell them with confidence why they are clearly wrong not to put global equality, safety and health at the top of their priority list. But at the same time, I’ll never stop doing cool things on the ground, challenging the system we’re working in, empowering others and riding my bike!
I stumbled across this Sesame Street video on another blog, and it reminded me how intelligent that show was (no reason to go to school when you have Jim Henson’s moral code) and got me thinking about all this movement stuff. It’s a brilliant illustration of how we might all march to a different beat, but how powerful and creative we can be when we work together – “suppose you do your kind of drumming and I do my kind of drumming at the SAME TIME”?
I imagine here that Bert is working for DECC (he’s a bit like that isn’t he), slow and steady. And Ernie is a rebel Climate Camper. We need both and we need them at the same time. This is urgent stuff and we can’t leave any doors unopened. But whatever you do, as Bert says, you gotta have soul.