I just attended the Voices of Hope in a time of crisis conference in NYC.
We are in crisis for sure – environmentally, economically, culturally, healthwise, politically. It is quite chaotic out there. Why is this crisis manifesting itself across the board on all fronts? Because everything is interconnected, which makes it very complex. Yet, there is hope when we can see the bigger patterns, the grassroots movements that show where we may be headed, the pioneers who are guiding us with their visions. That’s what this conference was about – not losing sight of the bigger picture, or perhaps rather recognizing it.
We heard awesome speakers whose minds fiercely cut with determination through the grease of chaos (Chris Hedges, Laura Flanders, Camila Moreno, Elizabeth Yeampierre, Michael Shuman), or quietly plowed through the cultural morass fuelled by an inner vision (Catherine Ingram, Bayo Akomolafe), or joyfully embrace a life as we would all like to see it (Scott Chaskey, Judy Wicks, Manish Jain).
The overriding message of the conference was the importance of relocalization of our economies to put the power back into peoples’ hands in a very direct and practical way – Helena Norberg-Hodge said “our arms have grown so long that we can no longer see what our hands are doing.” Other messages were about rebalancing male and female energy to get away from the relentless push towards efficiency, and changing I to We in a spirit of cooperation. And while many tend to see the crux of the problem in their particular discipline, and others believe that the ultimate and main challenge of the 21st century is climate change, Charles Eisenstein, one of the speakers and an author with a big vision, put another spin on resolving our chaos. He said that precisely because everything is interconnected you can move and shift and budge in one area and things will seemingly miraculously start to move and budge and shift in other areas. It works that way on a personal level, and it works that way culturally once critical mass has been achieved. But shift we must.
When we come together as a community and enact a vision, as we do here in Warwick, there is hope.