We have 8 years left if we want to have a livable future.
8 years to halve GHG emissions, while they are currently at an all time high.
8 years to completely transform our societies and come up with new ways of living that don't harm our planet - changing everything from how we produce, exchange goods, eat, travel, work…
Although I have been working on stopping climate change since the early 2000s this number has hit me somewhere deep in my stomach and takes my breath.
When I finished school I got involved in activism, joining the anti-nuclear movement in Germany and then becoming a climber for Greenpeace. I went on and became a Climate Campaigner with Greenpeace International and Head of Global Campaign Coordination with Climate Action Network International.
After the Paris Climate Summit I felt I needed to apply my skills in a different way, ensuring that NGOs co-created their strategies and had meetings that led to real outcomes that people felt ownership of. I worked with countless NGO coalitions, international NGOs and foundations and enjoyed every single year.
But this is not enough anymore! 8 years - is all we have left.
To create this unprecedented shift in the coming 8 years, our efforts need to concentrate on shifting what is regarded as possible, so that policy makers don’t just make one little reform after another but dare to transform.
As leading scientist Johan Rockstroem puts it:
“We're still allowing ourselves to believe that this can be handled incrementally, when in fact, we need to have exponential changes and take some big decisions. We need to recognize the need for more ‘radical politics’ or ‘radical governance’.
This will be a battle of power. There are a lot of vested interests, people who greatly (financially) benefit from the status quo and have strong relationships with our decision makers, who will push against any real transformation.
There is a lot of good “inside game” work out there - providing evidence and advocating for reforms of the current system. However, in the next 8 years we need to up the “outside game” - public mobilisations and bold efforts that demand radical transformation - from regenerative economies to new ownership models and alternative financial systems.
Organisations and people who are willing to dream, stand up to vested interests and practise what they preach by working in new ways.
From the suffragettes, through the US Civil Rights Movements to Black Lives Matter, successful protest movements lay the foundation for the - until then - unimaginable societal change. (Also see the great work from the Ayni Institute on how mass protest makes an impact.)
This is why I have become an activist again - putting my body between destruction and my children’s future. Last week I joined over 500 people in a climate action that grounded private planes and called for an immediate end of all short haul and private flights. This resulted in the Amsterdam City Council looking into forbidding private commercial flights.
And this is why I I feel - as trainer and facilitator - I can make the biggest impact working within the social movement ecology to;
Support groups that aim to change the public discourse to truly co-create people-powered campaigns that mobilise effectively and at scale to show that we are many and change is inevitable.
Help teams and groups create a culture and processes where regenerative and inclusive leadership becomes a lived experience.
Support organisations to host spaces for (cross border & cross issue) exchange and community building to grow the field and ensure intersectional thinking rather than single issue campaigns.
Help groups in crafting narratives that speak to ever more people - motivating the base and moving the persuadables.
Train emerging leaders in regenerative leadership and participatory strategy development based on system and design thinking.
“It was a time when the unthinkable became the thinkable and the impossible really happened”
― Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things
I am looking to support like minded people to work together to make this change - is it you?
If I can help you in any of these ways or would like to explore other ways I might be able to support you, please get in touch .
We only have 8 years left and there is a hell of a lot to do.