I first met Zori at an Improvisational Theatre workshop. I set up the free weekly gathering as I had recently discovered Improv and knew I needed it in my life. It is the perfect therapy for a perfectionist, for someone who feels they need to know and calculate everything before doing something. Because you can’t do that with Improv. After the workshop a group of us went to dinner and I told Zori the paper I had been working on. As a former IT entrepreneur and someone exploring the possibility of starting a business, she was interested in the environmental theme. I explained how during my year unpaid sabbatical from my University job, I had returned to reading the scientific literature on climate change, and had concluded that it is too late to sustain the industrial consumer societies that we depend upon. I had also concluded that this scenario was not in the distant future, but that many of us would suffer and die as a result of the breakdown of the systems that feed, cloth, house, protect and motivate us.
“How long do we have?” asked Zori, as we waited for our dinner.
During the pandemic many people appear to have had their capabilities for logic and ethics vaporised in the heat of fear and the distortions of reality from elite interests. Consequently, from a serious public health perspective, the conversations about the pandemic are mostly silly. That does not mean there are really serious and damaging outcomes for individuals and societies. Millions of lives were lost and many might have been saved with smarter actions and more free flowing information. Now millions more lives are being risked due to the impacts of policies on supply chains and the cascading impacts on the poor worldwide. But given how much misinformed piety and pseudo professionalism is on show, it can be helpful at times to simply laugh at the orthodoxy on the pandemic. Here are some examples.
Medical officials ignoring early outpatient treatment from their frontline colleagues? Arrogantly silly.
Bigtech firms suppressing such information that might save lives? Ruthlessly silly.
Since April 2020 most media corporations have encouraged hostility towards open scientific dialogue and normal policy scrutiny. That has been accentuated by the way domestic partisan politics in North America has influenced media content globally and provoked censorship from Big Technology platforms. The sad result is that misinformed and emotionally activated people share misinformed and outrage-inviting commentary on the analysis of people who are demanding more open scientific dialogue and normal policy scrutiny. That creates a barrier to people discovering what is actually being said by people like me. Therefore I am listing my key writings on Covid in one place so it is easy to access them.
Africa has fared far better than the West in the direct impacts of Covid-19. With 16% of the world’s population, Africa has had only around 5% of the world’s Covid cases, with only about 7% of the population double-jabbed against the virus. Half of African countries have Covid mortality rates lower than 1 in 10,000 people – less than one-twentieth the rate in the USA.
So what can people in the West, of any political leaning, learn from the pandemic response in Africa?
Tragically, the impacts of policies against Covid have put tens of millions of people into poverty through their disruption to economies and supply chains. That shows how ‘Western panic’ may be exerting severe collateral damage around the world. So what can people outside the West learn about the dangers of ‘Western panic’?
In an invited contribution to the ‘Existing Otherwise’ art exhibition in Ghana I share reflections during a 15 minute ‘walk and talk’ video.
Reverend Stephen G Wright is Spiritual Director and trustee for the Sacred Space Foundation and the the founder of the St. Kentigern School for Contemplatives. Recently he was elected as a member of the Holding Group of the Deep Adaptation Forum.
In this #DeepAdaptation Q&A hosted by Katie Carr, Reverend Wright explores spirituality and the role of the mystic-contemplative in deep adaptation. It includes “the spiritual life as a fierce de-addiction programme”, “Learning to keep your heart open in hell” (#RamDass), and Peggy Lee’s “Is That All There is?”
Hear from people who are responding to their anticipation or experience of societal disruption in fascinating ways – and ask them questions. These Q&A sessions are hosted by either Professor Jem Bendell or Katie Carr and feature questions from participants in the DA movement. They are free to attend and most are open to anyone. Videos of the Q&As are posted online afterwards and previous ones with guests including Joanna Macy and Charles Eisenstein can be viewed here. Further Q&As will be added to the programme in 2022 – stay up-to-date with the latest additions via the DA Leadership group.
Reverend Stephen G Wright – Interfaith minister and member of the Holding Group of the Deep Adaptation Forum. January 25th 2022
Join Katie Carr as Stephen discusses engaged spirituality, and the role of the mystic-completive in deep adaptation to societal collapse. Check details and book your place.
In December 2020 over 600 academics signed an international Scholars’ Warning on societal disruption and collapse. It led to the formation of an initiative to help more scholars to engage publicly about their views on collapse risk, readiness and response. This is a quick summary of what has happened and what is in the pipeline.
By registering their support for a more radical agenda on our climate predicament, including the need to discuss collapse risk, readiness and response, now journalists can find these scholars and bring these ideas to wider attention. One example is an ‘Inside Climate News’ article that interviewed a number of signatories.
This is the 6th in a 7-part essay on the type of policy innovations that would respond to the truth of the environmental predicament and, also, why most environmental professionals ignore such ideas to promote limited and limiting ideas instead. These ideas on a #RealGreenRevolution provide a contrast to current agendas, with the aim of encouraging a global environmental movement as a rights-based political force. In this part of the essay, I focus on some sensitive issues about life and death, which have become even more polarised due to pandemic policy responses.
The impacts of current levels of climate change on agriculture are already scary. The modelling of what could happen when we pass 1.5 degrees global ambient warming is much scarier. Our civilisation is based on grains, which feed us humans about 80 percent of our calories, either directly or via animal feed. With 1.5 degrees warming the risk becomes high for prolonged droughts or unseasonal frosts harming the production in multiple major grain exporting regions around the world in the same year. Therefore, our agricultural and food systems need urgent diversification in ways that do not increase, but reduce carbon emissions.
This is the 5th in a 7-part essay on the type of policy innovations that would respond to the truth of the environmental predicament and, also, why most environmental professionals ignore such ideas to promote limited and limiting ideas instead. These ideas on a #RealGreenRevolution provide a contrast to current agendas, with the aim of encouraging a global environmental movement as a rights-based political force. In this part of the essay, I focus on financing initiatives, geoengineering (climate restoration and repair), reparations and ecocide, migrating ecosystems, nuclear power and the difficult reality of systemic work on climate adaptation – nothing much to argue about then 😉
Over the past decades many pledges to fund climate action and other international causes, such as poverty reduction, have remained unfulfilled. Even though the pledged amounts fall short of what is required, and are peanuts compared to the bailouts for banks or spending on the military, nevertheless they are retracted when governments seek to cut expenditures on what they consider non-essential. The climate predicament is a shared global concern and therefore efforts on the whole #ClimatePlus agenda need a new global financing system. No longer must we rely on existing government budgets or the benevolence of richer nations and their future politicians. Therefore we need serious consideration of new forms of international seigniorage of monetary instruments.