From April 20 to 26 2019, Integral City’s Founder Marilyn Hamilton, immersed herself in the Climate Change and Consciousness Conference 2019 CCC19. With more than a month to consider the impact, we consider how the Integral City Intelligences reveal the capacities and outcomes of CCC19 in terms of Integral City inquiry, action and impact.
The intentions of the Climate Change and Consciousness Conference 2019 CCC19 were to leave a Legacy for Earth. The design of the conference brought together 300 people from around the world, with special resources allocated to bring in both youth and Indigenous representatives.
The intensity of the conference was brought home by a host of excellent keynote speakers, including Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq, Polly Higgins, Charles Eisenstein, Vandana Shiva, Bill McKibben, Jonathan Porritt and Xiutezcatl Martinez.
The themes for each day walked us through an integrally designed developmental process so we could listen deeply to the messages (It/Its), each other (You/We) and our selves (I/We):
Opening Night, Bill McKibben shared his disappointment with the world’s nations’ decade of failure to respond to the steady stream of facts and warnings related to CO2 emissions. (This was a more negative message than Paul Hawken’s Drawdown proposition that we have all the information needed to make 100 key changes even in the face of IPCC’s warning that we have 12 years to take measurable action – and that we considered in the pre-conference cChallenge.)
Day 2, Rising to Immediacy with Vandana Shiva’s no-nonsense message of “Soil not Oil”, emphatically describing the ways agriculture could be radically weaned off its industrialized methods back to natural and life-giving, higher yield agriculture.
Day 3, Awakening to Consciousness featured Charles Eisenstein’s commitment to Earth as a Living System. His book “Climate” argues for the same kind of natural agriculture as Vandana Shiva and the need to focus on the health of our water cycles even ahead of the carbonization priorities.
Also, Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq an Eskimo-Kalaallit Elder from far North Greenland shared ceremony with us to honour the beauty of every soul and every day.
Day 4, Listening to the Future brought us the wisdom and activism of 18 year old Xiutezcatl Martinez. He demonstrated that the younger generation is already taking action as Earth Guardians and like Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion is not waiting for the older generations to wake up.
Day 5, Taking Responsibility was focused by Jonathan Porritt’s decades of political engagement challenging the status quo of corporate power bases.
Day 6, Stepping into Action was inspired by the last recording of Polly Higgins’ reminder that Climate Change demands action that is worth giving your life for.
Each of these speakers was erudite, inspiring and author of significant discourse, publications and media.
Polly Higgins, author of Eradicating Ecocide gave perhaps the strongest message, even as she died just as the conference started. But she made a convincing argument (on a recorded interview) that we must commit to protecting nature by enshrining crimes against the environment (ecocide) as an international crime through the Hague International Court for the Environment. (Her untiring dedication to this goal has positioned it to be taken to the next stage for acceptance and approval.)
The conference was designed so that participants had significant time for interaction with speakers and each other through Plenary World Cafes, break-out workshops and spontaneous Open Space sessions. Three of the most impactful – and unplanned events- arose with the Indigenous people and the youth.
Firstly Angaangaq, the Elder from Greenland, asked us “Why didn’t we listen” in 1963, when the elders said the “Big Ice” was melting. He went on to point out that the Amazon Rain Forest is the Earth’s lungs and the Big Ice is her temperature regulator. By destroying one we have altered the other and Earth is out of balance. He spoke truth to power in the plainest and most forceful way. ““Why didn’t we listen – it is too late now.”
The Indigenous asked for their rituals, protocols and lineages to be recognized in ways that they felt had been overlooked and disrespected. This resulted in a public apology to them that was very moving but was received by them with Grace and forgiveness.
The youth challenged the elders in the audience to stand up for them at Extinction Rebellion events by going to jail in place of the youth. Such a challenge really demanded that we “put our money where our mouth was”. Impressively, a significant number of elders stood up to confirm their willingness to sacrifice their “already well-lived lives” for a prison term (if necessary), so youth would not have their young lives marred by a prison sentence.
Now that I have had a chance to assimilate all that transpired at the conference, I have turned to the Integral City 12 Intelligences and assessed how the CCC19 experience demonstrated the necessity that cities be a vital part of the Climate Change initiatives (with pointing out instructions through the set of “rules” that support each intelligence). The next blog summarizes the assessment.