Background to Grieving in this Climate Change

by Victoria Walker. 

I first became aware of KSCA through attending Futurelands 2, a fantastic festival of ideas and regenerative agriculture presented in Kandos, NSW in 2016. This led to my attending other talks and events and eventually KSCA came to support my current project ‘Grieving in this Climate Change’.

I have been involved in environmental work since early adulthood, from my early days in plant nurseries trying to champion organic gardening over chemical applications, through a career as a sustainability educator with several Sydney councils and a wide range of communities.

For a long time I believed that if only people had the skills to make the right choices, they would do so and the ecological benefits would flow. After ten years in the field of community engagement and education I can see that our conundrum is so much more multifaceted. Information no longer seems like an adequate way to address the many crises we currently face. 

I started to realise that there is something happening, at a cultural level, that prevents us from moving forward together into a more hopeful future. Many of us still seem to be stuck in a space of disconnection: disconnection from our natural world, from each other, and even from many parts of ourselves and our experience of being alive.  

This realisation led me to the work that reconnects. This incredible body of work has helped me understand how we begin to move through this place of disconnection. This work is both theory and practice, and I think it has immense value.  

There is a growing awareness of ‘ecological grief’ as the global collective confronts the realities of climate change, ecological loss and a genuinely uncertain future. Joanna Macy describes the responses that so many of us are feeling as a “normal, healthy response to a world in trauma”.  There are taboos about discussing these feelings in social situations, but that does not preclude our need to share our experience of them.

I am synthesising this work with lessons I’ve learned through permaculture design, studies in social ecology and emotional healing work with Academy of Authenticity

My work now aims to facilitate a reconnection to our natural ‘more than human’ world. The volume of ‘bad news’ we receive about the health of the environment and terrifying future scenarios sometimes causes us to shut down and turn away. The reality becomes unbearable. To rekindle our connection with nature requires us to open up the feedback loops of information, and this means confronting some scary truths. But by uncovering our connection we discover our capacity to act, and respond to the need that we see all around us. 

This year, I have facilitated Grieving in this Climate Change sessions with Diego Bonetto in Sydney, with Lyttleton Stores in the Blue Mountains and at the Grounded Permaculture Action Party.

If you would like to be involved please come along to the Grieving in this Climate Change, on August 1 in Erskineville. Direct ticket link here. Alternatively, contact me through my page Blue Mountains Downshifters. I would love to hear from you.