“Inside the word “emergency” is “emerge”; from an emergency new things come forth. The old certainties are crumbling fast, but danger and possibility are sisters”, writes activist-author Rebecca Solnit in her book Hope in the Dark.
Written in 2005, in the midst of the Bush Administration and the Iraq War, things have changed since Solnit wrote her paean to hope, but her words still ring true. Whenever people retreat into old certainties, despair, or prophesy the end of the world, something altogether more unexpected happens.
We live in times of unparalleled, converging crises- from climate change to a resurgent far-right to a sixth mass extinction of species. But this should be a cause for action, not despair or wilful ignorance; a call to examine the possibilities offered by the crumbling of old certainties.
This Winter we will be exploring these possibilities in our talks trilogy: Positive Alternatives, Regenerative Pathways.
In the coming months we will host George Monbiot, Shaun Chamberlin, Peter & Annabelle Macfadyen and Susanna Rustin for ‘Gaia Evening’s in north London. Together we will consider how to navigate the challenging times we find ourselves in, and share stories, examples and inspirations that offer immense hope and cause for action.
Follow the links below to book your place.
Out of the Wreckage – A New Politics for an Age of Crisis, With George Monbiot
Thursday 23rd November, 6.30pm wine and nibbles, 7pm talk followed by Q&A. Heath Street Baptist Church, Hampstead, NW3 1DP
George Monbiot shows how a toxic ideology of extreme competition and individualism not only rules the world, but misrepresents human nature, thereby destroying hope and common purpose whilst fracturing communities and the ecosystems upon which we all depend. He argues that only a positive vision can replace it; a new story that re-engages people in politics and lights a path to a better world, and a more respectful relationship with our beautiful planet. More event details and booking here.
Surviving the Future – A celebration of the Life & Work of David Fleming, With Shaun Chamberlin.
Thursday 30th November, 6.30pm: drinks and buffet at Gaia House, 7.30pm – 9pm: talk and discussion at Burgh House followed by book signing.
Building on the tradition of E.F. Schumacher, David Fleming’s celebrated writing offers an enthralling vision of a post-growth economy grounded in the play, humour, rootedness and reciprocal obligations of rich culture. It has long inspired optimism and action, and is very much a story for our times as we consider how to ‘Survive’ what lies ahead. These are times of fear and uncertainty for many, as the market economy crumbles under the weight of its own impossible need for perpetual growth, but they are also times of great possibility; times to redesign the system and to change the rules. More event details and booking here.
Reclaiming Politics at a local level, with Peter & Annabelle Macfadyen and Susanna Rustin, The Guardian.
Thursday 1st February. 6.30pm: drinks and buffet at Gaia House, 7.30pm – 9pm: talk and discussion at Burgh House.
In 2010 something wonderful happened in the small Somerset town of Frome. Ten of the seventeen who stood as independent councillors at the local council elections were elected, and they haven’t look back. Peter Macfadyen and his wife Annabelle were some of the instigators of this push to take back control of the running of their home town by quite literally, taking back control! Since then Peter’s book, Flatpack Democracy, has inspired a whole host of towns, cities and parishes around the world to use its principles and reclaim the power. Susanna Rustin, Guardian Journalist and active member of Queen’s Park parish council in London has applied its teachings and will join Peter and Annabelle in sharing experiences of Flatpack in action. More event details and booking here.