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Issue 39: September 2020 

Autumn Harvest - Summer Insights



Editorial Feature Blog: After 7 months of Covid, what have we learned?
New Events Info
Resonate or Rescue Blog: Choose Your Response to the Covid Crisis
Food Security Blog: Opportunity, Research, Action
Bonus Blog: Looking Back from 2042
Book Blog: From What is to What if: Rob Hopkins


Dear Friend,

We’re now seven months into the pandemic, and Autumn is here. This seems like a good time to consider the outlook and gather resources for the months ahead. My own mood combines hope and alarm. It feels vital to focus on what we can do constructively, for ourselves and our communities. There’s a real risk that we slide into brain mush and despondency. 

Wishing you well for the months ahead,


After 7 Months of Covid, What Have We Learned?
Can we trace an emerging future?

Surely most of us have often been bewildered and disoriented in the past seven months. If someone had shown us a picture of life in Covid a year ago, we would never have believed it. Trying to make sense of the story so far, and where the plot line is heading, feels hard, but worth a try. So here’s my personal take on it.

We won’t return to stability. In the past two years alone we’ve had crisis piled on top of crisis, climate, Brexit, Covid… I see this pattern continuing, so the overall insight is to keep raising your resilience, learn to live on shaky ground.

Expect more shocks. These could include extreme weather events, food shortages, and more pandemics (Click here for Jem Bendell’s blog on the likelihood of pandemics ahead). Few of us saw Covid coming, so it would be wise to expect more surprises, or ‘black swan’ events.

For full blog, click HERE



Resonate or Rescue: Choose Your Response to the Covid Crisis 

I’ve had many feelings about this crisis in the past six months, but two have consistently troubled me. I feel guilty about my relatively privileged and easy situation. And I keep reproaching myself that I should do more to help others who are more severely affected.  

I try to use painful emotions as fuel to move me forward: this blog shares where I’ve got to with these issues, in the hope that this helps others. One of my insights is about my liberal      middle-class conditioning, what I might sum up as the Guardian reader position. These feelings are what any decent, aware person should be having: if you’re not, you’re self-indulgent, in denial, or something equally reproachable. 

Slowly, amid my discomfort, I’ve come to question those feelings on two counts. Do they take account of the full picture, all aspects of the situation? And do they help anyone? Here, I need to share some of my personal beliefs which may not match yours.

For full blog, click HERE




Future Conversations:

A series of facilitated workshops to help communities raise resilience to climate change, including skills training, information and sharing spaces. Following three successful pilot programmes in 2019, this is being offered as a series of weekly online groups, starting Tuesday October 6. 

For full info, click HERE



Deep Adaptation:
A Spiritual Exploration

Online retreat via Zoom
November 6th-8th

This weekend retreat looks at spiritual aspects of adaptation to climate change and Covid: seeking purpose, healing, mutual care from a bigger perspective. Led by Alan heeks, Amrita Bhohi, Karim Hadden. Sessions will be held over Zoom.

Deep Adaptation is the term used by Jem Bendell to invite us to face the radical changes climate change will bring within the next decade. This weekend retreat will focus on the spiritual aspects: seeking purpose, healing, mutual care from a bigger perspective. 

Our exploration will include a range of teachings and processes, and will not focus on any one tradition or belief system. Potential elements include:

  • Spiritual ecology principles and practices to deepen sacred connection between people and the living earth
  • Joanna Macy’s deep ecology approach, drawing on Buddhist and Native Amercian traditions
  • Neil Douglas Klotz’s teachings from Sufi and other traditions on being centred and creative in uncertainty
  • Insights from Jem Bendell’s writings
  • Dances of Universal Peace, which are a form of body prayer or moving meditation, helping us to embody prayers and guidance

For full poster including booking details, click HERE

Food Security: Opportunity, Research, Action

It’s easy to feel disempowered these days, but this is an issue where we can all do something. Food security means reliable access to enough good quality, affordable, sustainably produced food. Many experts believe that food shortages and price rises will be a major impact of climate change during the next few years.

You may be noticing there are ongoing gaps on supermarket shelves. This year’s wheat harvest is 40% down in the UK, and there are other crop failures across the world. In 1984, Britain produced 80% of its food: this shrank to 60% in 2018. Our cheap food policy has made us vulnerable. However, compared to many countries, Britain has a real opportunity to adapt. Whereas Mediterranean countries face ongoing droughts, our outlook is for wetter winters and hotter summers. 

I commissioned some research on how to adapt food production to our future weather patterns: the report is now available free of charge,
click here for the full document, or here for a summary. The report offers detailed guidance for professional and home growers, farmers, and consumers.

For full blog, click HERE



Looking back from 2042
Coronavirus was just the start…

I was just 12 back in 2020 when the First Plague happened. What’s strange looking back is that everybody thought this was just a terrible one-off crisis. At first, they told us the lockdowns would be a few weeks, but actually in the UK it was thirteen months before they ended. 

To begin with, people thought things would go back to the way they were before, but they never did. A few people started explaining that this Coronavirus would be followed by other plagues: that it was happening because of climate warming, species going extinct, habitat losses, and all the other disruptions. And a lot of people had a sort of intuition that things were still not right.  

One of the first big changes was travelling. Before that, lots of people travelled like crazy, all over the world. After the First Plague, many countries kept their borders tight, and anyway, people had got spooked about travelling so close to each other. There used to be loads of massive cruise liners, most of them simply got scrapped. When I was a kid, the amount of travelling around on aeroplanes that people did was just incredible, now most of that’s stopped: there were fewer places to go, and people didn’t want to travel like that.

For full blog, click HERE


BOOK BLOG: From What Is to What If, by Rob Hopkins
We Need to Reclaim and Reboot our Imaginations

As the Covid crisis continues, there are many influences nudging us towards brain mush, despondency, helplessness. This well-evidenced book from Transition Network’s founder highlights those influences, and offers plenty of real-life examples of what’s still possible.

His overview of the current mess (climate crisis, social inequalities, ecological disasters and lots more) is this: “If we wait for governments, it will be too late. If we act as individuals, it will be too little. But if we act as communities, it might just be enough, and it might just be in time.”

Various experts see imagination as crucial - to “create and carry out a vision in which we capably address global crises and enjoy ourselves in the process.” One of Rob’s great talents is to keep bringing us back to a positive future vision: no amount of alarming data will motivate us so well.

For full blog, click HERE


Copyright © 2020 Alan Heeks, All rights reserved.

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