Dear friends –
For many of us, it has been the strangest couple of months in living memory. Many of us have struggled to comprehend what is going on in the world and come to terms with its possible implications on all our lives moving forward. Narratives are confusing, and polarized. Trust is weak. Some days, we feel everything we have known is falling apart.
Despite all the pain and suffering caused, and with great compassion for those affected, I have come to feel as well the lessons of coronavirus shining a light on so many elements of our global society that we have been trying not to see. We are in the middle of a massive awakening.
In the time of coronavirus, we have realised the fragility of our food and agriculture system. We have recognised the inter-connectedness and risks inherent in our global economic system. We have seen deep flaws in our healthcare systems, which are struggling to cope not least because of the huge burden of chronic disease – in children as well as adults – in typical Western societies. We have seen how high the levels of pollution have become in particular cities, and we have also seen how quickly air quality and nature are able to regenerate, given the chance. We have become acutely aware of the lack of equality within and between countries, as we learn that lower socio-economic segments are hardest hit by the virus and see the unacceptable living conditions that are a reality for so many. How many of us were aware pre-coronavirus just how many people all over the world were living just a few days or a few weeks from dependence on food aid for their very survival.
The politicians have one thing right: we need a new normal.
But the new normal we need is not one in which we wear masks, fear each other and live under ever-tightening surveillance and encroachment onto our civil liberties. It is not one in which we teach our children it is not safe to play freely together, and leave our elderly to die alone. Whatever we each may feel about the logical and legal basis for these kinds of measures, it seems to me that they can at best paper over the huge cracks in our systems and society. They do nothing to address the root cause of the crisis.
We need to ask better questions. How can we invest in localised, regenerative agriculture that provides healthy food for strong immunity and high quality of life? How can natural healing disciplines help to address our crisis of chronic illness – which is playing a huge role in the current coronavirus impact? What do we need to do to re-invest in strong local economies, that put people and planet first?
It is a turbulent time, but each one of us has chosen to be here at this moment, because we have a role to play. It is increasingly clear that we cannot sit back and wait for some authority to take the required action.
It is time for us to be the change we want to see in the world. We need to co-create a new vision in which to invest our energy and our efforts. There are many dark narratives right now, but we do not need to feel fear. The beauty of nature is that she is always regenerating; she teaches us there is always hope. We have all the knowledge we need to live in an entirely new way.
It has been an absolutely stunning few weeks here at Eco Retreats. The birds are singing and the late afternoon sunshine is glimmering through the trees as I write. We are busy with some new projects (including our virtual “living more consciously” community for changemakers) and can’t wait to re-open and welcome you back as soon as we are permitted to do so. Please continue to keep an eye on our website for updates, and feel free to reach out with questions any time.