Join 6heads for a day exploring beautiful countryside through forests and along the south coast of Eastbourne with like-minded sustainability practitioners. Enjoy some delicious local food at the lunchtime pub, while hearing from a thought-provoking speaker. The first Steps to Sustainability of this year is on Saturday June 20th with James Payne & Olivia Sprinkel on Poetry of Change. We hope to see you there, Steps to Sustainability is the highlight of our calendar.
by Olivia Sprinkel
I saw this cartoon recently on Facebook, which sums up one of the fundamental paradoxes of change. Everyone wants it, as long as they don’t need to change themselves.
Working in the field of sustainability, we are all too acutely aware of the need for change. And we are often frustrated, angry and/or sad at the lack of change, or pace of change. Part of what we perceive as the failure for changes to happen may be to do with the way that attempts to make or inspire change are communicated. Take for example communications around climate change which are often fact-heavy. Facts are no doubt important and vital to the argument – but they engage on a rational level. We need engagement on an emotional level as well.
This is where I believe poetry comes in. Poetry has the capacity to engage us on an emotional level. It can engage us not only in the issues, but also, and perhaps more powerfully, in thinking about how we need to be to bring about the change that we want to see in the world, to borrow Gandhi’s phrase.
A poem is in itself a representation of the type of change that I believe many of us want to see in the world. It is beauty. It is connection. Its rhythm is in tune with the heartbeat of the world. It is born of an act of listening deeply to the world and offered in an act of sharing.
Poetry offers a way in to thinking more deeply about who we want to be and what kind of work we want to live in. It is encouraging that there appears to be a growing recognition of what poetry can offer. For example, the RSA is organising an event called ‘The point is to feel it: creative responses to climate change’ (https://www.thersa.org/events/2015/05/the-point-is-to-feel-it-a-night-of-creative-responses-to-climate-change/) on 26 May, featuring leading poets Alice Oswald and Ruth Padel. The event information says “Intellectually we ‘get it’, and yet we still cannot close the yawning gulf between our knowledge and our day-to-day behaviour. In trying to close that chasm between cognition and action, we need a different sort of provocation. We need something to electrify us, move us, spur us on, trip us up.” Maybe poetry is one of the answers.
So we are excited by the opportunity to spend the day with you walking, talking, writing and listening to the poetry on 20 June (link to eventbrite info). Walking and being outside in nature is in itself a provocation to listen more deeply, and by adding poetry to the mix, we are hoping and expecting some midsummer magic.
To find out more and to book your place on our summer walk along the south coast to Eastbourne on 20 June, please click here.
For inspiration, listen to this interview with poet Mary Oliver, hear her talk about writing, walking and listening to the world, and listen to her read some of her poems
In the run up to Steps for Sustainability we have been curating a Poetry to inspire change series.
If you have a poem, piece of writing, song or anything you have written, drawn or created that inspires you and others to change that you would like us to include in this series then we would love to hear from you. Please get in touch with Louisa at firstname.lastname@example.org