Running laps

New year’s eve, 2021

Another loop around the sun completed, and like the vast majority of the world, I am exhausted. Living through the combination of grinding pandemic, climate breakdown and political dysfunction really does take it out of you, and the outlook ahead is for ever more of the worsening same.

It’s up to us. Our ability to guard our energies and influences. Our capacity to prioritise action and connection over depression and isolation. Our skills in working individually and collectively to challenge and change the systems and structures around us.

It’s beyond time we moved beyond protest and directed our anger and fear into meaningful, organised action. And its oh so hard to do so when you’re already exhausted.

Keep time aside for doing the things that nourish and connect you

We need to nurture ourselves. To step back from the relentless news cycles and social media screaming. To connect with those who inspire and motivate us. To develop rewarding and constructive ways of working together, exploring this evolving pandemic space and the possibilities and opportunities that come with rapid change.

We can tap into the power of our communities. From school committees to local councils, from sports clubs to libraries, we can grow individual action into something stronger. We can share our skills and build resilience through this time of crisis. We can move beyond the environment movement, stretch ourselves into intersectional collectives that imagine and implement local solutions to shared challenges. We can network and collaborate to reach the scales we need, leading change from the bottom up where we can’t shift the power centres at the top.

We can organise and attend working bees; growing trees, building gardens, cleaning pollution, sharing food, fixing bikes, helping our neighbours and our communities’ most vulnerable.

We can accrue our own power and influence; nominating for Boards, organising for Independent political candidates who share our values, standing for office ourselves. We can move our banking and investments out of fossil fuels and armaments. We can attend shareholder meetings, council meetings, community consultations.

Stop to appreciate what you love and what you’re striving to protect

This pep talk is for me. I, who have lapsed into social-media despair and exhausted inaction. Me, who is frustrated by the pointlessness of protest that is ignored by established power. This pep talk is for all of us, who find themselves a little adrift after the stormy seas of the last two years and can see the red sky morning.

In 2022, I am:

  • Signing up for my local community garden
  • Growing and planting native plants for the Tree Project
  • Visiting the community centre and library, to see what groups exist that share some of my values, and/or creating one
  • Participating further in Regen Melbourne, making connections and collaborating to support shared aims and learning to make change happen
  • Curating my social media feeds and reducing my online exposure to emphasise possibilities, opportunities and supportive networks
  • Using my networks, skills and knowledge to connect others and contribute to actions that are bigger than myself and my personal sphere of influence.

Inspire, support, soothe and assist each other. It’s up to us, together.

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