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Telling the truth is a wild idea

Reviewed By: Open Floor Blog Editor

My Review:

On 1st July 2019, Open Floor teacher and Founding Member, Sue Rickards co-held a special talk/dance event: Heading for Extinction and what to do about it. Here she tells us about the experience…

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Author: Sue Rickards

Language availability: English


On 1st July 2019, Open Floor teacher and Founding Member, Sue Rickards co-held a special talk/dance event: Heading for Extinction and what to do about it. Here she tells us about the experience…

I’ve often despaired hearing about species going extinct. I despair that there’s nothing I can do. I look at my niece and nephews or young people who come to dance and it looks like we’ve left them a big mess. Giving to charities doesn’t feel like enough anymore.

Then one day a  friend asked if he could come and stay with me while he was in London volunteering as a Legal Observer for an Extinction Rebellion (ER) action. His job was to support those who were being arrested. He came home exhausted and moved and needing to cry and laugh. It touched me a lot and made me think: Why am I not doing anything? Why am I waiting for the right time, the perfect way forward? That’s when I decided to join XR.

It turned out that a dancer friend who had been in our closed ongoing group And The Beat Goes On [link] was also a Legal Observer and was trained to give ER talks to raise awareness. It made sense to come together and we decided to offer an evening of talks and dance. It was strange because there were 30 people at the event and it was a real mix of the curious as well as activists and dancers. It felt very collaborative, everyone was there to learn together

We alternated talks and dance. A lot of emotion came up during the talks as we learned how little time we have to reach zero carbon emissions if we want to avoid disaster and what we can to make a difference as individuals. There was fear, sorrow, anxiety and despair and I invited that into movement. We shook and trembled with those emotions, allowing them to rise up and including them in our dance. We activated and settled and explored how to release without having to get rid of any of those feelings. Some people who were new to dance were astounded by the experience. One participant said: “It feels so great to be able to really let myself despair!”. We’re looking forward to offering more of these events in the near future. 

Extinction Rebellion seemed the best place to start for a few reasons. (There’s a lot of criticism and suspicion about XR. We don’t have to agree with everything but it’s probably our best shot, and it’s happening now!)

Tell the truth

The XR call is for everyone, especially governments and media to, “Tell the truth”  and I reckon things might change if we did tell truth about extreme climate crisis and biodiversity loss. Telling the truth is a wild idea! We might be wrong, I know some people have doubts about this but amongst the people I know who are informed and interested, not many are saying that we won’t be in serious trouble unless we act right now.

Citizen’s Assembly

Extinction Rebellion also supports the idea of a citizen’s assembly. I used to think that was too ambitious but I found out it’s been used very successfully. In Ireland, for example, to make new laws on abortion. I like the idea of a citizen’s assembly because it includes a whole range of political views and beliefs as it’s based on geographical representation of the population. This makes it easier for governments to take action because they can focus on long term policies. Governments don’t act because they don’t have the courage to make big changes that might impact their popularity and alienate voters at the next elections. With a citizen’s assembly they can make changes now based on what people want rather political agendas.

The principle of non violence

Another Extinction Rebellion principle I really like is non violence. There seems to me to be a growing culture of shaming and blaming and it doesn’t help.

Not many people learn by being shamed or blamed. We become defensive and then it’s harder to listen and learn, and even feel real remorse, which is needed if we want to change in a heartful, growthful, kind way.

Everyone can make a difference!

Join a local ER group wherever you are and see what actions they are doing. You don’t have to be arrested, there’s lots to do from making cups of tea for those taking action to raising awareness by sharing information on social media. Everything and everyone counts.

Dance with Sue

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