Our Resilience Project just had its first Deep Dive session
In the Deep Dive, we shift our focus from the resilience of social-ecological systems to exploring personal and interpersonal resilience, or the ability of each one of us (as well as our social relationships) to cope with shock, challenging feelings, and social dynamics that arise when we face climate change and polycrisis.
What is a Deep Dive?
It’s not easy to face radical climate change and polycrisis. To live through, anticipate, or even think about the impact on our communities and all forms of life on the planet. And yet, if we do not find the courage to really look, or the ability to be with and support each other when we go through tough times, we become less resilient, less able to respond effectively, and less likely to expand our solidarity with those around us.
Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone (2012) write about what they call Active Hope:
“First, we take a clear view of reality; second, we identify what we hope for in terms of the direction we’d like things to move in or the values we’d like to see expressed; and third, we take steps to move ourselves or our situation in that direction.”
This kind of hope does not require optimism, it requires intention, and enough courage to face the situation, feel its implications, and still not give up.
That is why the Resilience Project includes what we call a Deep Dive. In the Deep Dive, we shift our focus from the resilience of social-ecological systems to exploring personal and interpersonal resilience, or the ability of each one of us (as well as our social relationships) to cope with shock, challenging feelings, and social dynamics that arise when we face climate change and polycrisis. We aim to build our muscles for being with the inner and emotional parts of facing a crisis. To explore and build skills, practices, and our ability to maintain and grow well-being and community cohesion. And to do this both within ecovillages and our wider circles while climate change and polycrisis make it difficult.
Paying attention to our relationships with each other and ourselves is a vital part of building resilience and a vital addition to our focus on the social-ecological aspects of resilience. It is also important for our ability to act to transform the systems we are a part of. Some researchers, for example, argue that building transformative capacity requires a focus on social-ecological systems as well as individual and collective well-being. Others show that in a community living through a crisis, the ability to express emotions collectively and support each other determines both how quickly people recover and how resilient they become to face further threats.
The deep dive also allows us to go deeper in our resilience assessments as we start to look in more detail at tipping points and the impact of climate change and polysrisis on our communities. By mapping and developing resources, practices, and abilities for inner and interpersonal resilience now, we hope we can all be better equipped to navigate any challenges our research and reality put in our path.
A Personal Note
This project is a chance for us to gather, vision, feel, examine, and better understand how we as individuals, our ecovillages, and GEN as a whole can create resilient and regenerative communities that actively contribute to navigating climate change and polysrisis.
I know that my ten years of living in an ecovillage have made me more emotionally capable to face that mission. It has also given me a chance to build something very precious – relationships of shared intention and a way of life that is itself an expression of active hope, and love for this world. That potential of weaving communities capable of nurturing emotional resilience and increasing collaborative agency is one of the main aspects of culture and leadership in the face of socio-ecological breakdown that I think the ecovillage movement has to share.
Project co-founder and lead – Ecovillage Resilience +2.5 and Kincentric Leadership through the Polycrisis
GEN Staff, GEN Trainer, GEN Consultant
Anna is dedicated to exploring community as a tool for resilience, regeneration, and liberation. She is the co-founder lead of two initiatives – Ecovillage Resilience 2.5+, doing participatory research with 20 communities about resilience in the face of catastrophic climate change; and Kincentric Leadership through the Polycrisis, supporting leaders to integrate the more than human world in their strategies and activities. Anna previously served as the Lead of GEN’s strategy and coordination circles as well as its Education and Research Director. She is the lead developer of the Ecovillage Impact Assessment, co-developer and facilitator of the European Ecovillage Incubator, Ecovillage Design Cards, GEN Training of Trainers, and many other courses and projects in the field of regenerative community design and social innovation and entrepreneurship. In line with her passion for social experimentation, collaboration, and equity, she was also a driver behind the implementation of shared governance in the organisation and network.