Home > Uncategorized > Postcard from the Green Party Autumn Conference of 2015

Postcard from the Green Party Autumn Conference of 2015

Bournemouth sunsetSo another Green Party conference ends as another glorious sunset of this glorious Indian summer reddens the sky over the sands of Bournemouth. Being at a conference by the sea is always very meaningful for me as such close contact with the untameable wildness of the sea and the vast expanses stretching to the horizon helps to keep me grounded and connected to a nature that defies all human projections and constructions, especially those that are tossed around with abandon in the hurley-burley of conference debates. Walking two miles from my B&B each morning along the promenade to the conference centre in the radiant sunshine, and walking back two miles in the evening under a brilliant moon, helped put all the intense events of the day in perspective as well as keeping me healthy and free from cobwebs!

But what was poignant about this conference was the acute awareness felt by pretty much all present about the urgency of the existential crisis posed by the imminence of catastrophic climate change, of a natural world so polluted by human endeavours that it is about to inflict damaging impacts upon us all that may well undermine the very ability of humanity to cope effectively with such dramatic environmental change. Time and again all policy discussions had to be placed in the context of ever-worsening climate impacts across the globe. The UN Paris climate talks in December is the next opportunity for the world to take decisive action and again civil society has to step in to help pressurise governments to go further that just protecting their own national interests and to genuinely act together to reduce carbon emissions as quickly as possible.

It was so strange to relax in between conference sessions in the pleasantly warm sunshine, looking out upon the calm seas and the crowds enjoying the beach life yet knowing deep down how damaged our natural world is in so many ways and how out of equilibrium it is as a result of humanity’s collective actions during the industrial age of fossil fuel powered growth. It takes a certain inner mental strength acquired over years of personal struggle and maturation to be able to hold the paradox of both enjoying the pleasant conditions experienced right now and the existential pain of knowing what the future holds for those vulnerable to climate change now and for those future generations who will be even more vulnerable to climate change. That inner work is ongoing for me, and perhaps never-ending, just as supporting others in that same inner work is also never-ending as well as being such an important part of compassionately helping others to cope constructively with the climate change issue.

The struggle to tame the dragon of climate change is the greatest struggle of our times because, as was noted several times at this conference amidst much impassioned debate, it is central to all other struggles to gain social, economic, and environmental justice too. It also challenges us to deepen our own personal development, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, so as to generate, and maintain, the strength, courage, and creativity needed to stay engaged with the climate change issue and constructively work with others to both mitigate climate change and adapt to its inevitable impacts.

It was an immense privilege to listen to so many inspirational and well-informed speakers at this Green Party conference, and it makes me so proud to belong to a political party and social movement that not only takes climate change more seriously than any other UK political party but also sees clearly how everything needs to change in order to not only deal with climate change effectively but also to ensure such change creates opportunities to build a fairer, greener, healthier, more democratic society that is better than the present one, addicted as it is to an outdated model of unsustainable economic growth that ignores the limits imposed by nature.

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