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Sustaining All Life, in Israel

Two Sustaining All Life1 activities took place in Israel over the past month.

The first was a listening project2 at the Tel Aviv climate march the weekend before the opening of the climate summit in Paris. For many of us, this was the first time to participate in a listening project.

In the RC Tikun Olam (wide world change) class afterward, someone said it had been a breakthrough to be able to speak to strangers in the street and listen to their thinking. Another had noticed that people were happy to be listened to and could use the opportunity to develop their thinking. They often minimized their contributions as environmental activists but when listened to discovered that they were actually doing good things.

The second activity was a Sustaining All Life evening for the Jerusalem Area. Timna Raz led it after returning from Paris, where she’d been an RC volunteer with Sustaining All Life.3 

The room was decorated with pictures and photographs of nature and with objects such as flowers, stones, shells, and fossils. Timna encouraged us to get in touch with our connection to the natural environment with the questions “What do you like about nature?” and “What good memories do you have of being in nature?” After hearing everyone’s answers, she explained, lightly and without urgency, what climate change is, what causes it, and what is necessary to turn it around. This was new information for many of the people there. During the presentation she would stop and say, “Shake!” which made people laugh and remember to feel their feelings. She stressed the importance of discharging discouragement and despair and reclaiming our power in order to address the problems.

Then she gave us an inspiring picture of what the RC delegation did in Paris. She talked about the connections people made, the big picture that RC theory offers, and the way RC connects climate change with racism and all the other oppressions. She said this was a unique perspective among the organizations in Paris.

Timna reminded us that it is worthwhile to work on climate change for ourselves as well as for the environment, because it challenges our chronic patterns of despair and powerlessness and the ways we keep ourselves small. The situation also presents us with a deadline, and that pushes us to work on these patterns. If we are to change things, we can’t wait anymore.

In mini-sessions and demonstrations, we worked on the new RC goal on care of the environment4 and the direction “It won’t happen because . . . .”

I hope this will be the beginning of much more work on the environment in classes and workshops all over the country.

Naomi Raz

Jerusalem, Israel

(Present Time 183, April 2016)

1 Sustaining All Life is a project of the RC Communities in which Co-Counselors bring what we’ve learned in RC to people working, or wanting to work, to stop climate change and the degradation of the environment.
2 In an RC listening project, several Co-Counselors go to a public place and offer to listen to passersby about some important issue, such as racism or the environment. They may hold signs that invite people to share their thinking about that issue.
3 In December 2015, a Sustaining All Life delegation went to Paris, France, to share RC tools with the activists gathering there during the United Nations Climate Change Conference.
4 A goal adopted by the 2013 World Conference of the Re-evaluation Counseling Communities:That members of the RC Community work to become fully aware of the rapid and unceasing destruction of the living environment of the Earth. That we discharge on any distress that inhibits our becoming fully aware of this situation and taking all necessary actions to restore and preserve our environment.Distresses have driven people to use oppression against each other and carry out destructive policies against all of the world. A full solution will require the ending of divisions between people and therefore the ending of all oppressions. The restoration and preservation of the environment must take precedence over any group of humans having material advantage over others. We can and must recover from any distress that drives us to destroy the environment in our attempts to escape from never-ending feelings of needing more resource.

Last modified: 2020-07-02 14:27:35+00