The Year of Collaboration
The only way to make a real difference is to work together, hand in hand.
Friends of the Earth and Resurgence & Ecologist share a common vision. We humans are not the rulers of the Earth, not even its guardians or its stewards. We are all friends of the Earth. This is the most radical and most beautiful name to have for any environmental organisation.
Friendship with the Earth implies a deep respect. All the natural wealth of the Earth is not there just for humans to use, abuse and plunder. We must receive the gifts of the Earth with gratitude. We must practise elegance rather than extravagance. We must recognise the intrinsic value of forests, rivers, animals, oceans and all living systems.
Against this backdrop of shared values Friends of the Earth and Resurgence & Ecologist are natural partners. Informally we have always worked together. Over the years, Jonathon Porritt, Tony Juniper and Charles Secrett, all former Directors of Friends of the Earth, have been frequent contributors to the pages of our magazine.
Last year I was invited to be a guest speaker at the annual conference of Friends of the Earth, and it was there that we first talked about forging a formal partnership. I am delighted to announce that from now we have agreed to work together in a more focused way.
For example, we will be publishing regular articles originating from Friends of the Earth. We will be supporting their campaigns and urging our readers to do the same. And in this same spirit of mutual support, Friends of the Earth will be urging their members to read Resurgence & Ecologist and spread the word about our own work far and wide.
Last year, Resurgence & Ecologist launched a Nature writing essay competition, in association with Arvon and Devon Wildlife Trust. We received 84 essays and were impressed by the diversity of the entries and the different ‘voices’ that emerged to tell stories of climate change, walking, gardening, wildlife spotting, camping, stargazing and even blackberry picking. We produced a shortlist of 11 articles to pass to our final judging panel, led by the internationally acclaimed author Michael Morpurgo.
The judges chose three winners and one highly commended runner-up and we are delighted to announce that we will be publishing all four of these pieces in the next (July/August 2013) issue of the magazine. Until then, here are the names of the winners, with a short summary of the topics they chose to write about:
1st prize: Wild Wales by Julie Bromilow
Julie has won £500 plus a week-long residential writing course generously donated by Arvon and worth £680. The judges described her essay as “unusual, fresh, original and beautifully written”.
2nd prize: In Search of Ramonda by Sue Kindon
Sue has won £250 and a botanical coastal walk with me followed by afternoon tea at my home. The judges particularly enjoyed her very detailed description of a plant-searching expedition, which, although she had set out to find an entirely different species, led her to stumble across the elusive ghost orchid.
3rd prize: I Will Remember by Sarah Walsh
Sarah won £75 and a year-long membership of Devon Wildlife Trust, plus a guided tour of the Trust’s Marsland Wildlife Reserve. The judges felt Sarah conjured a much-loved and deeply felt landscape, taking the reader on a unique journey across Bodmin Moor.
Highly Commended: Allotment by Peter Jewel
Peter has won a year-long extension of his membership of The Resurgence Trust (worth £30) and will receive six complimentary issues of Resurgence & Ecologist magazine. The judges agreed that this piece captured both a natural curiosity that shone through the writing and a sense of the ethos of Resurgence & Ecologist.
There were also a number of other pieces deemed worthy of publication and we shall publish these, with the authors’ permission, over the course of the year.
So you see this really is the year of collaboration. We are media partners with the BIG Green Week in Bristol, organised by Forum for the Future (see page 18), and with the Tagore Festival organised by Dartington Hall (see back page).
Moreover, we are also delighted to be collaborating with Sunrise Music Festival (30 May to 2 June). From a beautiful woodland site near Frome in Wiltshire, they’ll be running an eco-spiritual talks programme in the Green Talks Dome, featuring me and the amazing ‘ecocide lawyer’ Polly Higgins. It will be a vibrant forum for discussing our planet’s big global issues, and pioneering social, environmental and spiritual change. For more information, visit www.sunrisefestivals.co.uk
We can make a much greater impact by working together and joining forces. If we stand side by side our influence will rise tenfold. I say 1 + 1 = 11.
The forces of consumerism, materialism and militarism will only be overcome when all of us working in the field of environmental sustainability, social justice and spiritual renewal join hands and work together for the wellbeing of all people and the entire planet.