by Greg Neale
Cover: Jimson Weed/White Flower No.1 1932 by Georgia O'Keeffe. © Georgia O'Keeffe Museum/ DACS, London
Learn how to see. Realise that everything connects to everything else. – Leonardo da Vinci
For 50 years, this magazine has been making connections – drawing together the causes we hold to be important, and exploring how they are related. That’s very much a theme of this issue of Resurgence & Ecologist, and in particular what Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, does in our Keynotes feature.
Climate change. Tax justice and transparency. Empowering women. At first glance, these topics may not seem immediately related. But as Rowan Williams suggests, environmental protection and social justice are inextricably linked. Climate change will – it already does – impact on us all, but it is the poorest, in all societies, who will be hit hardest. Given that, the international scale of tax evasion is understandably a focus for campaigners who are linking environmental and social justice issues, as is the importance of improving the status of women in societies around the world. As our coverline ‘Natural Healing’ suggests, healing the planet goes hand in hand with resolving social and personal conflict, as many artists attest.
Making connections, then, is essential to thinking holistically about the planet and its problems. Thus there is an obvious parallel between Charles Eisenstein’s essay reminding us that no action, however small, is insignificant, and Adrian Cooper’s account of how he and a group of neighbours came together to establish a network of green sites in their town. Or as Danny Dorling – interviewed in this issue – insists, that our patterns of consumption are inextricably linked to our impact on our environment.
Echoing Charles Eisenstein’s argument are the testimonies of three other contributors to this issue. Liza Lort-Phillips tells how she felt compelled to act as an individual in response to the refugee crisis on the Greek islands. Ben Winston, who died last year, has left a vivid account of his involvement in environmental protest, which we reprint in tribute to him. And in a moving essay, drawn from her career as a foreign correspondent reporting on some of the world’s conflicts, Christine Toomey reminds us of the need to remember the art of finding light amid the darkness. Reading it, I was reminded of Leonard Cohen’s song Anthem, with its lines Ring the bells that still can ring / Forget your perfect offering / There is a crack in everything / That’s how the light gets in. Only connect: we can make a difference.
Elsewhere, this issue has many other riches – not least in our arts pages, where we celebrate the paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe, the poetry of Emily Dickinson and the extraordinary etchings, harnessing the energy of the sun, of the artist Roger Ackling. Much more, too, and we hope you enjoy making the connections.