The Climate Odyssey- a new offering to support community resilience

The work for climate justice, and indeed for all forms of justice, is an ongoing journey, and includes many adventures, triumphs, obstacles, and losses. The increasing knowledge about the consequences of climate chaos and other environmental crises of the day takes a toll on our hearts and minds which can lead to overwhelm, despair, grief, and a sense of hopelessness about the future. In order to grow a strong and diverse climate justice movement, these concerns of the heart and spirit need to be addressed, and are a natural part of movement building.

Traditional organizing can have a high rate of intensity and burnout, and many caring people may be reluctant to enter into the fray for a variety of reasons, including time capacity, skills, and the overwhelm of the endless and daunting work ahead.

The Climate Odyssey program addresses these issues by offering experiences, events, and perspectives that acknowledge the complicated and emotionally challenging parts of our work of climate justice. In so doing, it offers support for those already engaged in the work, and opens doors of possibility to those who are not yet active in the movement. The program also aims to grow capacity for effectiveness and ongoing community building and solidarity.

There are four main areas of focus for this work. They are:

Practices for Personal Resilience

Knowing the dire circumstances of the present and potential crises related to Climate Disruption, how do people stay present and involved, and motivated in climate justice work? How do we deal with despair, overwhelm, fear, and anger that can arise in the face of what seems to be a cultural and economic mandate of denial of the issue, and a minimization of the active harm already inflicted on vulnerable people, nations, and ecosystems?

Some practices in this arena will include facilitated group sharing to lessen isolation, personal practices such as meditation and chi gung, and other ways of finding our ground in tumultuous times. Additionally, there will be workshop offerings on Active Hope, Resistance and Resilience, and related work that addresses the heart/spirit concerns of community members.

Growing and Strengthening our Community

Author and activist Kathleen Dean Moore tells the story of how she is constantly asked the question, “What can one person do to change the world?” She replies, “Stop being one person!” The work of justice, whether around climate or other related issues, needs to happen in community, and practices that invite and support the experience of community, through growing relationships, sharing concerns and hopes, and celebrating successes, is a vital part of movement building.

Creative Arts Practices

Engagement in arts events- whether hands-on art builds in service to actions, or arts experiences that build a sense of community- can be an effective form of organizing and growing community. The arts engage our hearts and minds in ways that can be joyful, embodied, and inspiring. Western culture has “professionalized” art making, and the reclaiming of creative practices is a reclaiming of one of the deepest connections we can have within our community. When we sing together, tell stories, make poetry, play with improvisational theater, we are claiming our intelligence and imaginal capacities, personally and collectively.

Growing Capacity as Allies in the Work of Justice

As 350PDX moves into creating a Just Transition team and ongoing coalition work around Just Transition, we want to increase cultural competency within our membership. Doing coalition work with communities of color, immigrant communities, labor, and other groups will likely bring up issues of privilege, racism, class, and other cultural assumptions. Anti-racism/anti-oppression/cultural competency training for volunteers, leadership, and staff will help us in our collaborative work. This is not only skills work, but also heart work that allows us to bring our full selves to the work at hand, and work effectively and consciously within our larger community.

Climate Odyssey Schedule:

Starting in February 2017, 350PDX will offer monthly gatherings on the first Tuesday of the month from 7-9pm at Central Lutheran Church. These dates are:

  • February 7- intro to the Climate Odyssey, and Climate Café discussion
  • March 7- Chi Kung for Activists
  • April 4- Theater Improv for Building Community
  • May 2- Meditation for Activists
  • June 6-Radical Gratitude

Other Workshops- In addition, other daylong or half-day workshops will be offered, including anti-oppression/anti-racism skill building, Resilience and Resistance, and other workshops focused on supporting our work of justice. More info on these coming soon!

More info about the entire program available on the Climate Odyssey page. 350PDX is making this program available to the community on a donation basis, so all are welcome.