Report of the Self Organized Activity at the Thematic Social Forum in Mining and Extractivism - Johannesburg, RSA
Activity: Participatory Reflective Exercise on Systemic Change – inspired by work of Joanna Macy
Date: 12 November 2018
Facilitator: Method Gundidza_EarthLore Foundation
This was probably the least attended activity for the day partly because the venue may have been difficult to find but also because translation into Spanish and French was difficult and so we ended up having it with only two English speakers from Brazil and Mauritius.
The activity was broken into two participatory processes inspired by Joana Macy.
Activity 1: Invoking the beings of the three times.
This activity can be done at the beginning of a workshop like we did. It is to acknowledge and bring the energy and the presence of the people who went before us known as the Ancestors. These are people who inspire us and our movements because of their contributions to it. We draw energy in knowing that the activist work we do today to protect and defend our Mother Earth was started by those people whom we don’t see anymore. These are our parents, scientists, philosophers, spiritual and traditional leaders whom we know in our own spaces but have passed on.
We also acknowledged the beings of the present being ourselves living physically in the present now whom we know in our respective places where we come including those all gathered here for the TSF. We are the beings of the present who are activists now and are working hard to protect Mother Earth.
Lastly we acknowledged the beings of the future whom we can’t imagine their faces yet but we are sure that they are on their way to this present realm we are in ourselves. These are the people whom we work very hard for so that they may inherit from us an Earth that full of life and all its support systems.
During each of the three acknowledgements, we paused to remember and say both loudly and silently the prominent names that came to our minds after which we chanted the chorus “Gather with us now in this hour. Join with us now in this place.”
Activity 2: Reporting to Chief Seattle
This activity was to honor the Earth in all her different manifestations as sea, forests, mountains, wetlands etc. We took the opportunity to remember how much Mother Earth has been wounded through the different extractivist and mining activities in the different places where we come from. In doing so we were inspired by what the Native Chief Sealth or Seattle of USA said to his tribal assembly in 1854 as his response to the offer by the US Colonial government to buy their native Duwamish land. His full speech is available on request.
All participants had the opportunity to read the full text and after each reading we imagined the presence of the Chief in the room and told him in silence but also loudly how our different lands have and continue to be damaged. Participants shared how the seas are polluted by plastics and oil, the rivers are full of cyanid from gold mining, skies are full of smoke some from coal fired power stations etc.
We then ended the process by commuting ourselves as the living to work hard to uphold the wishes of Chief Seattle to become ‘sons of the Earth’ rather than to be her masters.
Report Prepared by M Gundidza, EarthLore Foundation