This Changes Everything was shown at the Phoenix in Leicester on Saturday 26th March. The following piece is a reflection by Marie. We invite you to share your own too. If you haven't watched it yet, you can organise your own showing of 'This Changes Everything' in your community, Global Justice Now Leicester and Footpaths have both viewing rights. You can contact them and they will happily share the DVD with you.
The room was full of people ready to witness images of people across the world fighting to live in a world where the land from which they sustain themselves from can be protected and cared for.
This Changes Everything documentary is a snapshot of the battle between capitalism and climate, between capitalism and people as described in more details in the book 'This Changes Everything' by Naomi Klein.
The land grab to extract resources - extractivism - appears at first to be only a sacrifice of the environment but the reality is that it is also a sacrifice of the people who subsist on those natural resources - clean water, air, flora and fauna -.
As I watched individuals being violated physically and mentally by forces - Forces at the servitude of capitalist spirits which only promise to take but never give to fulfil - Tears slided down my cheeks.
Change is necessary. This call for change is taken very seriously by the different protagonists in the documentary.
The call for change appears to be in leaving behind the fear of death for protecting and caring for the earth and generations to come.
The call for change appears to be in leaving behind any promise of reward and any fear of punishment from individualistic and capitalistic forces.
Concept of reward and punishment are both immoral in the great scheme of things. Rationally, nature does not punish or reward, it evolves. Our culture based on capitalism is attached to those concepts forgetting that we are insignificant and nature will not differentiate anyone according to their status in society. It will just wiped us out from the face of the earth. This is how romantic all this is.
Humility is a quality that will surely help in looking at scientific evidence with fresh eyes, in listening to others' point of view and in trying to do things differently.
Scientific evidence are clear. We have to keep it all under the ground if we do not want to experience the tragedy that would result from climate change.
Experts, environmental, civil rights campaigners and many people across the globe have knowledge on those issues. A great number of them take great care and duty in sharing their observations and solutions with us. We are invited to just listen and make our own conclusions.
Each one of us is ingenious and adaptable, we can change and try to do things differently based on our thinking and experience.
I believe deeply in human ingenuity, sense of observation, ability to communicate and bring people together in order to build schemes based on rationality and free thinking. I believe that we are all capable of great things.
The documentary does not show a great deal of upbeat cases that currently makes small wins reality across the world but we know that they exist.The individuals in the room that evening reinforced my beliefs that they do exist as each individual shared the different projects they are building. They are not only created to allow sustainable change but more fundamentally system change. System Change will allow our culture to evolve to become more adaptable and in phase with what make the essence of our earth system.
Yes, something can be created out of Nothing, this is the essence of it all. Our ingenious humility can be the change we need. It is one step to accept that each of us can be the change we want to see in the world and This changes everything.
Marie, New Parks Leicester. Involved with Footpaths, Leicester Fixers and Enlightened Thursday in Leicester. To contact her, check the list of events
This Changes Everything documentary will be shown at the Phoenix on the 26th March at 6pm (£5 for the entrance). The documentary sets out to show how the current economic system based on capitalism is affecting us and our environment and potential inspirations to change everything. It inspired Footpaths to formulate the following question 'How my relationship with capitalism is impacting my carbon footprint?'. Marie from New Parks is the first sharing her reflection on the question . If it all inspires you, do not hesitate to send your own reflection to Footpaths.
Capitalism is an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state. My carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of my activities. My activities serve capitalism. They serve private owners for profit at the expense of natural resources and human beings. I am trapped and enslaved by capitalism, this is my relationship with it and it impacts dearly on my carbon footprint but also on my wellbeing and sense of belonginess.
I am striving to strip myself away from capitalism. I refused to work for large corporate organisations. I refuse to consume excessively. I shop in charity shops, buy in bulk from the Wholefood Coop in Leicester, cycle to work, do not travel by plane. I try to save for some solar panels and an electric car, I try to repair what I own and try to engage others in changing behaviour through campaigning and community building.
I try, some other people try too, everyone has to try but not everyone does. Many believe that money is something we should all strive for. I am a dreamer and believe that we should all strive for social justice, equality and environmental preservation. I am being stigmatised for my beliefs. I am being called a ‘green freak’, a ‘green loony’, a ‘green warrior’, I am being asked ironically ‘whether I managed to save the world today?’
I often want to respond ‘I did not save the world today and keep failing because you did not help me’
I fail all the time. The capitalism system is strong and I am often too weak.
I chose to dive into research studies for the transition towards a sustainable system but even the research community I serve is funded to benefit directly private organisations that have economic growth as a priority. I spend my day behind computers writing. I enjoy writing but sometimes I am thinking that I should be growing food in my garden to reduce my carbon food footprint. I go to work every day mostly on my bicycle. Recently I have been travelling with my partner by car more. It is an easy thing. We would love to buy an electric car but it is so out of our means. We would like to work closer from home but the market is not meeting our expectations. I want some solar panels but in the same way it is out of reach. If I decide to earn more I will have to work for large corporations and slave myself away to them. I do not want to. If one organisation come along and purchase me at the right price, I will have to interview them first and ensure that they meet all the criteria of an organisation that strive to help others and protect the environment. As so far, I haven’t seen one that uplifts me. My relationship with capitalism is too often tinted by loneliness and a feeling of awkwardness. My refusal to earn and consume like everyone else create a feeling of despair from the ones I love. It happens often that I fail to reduce my carbon footprint because I want to belong and be accepted by those. So I shop new clothes to look as nice as the expectations, I put make-up on my face too, I eat meat cos there is no vegetarian options. The list goes on.
Solar panels and a green car keep coming back in my writing as something I really want. As my friend read my draft, she pointed out the following which I am paraphrasing with my own word ‘isn’t it to want solar panels and a green car only for yourself an individualistic way of thinking? An emanation of what a capitalistic system want us to do to reduce our carbon footprint? You could join community energy and public transport schemes; wouldn’t it be an aspiration for a fairer and more sustainable system?''
I want to ask ''where are those community energy and public transport schemes?'' I want to shout out: ''you have solar panels on your roof, I don’t''. ''I am too busy with work to create those community energy schemes''. ''Public transport schemes are really not convenient''. Then I remind myself that it is what capitalism does. Divide us, trap us, make us feel awkward, impact on our carbon footprint. I cannot help my neighbours because I am too busy helping myself and the current system. The current system is not helping me and neither my neighbours. They destroy every single bit of our environment and affect the lives of billions around the planet, the have-not first. The haves hide away in their golden castle.
Enough! Enough with the despair, There is a way to feel better and inspired,. For me it is volunteering. I give my times to others and try to encourage people to reduce their carbon footprint with the little that they have. I get new allies with whom to work to create a sustainable system of production and consumption. I receive smile and love. They kind of know how capitalism affects me as a person as much as my carbon footprint because they are affected too. They cannot really help me to meet my individualistic goals. But together we can help all through a slow and thoughtful design.
So what can you do to lessen the impact of capitalism?
Join me with your dreams, I’ll share with you mine, we will help each other, we will become friends, we will collaborate and we will change the world. Alone, I can’t, you can’t, we can’t but together, everything is possible, everything changes.
This Changes Everything documentary based on Naomi Klein’s work will be shown at the Phoenix at 6.00pm on the 26th March. I invite you to join me and maybe together we will change everything in Leicester
Walking purposely up Queens Road on a bright October morning Ray and I were keen to find out what was on offer at the first Make & Mend Festival in Leicester. Ray's intention was to find out how to install and work with Linux and improve his technique with his bike repairs. My key aim was to just explore and hopefully enjoy the Festival.
The Linux workshop was very well attended and the presentation was clear and concise and questions were thoroughly answered in a friendly manner. The Linux stall was a hive of information and aptly surrounded by various repair rather than replace stalls for electrical items, lights and fittings so soldering irons were at the ready and kept busy. The bike workshop was in constant demand and again Ray found much good practical advice to be offered from Charlotte who works for Sustrans and the free leaflets he was given are now useful as reference.
I explored a bit further and found the eclectic mix of stalls and activities inspiring. Sharpening knives, repairing hair dryers, using sewing machines, material swapshop, yarn and rug making, arts and crafts, gardening including reusing plastic bottles to make cold frames and turning pallets into seats, were just some of the many delights of the day (Pictures). Engrossed in the yarnrug making stall I found myself creating a single length of yarn from an old much loved teeshirt almost by magic.
The atmosphere throughout was warm and welcoming. Plenty of guides were present and helped people find their way round to the different activities. An excited buzz of people enjoying themselves filled the spaces downstairs, upstairs – inside and out. Not quite a Pinocchio's workshop, but certainly young and old seemed captivated by the magic they were manufacturing together.
I still can't believe this was the first Make & Mend Festival. The event seemed so well organised, carefully managed and very well supported, I loved just being there. I didn't get to every workshop I had hoped to – I got too absorbed in other activities as I'm sorry to say my time management let me down.
I just hope this will become a regular event and if possible over a weekend. There's so much talent, skills and expertise here in Leicester that it seems a shame it isn't repeated and shared again. And now having practised my new found skill of yarnmaking I'm off to hunt out those much well loved teeshirts which once plaited will make a lovely bath mat. Reusing is better than recycling and can be so much fun.
Pictures credit Grant Denkinson - for more : https://grantdenkinson.smugmug.com/Events/Green-Festival-of-Making-and-M/i-jF8nB3d
The Green Festival of Making and Mending is 5 weeks away and last week I finally had my making moment.
Zina and I have been working relentlessly in the organisation of the festival and its pre-festival events to enthuse people to make and mend in an ingeneous, creative and more environmentally friendly way. The experience has taught me many skills, from communication to project management. I kept unfortunately my spirit away from engaging with the craft of making and mending.
The task appears to me challenging. I trapped comfortably myself away from needles and cissors for most of the years.
I was challenged to give it a go from time to time without enjoying completely the process:
I made Christmas decorations out of junk mails. It was an awkward experience. My hands were shaky. My coordination between those and my brain uncertain. I was self-conscious on what people surrounding me will think.
I was challenged to make the Green Festival of Making and Mending banner. My first attempt was an epic fail. I run to my baby sister and a colleague to make a more beautiful one. My confidence in asking grew and I learnt that it was OK to ask for help.
- I was challenged in making posters and ad bike. I reminded myself the extent to which I enjoy painting and colouring. I accepted that it was OK to be slow compared to others. I took a bit of pride in what I was doing.
The 'Aha' moment happened last week though. I sew my first reusable sanitary towel. I truly enjoyed the making process. I took pride. I pursue the process til completion. After it, a lot of ideas sprung into my mind on all the things I could possibly make and mend. I am now confident that I CAN make it happen.
This Saturday, it is the Restart Party. I will replace my screen on my phone. The poor animal has a broken screen for now the last two months and I haven't been looking after it. I ordered a screen and I am bound to repair it because I now know that I can tinker the world around me with my hands into a better one.