Inspiring Real life Stories
We can learn from inspiring people and projects that have worked in the past, some are still working today and some we have been directly involved in (Climate Camps). Starting from the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930’s, Sarvodaya Village Movement founded in Sri Lanka in 1958 and more recently the Climate Camp operating between 2008-2012 in the UK.
The Civilian Conservation Corps
From 1933-42 three million volunteer enrolees signed up to live in rural camps and carry out emergency conservation work. This was part of Roosevelt’s New Deal.The economic depression had created high unemployment levels especially in the young. America was suffering from vast areas of environmental degradation in the form of soil erosion, and flooding caused by intensive farming methods and deforestation. During the 9 years over one billion trees were planted as well as a whole range of practical land based environmental work.
The lesson to be applied from the CCC related to the practical response to a massive social, economic and environmental problem. It took young people out of the cities and trained them for sustainable skills.It became the social movement of the day, a place for any young person to be. to cooperate and work together. Climate and Community would like to build on networks in the community so that we can start facilitating climate conservation camps for young people on public land.
Sarvodaya Village Project
”We Build the Road and the Road Builds Us”
‘Sarvodaya’ means awakening of all, or everybody wakes up! It is a Buddhist and Ghandian inspired community development movement with popular participation of over 5000 villages in Sri Lanka. It actively engages people of all religions and ethnic background. It asserts development is only meaningful in terms of fulfilment which goes beyond material and can be the cultivation of wisdom and compassion. This begins with the person to the community and to the world. Respect and harmony began being encouraged in the village by organising constructive work projects which improved the village and the villagers lives. Villagers work together and share food.
Principles to encourage good social conduct are: generosity, the sharing of one’s time, skills, goods and energy. The four sublime attitudes: loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity. Respectful and honest speech and constructive work. The work camps where villagers share their labour is viewed as essential if persons and community are to awaken and make change.
What we learn from Sarvodaya is the need to redefine what the real solutions to climate change are. They are not large scale technological fixes put forward by media and politicians. Just like Sarvodaya we can redefine what the solutions to our environmental and instability and social inequality are and decide what actions need to take place. Climate and Community believe the collective waking up needs to be based on care for our communities manifested in practical communal work, re-skilling and personal awareness.
Climate Camp Movement
The camps took place over 10 days once a year over 5 years. A small group of people were motivated by the climate science to organise and gather support for national camps. In their process of organising they set up monthly gatherings and regional neighbourhoods whose decision making fed into the monthly national gatherings. A set of principles were agreed: Facilitate education on the problem of climate change, Facilitate practical skills training, Demonstrate practical examples of sustainable living in the form of camp infrastructure, facilitate opportunities for non-violent direct action and protest.
The DIY approach used non-hierarchical consensus decision making and group facilitation. These methods were effective could be used in practical rural skills training camps. The squatting of sites caused the camps to be in confrontation with the police. This led to their suppression. It is better to have a legitimate camping site and cause for being there.