Call to Action For Honouring What Dies

By April Griefsong
Today (Saturday) has been all about water.  I have spent time walking the earth between camp and car, to prepare for some students visiting from the local University.  The sun was shining when they left home, so they were sadly unprepared for the crazy weather that caught them between the dogs trust car park and camp.  Unfortunately, it was so wet we couldn’t even keep the fire lit – the Gods were throwing buckets out the sky.  With typical forethought, Sarah had filled flasks before the downpour, so we could at least warm them with a hot cuppa.  Susanna, Omar and Zac were really insightful and quick to pick up on Sarah’s fascinating depth of knowledge of how HS2 are repeatedly ignoring directives and breaking EU law in their destruction of ecosystems.

I got a chance to introduce them to Extinction Rebellion and we are all keen for them to begin filming soon – conversations between me, Sarah and Niki, as well as any visitors who may join us.

An hour later, still water logged, we were joined by Nick’s wildlife walkers, who instead took shelter with us, and I used all my valley-aquired fire wisdom to court a warming blaze.  It became a village building day and fed the inspiration for this action I am calling to.

The security rushed to the fence with cameras – watching us watching them – while a kestrel watched us all from above…….

 A Plea to all you folks – wise , old, young and bold

You are needed.  The tree people need you.  After a day of human-centred road tethering – bring your hearts and bodies to the waters and life sustaining London.  Bear witness to yourself and each other – to your NEEDEDNESS of one another.

 

SUNDAY 18TH NOV 10am

at COLNE VALLEY WILDLIFE PROTECTION CAMP  UB9 6JW

 

My dear friends,  sisters,  brothers,  mycelium roots of my hearts

As the head hearts of these Lands

Court the media minded moguls

In a language they may recognize,

I call those of us

Who have studied with the crystal core heart

In song, dance and worship –

Walkers; healers; singers; deep feelers;

Story tellers; sweatlodgers; shape changers, all.

 

And….a prostrate plea to those distant in place

Connected in ancestry, aching in consequences

Grief talkers; nonviolence walkers; spell breakers; system thinking shakers

Already deep down and in –

Elder us into village.

 

Rock, stone, feather and bone

Hear me call

Let’s bring us home.

 

All of us who have woven ourselves

Into the myth of these Lands

All Characters in Search of A Better Catastrophe

 

Join me in a day of Beauty Making

With great care and respect

Honouring and giving gratitude

For the wetlands on the veldt

The wastelands between bright London lights

And someplace wilder

The shadowlands;  out of sight.

A place on the edge of extinction.

 

Bring tools and voices for collaborating with trees.

Vegan food to feast together.

Bring your neurodiverse gifts and griefs

To unite hearts and inspire courage.

Bring water from where you lay.

Build an altar to Lords and Ladies of Decay.

 

Rock, stone, feather and bone

Hear me call

Let’s bring us home.

 

Sunday 18th November from 10am till we need to depart

Colne Valley Wildlife Protection Camp, Harvil Road, Uxbridge UB9 6JW             

Prepare for the waters to bless us back.  (Wellies and waterproofs.)

Distributed Decision-Making Committed to Living Within the Means of the Planet

”What I stand for is what I stand on” Wendell Berry

Since I last wrote, #ExtinctionRebellion has gone boom!   Shared by Mr Monbiot to Mr Sanders who tweeted it to the World –  what we do now on 31st Oct Declaration Day and in the subsequent direct actions,  really matters.   Just like everything we do that has consequence on the future –  though we are so far removed in time and place, we barely need to think about that – only this time, how this plays out will be replayed to us on a very short feedback loop, over and over again, and the consequences will be deeply present.

I look out on a cloudless sunset skyscape, where contrails blaze across the darkening blue like dragons,  beautiful and dangerous.   I have thought a lot about what this rebellion is asking folks to sacrifice.  Holiday flights.  No big deal, surely.  But what about those whose family are in distant lands?  Maybe growing old and dying.  Are they to deny each other a last chance to clasp hands and hearts?  Supermarkets.  I think of the empty shops in high streets and lack of community hubs across our towns.  I think of the vast over cultivated expanses of tree-barren agricultural land no longer growing food for human consumption.   I think of all our concrete gardens.   Pharmaceuticals.  I get real to the fact that many of my dearest friends’ lives rely on a daily dose of drugs.   And those so close to my heart, who have choices about how they live because of Big Pharma.   There is so much more.  Individual car ownership.   Home heating as winter is coming.   Pure Water preservation.

Remorse.  I swim in an ocean of it.

And still, #ExtinctionRebellion  appears utterly necessary to me.   It is not that these privileges will disappear from our plate immediately.  They are the kinds of policy re-evaluations that will be taken to the People’s Assemblies.    Decision-making will be distributed among real people who have to live with them,  with a firm commitment to living within the means of the planet .  A commitment to assuring there are other than human beings still available to sustain those generations, already born, who will be dealing with the exigencies of life on a planet in deep trauma.

And so, Declaration Day approaches and now has a life of her own.  The laughter of gods echoes through the corridors of our plots and plans.   Where my focus goes now is nonviolence and de-escalation.  I have been arrested for civil disobedience –  grabbed from behind and face-planted in the dirt by police protecting a lorry from my oh so slow walk.  It is not pleasant.  It is not nonviolent.

My mind goes to the nonviolent direct action training  Rising Up are rolling out to support volunteers.  I took the role of a police person in role play and felt the frustration and irritation grow as the activist in front of me refused to move, in the face of all my cajoling and persuasion and even my rising ire.  The one next to me cried, and still did not move.  It was hard to keep calm and rational.   I listened to the sharing of experiences  of my affinity group – how they stayed grounded and calm and held their positions –  deep breathing;  rooting to the Earth;  flowing like water;  repetitive statements;  songs.

Ah, songs.  I am resonant to the power of songs – the way these magically manipulative mouths of ours have been gifted capacity to carefully shape sacred sound into words layered with meaning and history.  This is a tactic I used to great effect when I spent 24 hours in a holding cell after the slow walk arrest.   Cells have incredible acoustics and I would sing for an hour – not always songs, sometimes  tones or mantras, til the vibrations were bouncing round the tiny plastic room.  Then, in the silence after the sound, when every cell in my body was resetting itself to the highest vibrations resonating around me, I would lay down and sleep – for hours.  Deep, nourishing , restorative sleep.   When I woke, I began the whole process again,  until hours later, I was released,  calm and wide awake, to the welcoming arms of the wellbeing team who met us with food and tobacco and music to shake to.

Song.  What a powerful tool in the armoury of nonviolence.  We will have songs on Declaration Day.  Songs to bind us together in nonviolence and connectedness.  Songs to raise our energies and songs to help us calm each other.  Songs to voice out loud our commitment to make a stand for where we stand.

So, bring your singing voices, rebellioneers.  Leave behind the system tools of anger and aggression.   However many come, we are a small minority of people who will sing our way back to a world that works for all life on Earth.

by April Griefsong

 

 

“What I Stand For Is What I Stand On”

45062838_10214466431552284_787289044617789440_oSince I last wrote, #ExtinctionRebellion has gone boom! Shared by Mr Monbiot to Mr Sanders who tweeted it to the World – what we do now on 31st Oct Declaration Day and in the subsequent direct actions, really matters. Just like everything we do that has consequence on the future – though we are so far removed in time and place, we barely need to think about that – only this time, how this plays out will be replayed to us on a very short feedback loop, over and over again, and the consequences will be deeply present.

I look out on a cloudless sunset skyscape, where contrails blaze across the darkening blue like dragons, beautiful and dangerous. I have thought a lot about what this rebellion is asking folks to sacrifice. Holiday flights. No big deal, surely. But what about those whose family are in distant lands? Maybe growing old and dying. Are they to deny each other a last chance to clasp hands and hearts? Supermarkets. I think of the empty shops in high streets and lack of community hubs across our towns. I think of the vast over cultivated expanses of tree-barren agricultural land no longer growing food for human consumption. I think of all our concrete gardens. Pharmaceuticals. I get real to the fact that many of my dearest friends’ lives rely on a daily dose of drugs. And those so close to my heart, who have choices about how they live because of Big Pharma. There is so much more. Individual car ownership. Home heating as winter is coming. Pure Water preservation.

Remorse. I swim in an ocean of it.

And still, #ExtinctionRebellion appears utterly necessary to me. It is not that these privileges will disappear from our plate immediately. They are the kinds of policy re-evaluations that will be taken to the People’s Assemblies. Decision-making will be distributed among real people who have to live with them, with a firm commitment to living within the means of the planet . A commitment to assuring there are other than human beings still available to sustain those generations, already born, who will be dealing with the exigencies of life on a planet in deep trauma.

And so, Declaration Day approaches and now has a life of her own. The laughter of gods echoes through the corridors of our plots and plans. Where my focus goes now is nonviolence and de-escalation. I have been arrested for civil disobedience – grabbed from behind and face-planted in the dirt by police protecting a lorry from my oh so slow walk. It is not pleasant. It is not nonviolent.

My mind goes to the nonviolent direct action training Rising Up are rolling out to support volunteers. I took the role of a police person in role play and felt the frustration and irritation grow as the activist in front of me refused to move, in the face of all my cajoling and persuasion and even my rising ire. The one next to me cried, and still did not move. It was hard to keep calm and rational. I listened to the sharing of experiences of my affinity group – how they stayed grounded and calm and held their positions – deep breathing; rooting to the Earth; flowing like water; repetitive statements; songs.

Ah, songs. I am resonant to the power of songs – the way these magically manipulative mouths of ours have been gifted capacity to carefully shape sacred sound into words layered with meaning and history. This is a tactic I used to great effect when I spent 24 hours in a holding cell after the slow walk arrest. Cells have incredible acoustics and I would sing for an hour – not always songs, sometimes tones or mantras, til the vibrations were bouncing round the tiny plastic room. Then, in the silence after the sound, when every cell in my body was resetting itself to the highest vibrations resonating around me, I would lay down and sleep – for hours. Deep, nourishing , restorative sleep. When I woke, I began the whole process again, until hours later, I was release, calm and wide awake, to the welcoming arms of the wellbeing team who met us with food and tobacco and music to shake to.

Song. What a powerful tool in the armoury of nonviolence. We will have songs on Declaration Day. Songs to bind us together in nonviolence and connectedness. Songs to raise our energies and songs to help us calm each other. Songs to voice out loud our commitment to make a stand for where we stand.

So, bring your singing voices, rebellioneers. Leave behind the system tools of anger and aggression. However many come, we are a small minority of people who will sing our way back to a world that works for all life on Earth.

Written  by April Griefsong

 

 

A Better Catastrophe

It has been 18 months since I began reading aloud monologues from Andrew Boyd’s  ’12 characters in search of an Apocalypse’ first published in Dark Mountain No.11. I was inspired and gathered into action by tree brother and illuminator of linguistic alchemy, Jason Stewart’s, vision that these readings could be held in such a way as to facilitate communities and friends to feel their way into needed conversations about this climate emergency. The impact has been significant.

Since reading “I Have Kids.  Hopelessness is Not an Option”, I have rooted myself as often as I can at the Colne Valley Wildlife Protection Camp, Harvil Road, Uxbidge – at the front line of HS2 devastation, ripping into the woodlands and wildlife habitats for a new train line and all they deem needed to service it – one which nobody wants and without doubt, will never be completed.    It is the perfect example of a climate catastrophe headed over a cliff edge while all on board make inane comments about the stunning view out the window. 

As a parent, I rarely get through a reading of this monologue without tears.  As a tree lover, I rarely get through a day living on camp, staring across the busy local road we are camped on at the destruction visited on this unique landscape, without tears.   My response –  to offer gifts of creativity and beauty to the trees and hedgerows behind the camp, eerily marked with red paint – next on the list to be bulldozed into a power station for HS2.   It is not much.  Dawn dances and sunset songs.  I want these beings to know someone knows them as alive, life-sustaining and worthy of care.  I bring passionate presence to the act of faithful witness to what is being done.  

Since reading “Defend this ground”, I do what I can to confound HS2 plans – pull up markers wherever i find them; rub out the red paint lines; untie orange ribbons designating routes.  It is all litter and vandalism to me.  It reappears relentlessly.    Perhaps the men who follow orders from above think this is a game.   They wait until I go away and bulldoze places I have danced or decorated.    In faraway lands, indigenous wisdom keepers, environmentalists and activists doing similar defensive actions, disappear.  Or rather, someone follows orders to make them disappear, or to harass them through the trees they have pledged to protect, till a tired misstep has one fall to his death..  

Since reading “This Means War”, I have been on a steep learning curve, loosening the system grip on my thinking; attempting to acquire skills, tools and comrades to step into direct action to call a halt to this insane runaway train ride into extinction.   I have found elders and those who have been marching this field of activism long before me.  I listen to their stories – tales of courage and conviction, nonviolence and comedy moments, heartbreak and joy, moving on and finding other ways to carry the obligation of doing the right thing.   Some of them have been fighting this war so long, it is hard to imagine something more is called for now.  That this is the last stand that can make a difference.

As a student of Orphan Wisdom, I have been to the end of the road in the land of fire and ice, during days without end; a visitor in a community on the edge of extinction; to witness and learn from a spell-breaking, master practitioner of eloquence, on the topic of the trouble of our times. Stephen Jenkinson tells us: “We’re an hour before dawn, and first light will show the carnage, or the courage, we bequeath to the generations to come.”

And so we weave courage into creativity and ingenuity to add to our armoury of action tools – we must find it within ourselves to hold to nonviolence.   This rebellion will be rooted in song and dance, flapjack and authenticity, grief and beauty and all that we know is magnificent about being human.   Let those who cling to the failing-us-all system find no purchase to drag the rebellion into violence and antagonism.

The dinosaurs are with us in this.  I invite every person within reach of a museum displaying an extinct being, to take a photo of that being next to an encouraging sign – “We may be extinct… but at least we didn’t cause it ourselves.” or  “What will your display case read?  Homo sapiens – extinct by lack of care for home planet”.  Best caption wins a bow of deep gratitude.

Ancestors are with us in this.  If any of you have granny’s favourite flapjack or cake recipe at home, please make a tray of it and bring to any of the Extinction Rebellion days.  Label the tin with granny’s name, and when we offer this delicious delicacy to a frazzled traveller desperate to pick his child up from school or turn up at work on time cos she can’t afford to have pay docked, we will speak your granny’s name to them reminding them we all have ancestors who thought they were building a better life for us.  Extinction Rebellion calls for our future to be met with courage and cake.  The next generation who will live into the consequences of our actions right now – have already been born.

Non-human beings on this planet are with us in this.  The Ash and Elm trees are with us.  The Whales and the Albatross are with us.  The polar bears are with us…only just.   The sun is with us.  The wind is with us.  The composted life as Earth is with us.  The water is rising to be with us.

I am Rising Up to raise my voice for the rights of all beings to some kind of future on this magnificent planet.   And my voice, nurtured to full shine by the sisterhood of trees: plant medicine attuned; reborn in system breaking redemption; vibrating in trust to what is needed –  is powerful and prophetic.    The planet Earth needs your voice and your participation in Extinction Rebellion.  Together, let’s make “A Better Catastrophe”.

April Griefsong