(submitted by Linda Hill)
Two Winter Celebrations warmed my heart this month. The first was a celebration of biodiversity organized by our local natural history club. The second was a celebration of cultural diversity organized by our local intercultural society. Both events got me thinking about how the world is being changed in peaceful directions by the cumulative impact of thousands upon thousands of inclusive and welcoming celebrations of diversity going on around the world this winter and throughout the year.
Big events such as the Sea of Shoes in Paris and small events such as these Winter Celebrations in my rural community in Canada are organized by leaders in civil society who know that, “To move forward we must recognize that in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and life forms we are one human family and one Earth community with a common destiny…Everyone shares responsibility for the present and future well-being of the human family and the larger living world.” (Earth Charter).
Government has a vital leadership role to play. Canadians recently elected a Prime Minister who already shows strong leadership in celebrating social diversity and is showing strong promise for celebrating biodiversity. “We believe in our hearts that this country’s unique diversity is a blessing bestowed on us by previous generations of Canadians — Canadians who stared down prejudice and fought discrimination in all its forms. We know that our enviable, inclusive society didn’t happen by accident, and won’t continue without effort…” (Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, October 2015)
At the same time, it is clear that the learning curve involved in making the effort to embrace diversity is short, steep, and urgent. In the 1950s and 60s, futurist Marshall McLuhan described how humanity has rapidly merged into one gigantic, diverse “Global Village” characterized by instantaneous communication between diverse peoples. McLuhan warned that with so “little time to get accustomed to anything,” the world has entered “the age of anxiety,” “a place of arduous interfaces and very abrasive situations,” characterized by “loss of identity,” and “violent tribalism.” McLuhan talked about the “need for less abrasive encounters” and the need to learn how to care for each other and our Planet. “There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew.”
The Inclusive Leadership Co-operative is one of many, many organizations that have emerged in recent years for the purpose of teaching the crew of Spaceship Earth some of the skills needed for tending and guiding our Global Village. The vision of the Inclusive Leadership Co-operative is people all around the world guiding children, youth and adults to shift from the age of anxiety into the age of embracing diversity. The core skills we teach are skills for connecting with differences, communicating with compassion, standing up for inclusion, and building bridges within and between groups. We invite you to become in involved in the Inclusive Leadership Co-operative in 2016 by:
- following and contributing to our website (send us a blog post)
- liking, sharing and contributing to the Inclusive Leadership face-book page
- and perhaps by coming to Vancouver Island, BC, Canada on February 19 (one day) or February 19 to 21 (3 days) or June 4 and 5 (2 days) for experiential education in facilitating and mentoring Inclusive Leadership.
The outcomes of learning to embrace and celebrate differences as gifts that enrich the world are peaceful hearts, peaceful relationships, and peaceful communities. Like ripples in a pond thinking globally and acting locally to organize inclusive and welcoming celebrations of diversity creates waves of peace that spread throughout the world,