Radical Interdependence – Bring it on

Submitted by Linda Hill with contributions from Janice Milnerwood, Joshua Amponsem, John Scull and Karl Perrin.

“The world needs Inclusive Leaders who are globally aware and locally skillful at forging inclusive solutions to our biodiversity and social diversity challenges.” (Linda Hill, Facebook, 2019).

I should be able to remember this quote about the radical interdependence of Inclusive Leadership because I wrote it. But reading about the deliberate burning of the Amazon Rainforests – the lungs of our mother Earth – for industrialized money crops froze my brain. I am so thankful for my radically interdependent allies who helped me shift back to mindfulness. As I breathed in and breathed out I remembered that doing whatever I can do in my local community so far away from Brazil is not only hopeful but is helpful because we are all interdependent.  “Our environmental, economic, political, social, and spiritual challenges are interconnected, and together we can forge inclusive solutions.” (Earth Charter).

First, Inclusive Leader Janice Milnerwood (on the left with her Mom Harriet Greenwood) reminded me to stay focused on global awareness and local action, In our Inclusive Leadership Course Discussion Forum, Janice wrote “By networking across our cultural divides (spiritual, generational, geographical, racial…) we are inviting connection in aligning to support common goals (like improving our local and global habitat and making our local and global spaces safer). I might live in a very different geographic location to someone but share a common need. For example, Joshua Amponsem is an Inclusive Leader living In Ghana. Last Friday I was feeling isolation and despair about the Amazon. His social media messages about Brazil not needing ‘hopes and prayers’ but needing direct action spoke to me. “

Here is what Joshua had written: “We do not need prayers to stop the fires and the ecological irresponsibility in the Amazon Forest. We cannot keep quiet and watch from afar, act now! We need radical advocacy across the globe and you can do something beyond hashtags. Call media houses to put pressure on the Brazil government, call the Brazilian consulates in your country and demand action, call the ministry in Brazil, and stop eating imported fruits, beef and sausages from Brazil – that is how forests are being burnt to set up large agricultural lands. And European citizens, ask your Member of the European Parliament (MEP) to push for stronger environmental protection in the MERCOSUR EU-Brazil trade deal. Over 600 scientists, 300 Indigenous groups & 28 MEPs are already onboard – https://eubraziltrade.org/. This must stop and we can all act.”  

Janice continued, “These words from Joshua inspired me to connect locally in Canada and go and make our shared concerns noticed with action at the Brazilian Consulate in Montréal where I live. In short, Joshua’s message turned my fear/paralysis into action/hope. The fact that we were both thinking and feeling similarly concerned for the Amazon was compelling and reassuring in that I could move into a more proactive place.”

Then I got this inspiring message from my very proactive partner, John Scull (an Inclusive Leader, Suzuki Elder, Draw Down facilitator and many other vital roles in our rural community of Cowichan, BC, Canada).  John shared an inspiring message from another Suzuki Elder Karl Perrin: “Wild fires in Brazilian and Bolivian Amazonia came as no surprise, but still it was a shock . I looked back to Al Gore’s 1992 Earth in the Balance, and sure enough, he predicted the Amazon turning to savannah… Despair hit, and fear of despair. My ego stability was threatened. Then I happened on a Tibetan Buddhist reminding me of the Mahayana Buddhist vow to reduce the suffering of all sentient beings—service to all who suffer. I remembered that it is Service (Love) which gives meaning to my life. Since ’93, when I read Al Gore, I have tried to prevent suffering from Climate Change. But serving those who suffer right in front of us, restorative service, is just as valuable as preventing suffering. In fact, they may be two sides of the same coin. So, bring it on. All we can do is serve in radical interdependence.”