How does it feel to be a mountain or a sheep?
What is it to live as a coltsfoot or a cedar?
Does this sound daft? And is it worse than
Compulsive Obsessive Ecological Disorder
Whose symptoms can easily be seen
In the torrential rain of climate facts
Upon the people?
Better try experiential, where everything’s connected
In a different universe from the reality of facts.
The point is to live the data not to dump it.
If you live the data, you’re being ecological
Maybe you didn’t get it before, but now you know
There’s no away, no magic place where your
Nuclear waste and other shit just disappears.
It gets worse, because when away is revealed
As sham, then here also dissolves,
The solid ground you thought you had, illusory.
Our anthropocentric facts become
Factoids, false truths in plain view.
Like Nietzsche said, that world is dead.
Nothing is real any more.
That’s chilling. Can we get through?
Our trauma, my terror, your paranoia?
Can we achieve the transformation
And find the necessary metanoia?
Can we join with all the not-humans
Whose beings make up this earth
And begin with them to live differently?
This poem owes a great debt to the ideas in Timothy Morton’s 2018 book, Being Ecological, Pelican Books
No. 17, Penguin Random House, UK.
Mike Pedler lives at Hathersage in the Peak District National Park and is a member of Hope Valley Climate Action. He was born in Sheffield and has been lucky enough to live for much of his life within 3 miles of Stanage Edge.
He has been a manager, an adult educator, a teacher in Higher Education and a consultant on managerial and organisational learning. Since meeting Reg Revans in 1976, who announced to a group of management teachers that they were doing it all wrong, he works with the action leaning idea and has published a number of books and papers.
He is Emeritus Professor at Henley Business School, University of Reading, Honorary Research Fellow at the Department of Management Learning and Leadership at Lancaster University and a Visiting Research Fellow at Liverpool Business School. He is founding editor of the Journal: Action Learning: Research and Practice.