The Naked Eye: Facing Climate Injustice and Finding Hope
An Interview with Kosha Joubert (Director, Global Ecovillage Network) by conference convener, Stephanie Mines.
“We are fighting for minerals to remain in the subsoil and for oil to remain unexploded. These are the solutions to climate change and a way to preserve biodiversity which is our true wealth.” Statement of the Meeting of Women on Climate Change and Extractive Industry Issues.
Kosha Joubert’s voice aches with the tragedies of climate injustice that she witnesses first hand as she travels to communities where kids go hungry, farmers loose access to land and seeds, biodiversity is diminished and natural disasters have hit. The phrases “heart wrenching” and “heart breaking” are repeated over and over. Although we are talking over the internet, her tears are wet on my own face, as I listen.
As a woman, a mother and Director of the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN), Kosha lives in a place between stories. She is walking out of the Old Story in which people steel themselves against trauma and shut down their wailing. She does not make herself a martyr. There is no pretense. The interface between climate change and trauma is where she lives. Yet she is also living into the New Story in which the Earth is resilient and regenerated, protected and honored. In the ecovillages that GEN supports, she sees how soils and water cycles can be restored, reforestation take effect, peace can be built and social entrepreneurship spring up to bring sustainability to marginalised communities. She has to remember this when she watches sand being trucked out from dunes protecting fragile communities in The Gambia and ancient trees and forests being destroyed in Zambia. And also as she speaks to communities under threat of floods in Bangladesh, hurricanes in the Philippines and earthquakes in Mexico.
The pain of the people and the pain of the land is Kosha’s pain. She cannot inure herself to it. She walks on the killing fields of climate injustice with her eyes wide open like her heart. How does someone who has her own history of suffering meet the suffering of the world and maintain the capacity to restore herself and continue her remarkable service to humanity and to the Earth?
The intersection between trauma and climate change is not an intellectual concept for Kosha and neither is recovery. It is for both these reasons that she can teach us how to counter denial about climate injustice and how to take care of ourselves when our own tender nervous systems are reactivated by its unrelenting truth. Her answer to my question about how she finds regeneration was this: “I come home. I come home to myself, to my family, my friendships and to my allies in the field who are full of integrity. I come home to my community. I come home to Findhorn where I have chosen to live. I come back to my spiritual practice and give space to my tears.”
The tone and inflections of Kosha’s steady, vibrant voice tell me as much about her deeply rooted devotion to humanity as her words. “At home,” she says, “I have to allow the heart break to take its course. There is just no other way.” Kosha makes space for her grief just as she makes space for her fortitude. This is the triumvirate: resourcing, expression, and loving community. This is the path to the New Story. All of us who dare to look at the raw truth of climate change and social injustice and not turn away from the hunger seasons that the children in Africa endure or the rapes and murders that accompany climate crime need to know how to not only take care of ourselves but also how to take care of each other.
The conference, Climate Change and Consciousness, is blessed that Kosha Joubert will be a key facilitator in the emergent process that will encourage all participants, including thousands in the live-streaming hubs, to walk across the threshold from the Old Story to the New Story. Kosha knows how to build community because she does it throughout the world as Director of GEN. But she also knows how to tap into the purpose and love of community. She says that her community is the core foundation that she draws from to find the strength she needs to walk in the world. She is therefore highly qualified to lead us in creating the communities we need to thrive in a climate changed world. She knows that community is one of the alchemizing agents when trauma and climate change combust.
“When we talk about climate change we are really talking about how we can re-evaluate our relationship to each other and how humanity can restore a sense of the sacredness of Mother Earth.” Clayton Thomas Mueller.
This article is one in a series featuring CCC19 Partners and Sponsors and their work in the world. Kosha Joubert is the Director of CCC19 Partner GEN (Global Ecovillage Network). She will also be a facilitator of CCC19 and instrumental in creating the live-streaming hubs that will allow thousands around the world to participate in CCC19 and interactively shape its action plan for a sustainable future.