“Resilience is always remembering what came before so we know where we are going”
- youth delegate at Elders’ Voices Summit
By renewing and reimagining practices that connect communities to place, members of the International Resilience Network are deepening their cultural heritage by telling the story of who they are.
Collective memory, understanding and ethos
We carry the genes of our ancestors within us, we can read the traces of past actions on the land and measure their impacts, we see the habits of our cultural history affecting our lives today, for good and for ill. It is only by understanding the nature and the effects of memory, individually and collectively, that we can have a vision of the future. By developing a cultural space within which collective consciousness can flourish, we can remember who we are.
We must also, as communities of people living on so many small patches of an interconnected Earth, develop a collective understanding. What is important for us, for the land that sustains us, and for our other-than-human relatives? Many people who have grown up in a land-based community, whether it be hunting, fishing, foraging, farming – have a tacit understanding of the relationships between the creatures who live there. This way of knowing is increasingly rare: as an insatiably curious species, we now have so many types of knowledge, many of which have disconnected us from the rest of our living plane, placing us in great danger. However, we are now coming to new understandings of ecology, from learning that trees send nutrients to their offspring through the wood-wide-web of fungus (the mycelium network) to understanding the extent to which humans have depleted whole ecosystems without realising (shifting baseline syndrome). We must learn to bring the old and the new types of knowledge together.
Thirdly, we can develop a collective ethos. How does the actions of our daily lives connect to what we believe is important, and if something is not working, how do we change it? What are our deeply held practices that we must keep alive, what can be adapted and evolved, and what must we cast aside?