Art or lifeboats? — phoebe tickell

A serious challenge to some of the tropes and practices of ‘systems change’ and beyond…

via Art or lifeboats? — phoebe tickell

Art or lifeboats?

I plunged myself into working across the education, food, technology, biotech, organisational and governance sectors after exiting a path that had already been paved out for me in academic science.

I left academic science to find the others — those who were committed to doing something as I watched the Earth burn. I was sitting in one of the world’s top biofuel labs and literally thinking to myself, I’m sitting here and watching the world burn. After a stint in climate activism and the fossil fuel divestment movement and realising that was pretty much pointless, I left.

I set out with enough energy to fuel full time self-directed research into the alternative options available to change the economic system, unwind climate change, stop ecological destruction, champion new forms of education, save lives, teach and design a master’s course, run a farming and land project, begin consulting, testing ideas through workshops, and have countless conversations with others who were signposted as ‘changemakers’.

In the process, something in me has died a little bit. I miss the analytic and rational approach from my days in the laboratory. In the world of “changemakers” I have seen so much work being fuelled by fantasy ideology and a sort of totally delusional psychological denial about the possibility of what is going to work, on what scale, and for whom. I think I have witnessed the birth (or growth, or rebirth) of a kind of new spiritual bypass — a form of spiritual belief which lets us feel good about doing work/projects that feel and look good, but don’t do good.

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