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Hope and Well-being (Reading Group #3)

In Djilba, as the flowers spring to life, the weather starts to warm up (but stayed wet and cool for longer than usual) the theme of the reading group was hope and well-being and the list was chock-a-block with potential inspiration!

FeastTogether We Can, by Claire O'Rourke 

30 days of comics, day 15 "can you imagine the community that will heal the climate crisis? It will not be just you. It will not be a technological salvation. It will be all of us"

Taster: BRONTË VELEZ on the Pleasurable Surrender of White Supremacy, Part 1 (For the Wild Podcast) and/or Short Essays: 

Ambiance: 30 days of comics / 2019: on climate crisis, by Madeleine Jubilee Saito, and/or

  • 'Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet', page 1-5, by Thich Nhat Hanh 


Seven people came along, and we had a rich discussion about well-being, how we define well-being in the context of climate justice, and how we define and use the concept of hope.

The conversation was so thoughtful, reaching into ideas about how well-being is defined, starting with this definition from the Noongar Well-being podcast (link here) 

“Wellbeing means being well in a whole body way - physical, spiritual etc. We were healthy people, holistically healthy, not just in our bodies. Continual connecting to country to each other to the world, the skies the stars. That connection is so powerful. We could not survived as long as we did if we were not well human beings.”

We moved onto our personal experiences of being well, how well-being is collectively created not a purely individual and how sometimes drawing upon a finite supply of 'hope' is not the best for our well-being. We discussed the difficulty of hope as a concept, especially when considered in isolation from others and from justice. We shared Solnit's ideas about hope being an action - an axe not a lottery ticket - and we discussed Kyle Whyte and Chelsea Watago's ideas about hope as something that has never been for the hopeless. 

'Showing up with hope is not as important as showing up,' was an idea we considered worth remembering, and we landed on interconnectedness as both more useful and more enriching on an emotional and practical level than some abstract hope. 'Everything is fucked, but how do we do what we're doing better,' was another gem.

Additional texts we referred to included:

Reflection questions: 

  1. How is wellbeing shared, or how might it become so?

  2. Based on what you read this week how do you define 'hope' in your approach to climate justice?

  3. How do you find or perceive pleasure in surrendering or in saying 'fuck hope'?

  4. 'Hope to me has always worked for the folks for whom everything turns up trumps, through whatever adversity they meet. Hope was never for the hopeless. It was always the stuff of fairy tales and fables, which were reserved exclusively for white people and, occasionally, those respectable ethnics.' (Watego 190)

  5. What does this teach you about climate justice?
Keen to explore this theme yourself or with friends? We encourage you to buy your books from independent book stores (such as Rabble Books & Games), borrow from libraries, or share books among friends..

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We acknowledge that we begin our work as The Climate Justice Union on the Boodja (land) of the Wadjuk people of the Noongar Nation. We honour the Wadjuk people and their kin in other Nations and Country across these lands and waters, who have always cared for this place and all who lived here.

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As such, we all have a responsibility to decolonise ourselves, our lives and work, and to heal the harm these oppressive systems have inflicted.

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