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Addressing Climate Change via Dance, Part I

Updated: May 5

"Art is the highest form of hope". Apparently, that was said by Gerhard Richter, who I don't know much about. I strongly believe in that sentence, however. Over the next few posts, I'm attempting to explain why I've embarked on this project called "The Message", as much for myself as for anyone who happens to drop in here. 


Climate change is not a new issue. As far as I understand, warnings about it started sounding a couple centuries ago. In recent years, I've experienced personally and indirectly a kind of paralysis around the subject. It has never been a question of not caring; it has always been a question of not knowing what to do. I could see through industrial complex gaslighting, which would have us believe that we individuals are responsible for the catastrophic destruction of our environment, as well as its rescue, but that didn't help with the sense of growing danger. And policy, made without our consent, often leaves me feeling powerless. We can care, but the criminal ruin of our planet continues. The panic that I felt experienced a peak in the summer of 2023 when an orange-brown cloud of smoke enveloped everything we could see for miles and lasted for many, many days. I was scared. I called friends who were also scared. They messaged others who also were. It came up in my therapeutic work. The subject came up at parties. I kept asking, to myself and out loud, when do we stop carrying on as if what we see isn't terribly wrong? Unlike many in the global South (and a growing number in the North), I have been in the habit of consuming without directly experiencing the consequences of that consumption. But a cloud of fire changed that. We had trouble breathing. Going outside was discouraged. Many, many died, including animals and plants. I moved through the Pacific Northwest, seeing that life persists, but that the scorched earth is still visible.


When I first started thinking of dancing for the earth, it was with a sense of grief. However, even though there are irrevocable changes, there is still an opportunity to change course. While I may grieve the changes we have seen (dying seasons, dying beings, perpetual confusion, etc.), I don't yet have to grieve the loss of my relationship to the earth.


Part of the objective of "The Message" is to demonstrate how any of us feeling paralysed or helpless can regain enough of a sense of equilibrium to face this immense challenge. It places focus on many of the things that capitalism tries so very hard to remove from us: good relationships with others, a good relationship to ourselves, time to grieve, time to reflect, space for reconciliation. We can go through so many stages in the course of a day. This meditation in movement, as I've been calling it, looks at a few of them.


Photo of Georgia Dahill-Fuchel.

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