INTERVIEW WITH HEART COMMUNITY GROUP
REAL’s Kevin Boon interviewed Kimberley Hare from Heart Community Group on 8 November 2021.
HEART Community Group
The group is set up as a constituted community group. It was formed by a number of concerned citizens living across Hertfordshire and has been around for just under three years. It focuses on local community resilience to the climate crisis. It advocates for prioritising adaptation alongside mitigation (such as reducing emissions, planting more trees) to climate breakdown. The group educates and informs local leaders and MPs.
What they do
Kim was clear that the group informs and educates rather than being prescriptive in telling people what to do. The group offers free support to people suffering eco-anxiety. They also run free workshops and retreats, give talks, write blogs and run regular webinars. Early next year the hope is to launch a Climate Emergency Centre where communities can come together. https://climateemergencycentre.co.uk/
The Four Paradigms
How we respond to the climate emergency depends on our paradigm – the ‘story’ we’re telling ourselves about what’s happening and what’s important now. Kim separates people’s response into four columns:
- Business as usual (economy focused)
- Business as usual but greener (net zero by 2050)
- Emergency (radical systems change)
- Collapse aware (community resilience, adaptation, deep adaptation)
HEART Community Group is noticing a recent shift in attitudes. The proportion of people in Column 1 is rapidly shrinking – and there are now many more people in Columns 3 and 4. In discussions with local councillors, Kim has found that while publicly their stance is ‘business as usual but greener’ privately they are between emergency and collapse aware. There is a great deal councils can do to prepare.
We discussed three approaches to adaptation
- Shallow adaptation – managing risk within the business as usual paradigm
- Deep adaptation – preparing for what may be a very different way of life
- Transformative adaptation – focuses on transforming society now, whether or not collapse is imminent
Where adaptation is happening in the UK it’s mainly shallow, patchy and poorly resourced.
Kim talked about the 4 Rs associated with deep adaptation: resilience, relinquishment, restoration and reconciliation / reconnection. There needs to be a transformation from consuming to creating, anthropocentric to all life centric, infinite growth to steady-state within boundaries, ‘biggerment’ to gratitude and me to we.
People can get involved with Heart Community Group by joining events, joining the core team and checking out the website (heartcommuitygroup.org).