New Internationalist

Walk to promote culture change, not climate change

beehappy [Related Image]
Bee happy: take part in a 'walking university' from Totnes to Carlisle © BuzzTour

A walking tour is planned to celebrate and connect up some of the many inspiring initiatives across Britain aimed at promoting sustainability. The tour will also help participants psychologically and physically to prepare for a future without fossil fuels. And you’re invited!

Whereas capitalist society encourages and rewards exploitative behaviours of people and planet, the Buzz Tour will celebrate people and projects working for positive change. It will bring people together, and help give them the motivation, skills and courage actively to dissent against this harmful culture, and join with others in building an inclusive one based on democratic and ecological values instead.

As well as visiting groups and projects in both rural and urban settings, like Transition Towns, organic farms and schools, the tour will have a ‘walking university’ including skill-shares, story-sharing and workshops on a range of subjects such as permaculture, conflict resolution, foraging, direct action and wild medicine. Participants can also practice mindfulness and learn directly from nature.  

The founder of Buzz Tour, Eve Carnall, thinks the tour is important because people do not yet have the will to bring about a world without fossil-fuel energy, nor do they have the skills that will be essential in a genuinely sustainable future. Eve is herself on a journey, having given up ‘normal’ work 2 years ago to focus on climate-change issues. She studied behavioural psychology at university, where it became clear to her that the causes of climate change are cultural and systemic – it is our culture that promotes and rewards harmful behaviours, which must be transformed. We are forced to participate in this destructive culture, she says, but that is different from consenting to it. Someone who is kidnapped may not actively resist out of fear, but they don’t consent to being taken hostage.

People who want to get involved in the Buzz Tour can do so at any time. There is no time commitment – anyone that wants to be part of a democratic and inclusive space can stay for an afternoon or a few months. There are also some practice walks coming up in Oxfordshire over the next few weeks.

For the initiative to be a success, many more people need to find out about it and join in, bringing their ideas, energy and enthusiasm. There are lots of ways to get involved other than joining the walk itself. Participants will be walking and camping together so donations of camping equipment, walking gear and waterproofs are gratefully received. It’s important to record the journey, so people with filmmaking and technical skills will be needed, as well as donations of audio-visual equipment. There are plans to make a short documentary after the tour is over, using footage that has been shot along the way. Small monetary donations will also help fund essential expenses en route such as venue hire, food and public transport to and from the walk for those who need it. The Indiegogo crowdfunder appeal is accepting donations until 14 April. Meals for participants are also appreciated.

The route is still evolving, but the Buzz Tour will start in the Transition town of Totnes on 18 April, taking in Bristol (28 April), Norwich (5 June) and Manchester (11 July). The tour will also visit Minehead, Stroud, Bradford and Carlisle. It will finish in Scotland in August. Find out more about the many ways you can get involved.

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  1. #1 Hugh 14 Apr 14

    What a brilliant idea! Well done Eve. IMHO I suspect the change we need, to low-impact living, is one of these changes that are most effectively catylized by factors we might at first overlook. Why do I say that? Because those in the position to contribute most (in reducing their personal and indirect emissions) are those culturally most distant from those of us for whom the need is obvious. Put the other way round you could say that preaching to the converted is only too easy - and it's also illusory in that it contributes less to the real goal, which is a reversal in current growth in global emissions, is it not? What about ArchB Tutu's suggested boycott of fossil fuel companies? But does it not risk missing the IPCC recommendation to initially substitute natural gas for oil and coal? Sounds to me like an ideal challenge for Back-Casting. And how can we promote the wisdom contained in CAT's ongoing and inspirational Zero Carbon Britain scenario? Maybe having a goal of promoting some elements of ZCB would (if you've not already got it in mind) go well with the objectives of your brilliant Walk to promote culture change. I wish you and your followers every good fortune.

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