Making peace

By Nele Auschra, June 2021

“Making peace with nature” – with these four weighty words, UNEP, the United Nations Environment Programme, provided a clear direction in mid-February towards the necessary and unavoidable steps required to ensure that we have a viable future.­

In the State of the World report, which is intended to serve as a “scientific blueprint for combating climate, biodiversity and environmental emergencies”, the authors state their position clearly: issues such as climatic crisis, species extinction, and the emergence of zoonoses must be addressed now, collectively, in all fields of human activity, directly and decisively. They state that the decades of our overexploitation of nature are now directly impacting us: a quarter of all global diseases are now caused by environment-related risks. The report calls for far-reaching reforms in all economic and political fields.

So what can we do? How do we want to influence our environment? In what kind of world do we want to live? These are precisely the questions we would have addressed at the “Social Future” festival in June, together with the numerous organisers from both within and without anthroposophical civil society. Unfortunately, with a heavy heart, this major event had to be cancelled.­ However, we will continue to address these questions in our day-to-day work in schools, both for and with children and young people.

With those who now argue that it is precisely this work that is currently being made more difficult, or even impossible, by the state, I cannot disagree more. The paths between us may be restricted, but they are still viable. No more impaired by forces imposing themselves from outside than was the case before, freedom in spiritual life arises in the development and shaping of our intellectual power of judgement. The individual action arising from this must be in an ethical context. Is it not this development and context that is conveyed through our curriculum in Waldorf schools? So, in my eyes, it is our duty now to work even more imaginatively with the children and young people on the themes of our lessons. And against all odds, many of our colleagues are succeeding in this work. They are forging new paths, they can network regionally or nationwide via the #waldorflernt platform. I would like to express my deep appreciation and gratitude for their dedication and commitment to their pupils.

Did you notice? This perspective touches on the focal and overpowering central issue of the moment. The current challenge that unites us and at the same time divides us, that makes us doubt each other and then doubt ourselves again. I do not need specially to mention what this is here. We will find ways to live with it. But this is where I see our real challenge: making peace with nature. Making peace with nature through our actions – and each with each other and each with ourselves.

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