There can be little doubt, that with WHO declaring the ongoing spread of the Coronavirus being a global pandemic, that the affected countries are in somewhat of a crisis situation.
If this situation teaches us anything, it is that we have to be more prepared to acknowledge the fact that crisis management is a fundamental skill in the world today. Apart from Coronavirus, there is still the ongoing threats of climate change, which has devastating consequences for communities, and in the wake of the current outbreak, a new global financial crisis is unfolding in front of our eyes.
We may not be able to avert these crises, nor even predict everything that is going to happen in the future, but what we can do is to stick together collectively and find new solutions to the challenges we face, instead of giving in to panic.
It is important to show solidarity. Solidarity with the weak, the poor, the sick, the have-nots and all the ones affected by the circumstances. We know, that it is these people, who always pay the highest price to overcome the challenges put in their path by unfortunate circumstances and the consequences of our globalized, capitalistic mode of production, where profit often take precedence over people’s lives and welfare.
This always has been the main message of our programs, where we advocate not only for volunteering, but doing so responsibly in fighting shoulder to shoulder for a better future for all.
Community life, studies about the world, political commitment, climate resilience and good practices: these are the foundations of our traveling folk high schools around the world. This is what we practice, both during the training at DRH Lindersvold in Denmark as well as during our service period at the partner school Richmond Vale Academy at Saint Vincent.
After four months of theoretical understanding of the current climate crisis and studies about the threat of global warming and climate change for nature and human beings, the duo moved from DRH Lindersvold. The time to see closer with our own eyes the consequences on mother earth of a capitalistic society and the time to take a concrete action came: at the beginning of March, the Climate team flew to the other side of the world to our partner school located where the threat is already a reality and the population suffer from the consequences of our lifestyle.
Saint Vincent, an island that has incredibly fascinated me for his authenticity, is a clear example of how global warming and climate change mostly hit the poor and of how nowadays, more than ever, it is necessary to prepare the new generations to be resilient.
The school showed to be not only a learning center for dozens of international volunteers, but also a citadel open to everyone in the communities. A great example for the local area of organic agriculture and renewable energy usage with a big dream: contribute to making all the island self-sufficient.
A dream that could sound too ambitious but that has already his basis in the school, where the majority of vegetables and fruits utilized for the meals come from the garden farm of the school itself; where the students learn how to grow their own organic food; where solar panels, biomass digesters, rainwater collection allow the whole campus to use a carbon footprint that is minimal; and where the volunteers are in the front line of spreading this message to the communities, where they actively build gardens, share information, give courses, prepare workshops,.. and, in general, spread the knowledge and the tools with the local population about what is needed to become climate compliant.
During this month at RVA school, I had the possibility to take part in the construction of sustainable model gardens for some saint Vincentian families, learning about permaculture principles and having the possibility to get closer to the population of the island. Through sharing working moments and personal stories we could understand the daily struggles of those people and how much privileged we actually are.
In the current global state of emergency probably also more people around Europe and USA are realizing what it means to be in danger through circumstances beyond your control, to desire to escape from your land and be rejected at the borders, to be locked in your house, to have limitation to your freedom,… This time also our privilege is somehow affected and maybe more people can become sensitive about these challenges that are not short term, but business as usual, in other parts of the world.
Maybe more people are considering the case of learning again how to be self-sufficient, because these days we never know which situation we could face.
Maybe more will realize that to ‘slow down’ and to start to collaborate for a sustainable world is possible.
Maybe more people are understanding that the challenges of today are global challenges, and so only together we can overcome them and guarantee to all of us and the next generations an Open Future.