The more we learn about the human induced critical declines over the past 100 years in the life supporting biological systems, which gradually developed on our planet over the past 4 billion years, the easier it is to slide into a place of hopelessness. The truth is so hard to face, that it’s far easier to live in denial – or simply feel depressed and do nothing. Yet we do have a choice to respond rather than to react. Reacting would be ‘what the hell, I may as well have another drink.’ Responding would be asking the essential question of our time – ‘what can I do about it?’
We all have different skills and educations which we can employ for the benefit of the earth – and the construction of new social systems which could secure a safe transition to the sustainable new world we are working for. What we know for sure is that every single occupation must state the preservation of the earth as the first and foremost principle in their functioning.
“To preserve the economic viability of the planet must be the first law of economics. To preserve the health of the planet must be the first commitment of the medical profession. To preserve the natural world as the primary revelation of the divine must be the basic concern of religion. The well-being of the Earth is primary. Human well-being is derivative,” says physicist Brian Swimme and theologian Thomas Berry in The Universe Story.
All education starts with Earth
All education is environmental education, someone said. So if you want to teach your children anything at all, it should be how to preserve this home that their lives depend on. This quoted book is a fantastic resource to start with – highly recommended reading for 2013. Every home should have a copy.
So, back to what you could be doing to join the Earth Corps… If you are an ardent reader, have a good command of your home language and are passionate about developing yourself for a cause bigger than yourself, then you might want to consider writing for the Planet. We train a couple of eco journalists every year and have upgraded our Write for Earth course to include a published book at the end of the ten month period – so our best stories will not only be used in our online offering, but will also grace some recycled paper, illuminated in vegetable based inks. This way we can also spread stories to those that are not online yet.
Join a local group
In the past this course was conducted entirely via email assignments, however we have realised that there is a need for face-to-face contact between our writing mentor and our students. There will also be definite benefits derived from forming a group in each area, to enable members to work together and support each other.
SHence we are planning to form regional groups in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban to start as soon as we have 15 course delegates – preferably no later than February.
Over ten months each student will submit at least one assignment per month, which will be crafted to perfection, with the help of your mentor. Assignments topics will be a synthesis of a few variables:
- the journalist’s particular area of interest
- current events needing coverage and
- a wide spectrum of categories to cover in mastering the skill of responding appropriately to the environmental challenges of our time
Learn from each other
- The course will start with a training intervention of 3 days during which we will get to know each other, cover the basics of writing with energy and power, face the challenges of eco journalism, discuss different approaches and explore the finding of your unique voice. Writing is a skill anyone can develop, like any other skill, by doing. Therefore the more you write, the faster you progress as a writer. Writing exercises in a group context offers the additional benefits of learning not only from your own work, but also from each other’s stories.
- Half-way through the course, so after 5 months, we will gather for 3 more training days and focus on more advanced eco journalism training and techniques and the development of creativity, resilience and confidence in order to make a meaningful contribution to the world.
- At the end of the course we will gather one last time, share our experiences and growth with each other, deal with any further questions, celebrate certificates of completion and discuss the way forward for eco journalists.
See your work in print
- Some stories will be published in the Green Times online newspaper. This is not guaranteed and depends on the focus areas of issues and available space. This may enable you to build up a portfolio of published works to assist you in moving into writing positions after completion of the course. There will be ample opportunities to cover events in your area – stories which will be done on assignment and will almost certainly be published. Anything published in the Green Times may also be published elsewhere afterwards, as long as Green Times is also credited.
- Included in this course is a printed book at the end with our best stories for the year. We need to have 15 students to make this possible! This will give us space for 3 stories from each student for the yearly publication. Each student will receive 15 copies of the book, the price of which is included in the course cost. Our last gathering will therefore include the launch of our book of stories for the earth.
We have a reading list of suggested books for reading, all of which are available through our lending library or from your bookshop, online or from your local library – be sure to order them in time.
No time to waste
Do you have time on your hands? Would you like to feel the satisfaction of knowing that you are doing your best to constructively contribute to the brave new world? No matter where we are, this work gives purpose, meaning and energy to your life. Education, information and inspiration needs to be spread. All publications will need skilled eco journalists going forward – the world needs your commitment. Contact Elma immediately if you are keen to join the next intake at firstname.lastname@example.org – places are limited to 15 students countrywide.
Speak if you have queries or any other needs by calling the Green Times office on 021-8550518 during office hours.