There was once a time where we could imagine that the impacts of climate change were far away: sea-level rise affected low-lying islands in the Pacific; wildfires and drought affected Australia and California; floods and mudslides ravaged the countries of the Bengal Basin. Over the last half decade, the effects of climate change have clearly arrived in British Columbia. What started with the Mountain Pine Beetle infestation in the mid 2000s (which destroyed 18.3 million hectares of forest), has escalated into extreme heat, wildfires, mudslides, and floods. We lost over 600 people, 640,000 farm animals, and an estimated 1 billion sea animals in 2021 alone. The human and economic cost of these climate impacts continue to ripple out exponentially. The impacts of climate change are accelerating.
This summer, during the peak of the BC wildfires, a group of us got together and committed to deepening our climate work at Hollyhock. For almost 40 years, Hollyhock has brought together climate leaders to work on some of the most pressing climate issues of our times. The devastation of the escalating climate emergency demands we do more. In order to put our commitment into action, one of the first conversations I had was with my friend, climate mentor, and long-time Hollyhock supporter and ally, Tzeporah Berman. In the back of the Cortes Coop over lunch, Tzeporah helped us envision how Hollyhock could scale up our climate programming to meet the moment.
Our goal for 2022 is to convene three high impact climate gatherings that aim to further resource and network the climate movement. Together, we will work to define strategy, policy, and action. The gatherings will focus on countering the following challenges currently faced by the climate movement:
- Worsening climate emergency
- Political failure to make substantive change
- Fragmented (sometimes hostile) underfunded climate organizations
- Inequity in the environmental movement
- Human despair, burnout, alienation, and nihilism
“Climate for Change” (June 22 – 26, 2022) will be our flagship gathering. In 2022, it will focus on collective strategies to confront the new climate denialism. We will bring together climate organizations from across North America to build strategy, skills, and networks to push for large-scale social transformation instead of continued investment and subsidy in extractive industries. Our hope is to partner with leading organizations to convene the gathering and we are in talks with a number of them.
“Climate Hope” (August 10 – 14, 2022) will return next year with a focus on senior leaders in the climate movement and people working in climate adaptation. The goal of the program will be to help build the emotional resilience to continue to do climate work while facing worsening climate impacts.
“Repower Communities” (Dates to be announced) is a new offering that will bring together municipal leaders, regional and municipal staff and elected decision makers to share knowledge, skills and collectively organize on climate adaptation and mitigation. Repower Communities is feeling particularly resonant as we see that climate impacts hit regions differently.
For decades Hollyhock has been a place that has sparked new ideas and new connections. Environmentalism has been an enduring thread through our work since the beginning. The state of the climate emergency requires that we find better, bolder solutions – NOW. Central to our theory of change is that when people are connected to themselves, each other and the natural world, we can do amazing things. We are keen to put that theory to the test on climate action in 2022. We hope you will join us.