Field Study #001

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Our first Field Study/ Word making Salon was a tremendous success. Many feelings, emotions and ideas were shared and the beginnings of new words were generated.

Words introduced and discussed include (but not limited to):

The Next Testament – where we write our future future (inspired by the Old Testament & The New Testament but looking forward to new worlds yet to be creatd)

Oikopromnesia –  The foretold future of the earth which comes true.

Ecomnesia – a loss of ecological connection

Ecociviasis – a failure of civic response to ecological decline

Faciloblate -to contribute to destructive activities

Ebullicide – overheated enthusiastic consumerism leading to death

Climacide – loss of stable climate system from human activities

Tacistruction – unspoken change

Key findings generated in this Field Study include the need to find words for the following emotions and experiences:

1. A word to describe a positive future that can be realistically achieved.

People agreed that we are currently lacking an optimistic word for a positive achievable future. In science fiction and popular culture, we have many words to describe doomsday versions of the future: armageddon, apocalypse, post-apocalypse etcetera. The commonly used word we have for a positive view of the future is utopia which is unrealistic and therefore inherently unattainable. We need a new word / term for a positive future that is tangible, viable and attainable.

2. A new word for “environmentalist” that is more inclusive and all encompassing, rather than a word that denotes someone who is doing this as an “optional” activity.

All homo sapiens need clean water to drink (humans can’t live without water for more than 3 days), food to eat and shelter from the elements. From a survival perspective alone, this makes all homo sapiens dependent on their environment for survival. We need a word that breaks the charged associations with existing terms to better reflect that all homo sapiens are environmentalists in that they rely on their surroundings – from the rivers to the rain to the soil, to exist and live on the only planet that currently sustain human life.

3.  A new word to express the experiences children are having around their knowledge of ecological devastation and the speed with which it is occurring and will accelerate within their lifetimes due to accelerated climate change and other Anthropocenic events.

Some children are sharing their urgency to experience or witness certain places, ecosystems or animals before those places and experiences are completely gone. This is a very different worldview compared to children who were born several decades ago or earlier. The words or expressions from older generations were more focused on “saving” or “protecting” animals and ecosystems whereas some children today simply hope to “see” “witness” or “experience” these beings before they’re gone.

For example, Field Study participant Jenny Kendler shared that her 8 year old nephew shared his dream with her to swim in the Great Barrier Reef before it’s gone due to acid acidification.

4. Honoring “environmentalists” who warn of the consequences of current human activity with more visionary and respectful monikers that honor their insight and knowledge.

5. Reframing wealth to include the health of society as a whole (instead of just an individuals accruement of currency) as well as the ecology that supports and nurtures this individual and societies as a whole.

6. A word to describe an individual’s alienation and frustration that comes from working really hard to genuinely address the climate crisis yet feeling like you’re constantly “swimming upstream.”

7. A word or term to describe the sensation an individual has in todays times where modern technology which is ostensibly making people globally “more connected” – facebook, cell phones, social media – is actually causing a melancholy feeling that they are increasingly less connected to people due in part to the increase reliance on these new technologies and the decline of other ways of connecting.

Participants included Bill Barclay, someone who has attended virtually every international U.N. climate change conference, Jenny Kendler, Artist in Residence for the Natural Resources Defense Council, Nina Luttinger, Mother & Fair Trade Pioneer, Gregory Dicum, Father & NYTimes writer,  Julian McQueen, Director of Outreach & Education for Green for All , Heather Box, Member of Marshall Ganz Leading Change & Co-Founder of the Million Person Project, Rachel Caplan, Scottish Storyteller & Director of The Green Film Festival, Anna Blackshaw Mother, Poet & political campaign strategist, Alex Ramos Philosopher, Chris Mungall Bioinformatics Scientist and more named and unnamed.

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