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There are so many amazing people across this country who are helping to make change and are holding such a powerful vision for what the future can be. We get trapped in thinking about the paradigm limit in which we currently live, we put bounds on what feels like reality and what feels possible. There are no limits, and the arts helps us to push against that limited set of beliefs and helps us to remember that the way that we know things to be right now is not fixed. We can imagine anything. We can imagine the future we want.teika newton, conscient podcast, may 19, 2021, kenora, ontario
A lifelong, insatiable curiosity for understanding people and places, and the interrelationships of all things, and a passion for humanitarianism and justice has directed Teika to a career in environmental and climate justice advocacy. Teika’s academic training was in evolutionary biology, but she also has a strong interest in the arts, notably in hearing people’s stories of how we relate to our natural world. She is currently the Membership and Domestic Policy Manager, at Climate Action Network Canada.
I first met Teika in February 2020 at TP3, a strategic gathering in Waterloo, ON convened by the McConnell Foundation and Tamarack Institute to create a coalition of organizations to address the climate crisis, (including through the arts). Teika and I been exchanging about community-engaged arts and climate action ever since.
There were many moments during my conversation with Teika that resonated with me, such as this thought our disconnection with nature:
I see that there are a lot of ways in which people in my community use the landscape in a disrespectful way. Not considering that that’s someone’s home and that a wild place is not just a recreational playground for humans. It’s not necessarily a source of wealth generation. It’s actually a living, breathing entity and a home to other things and a home to us as well. I find that all really troubling that there is that disconnection and it sometimes does make me despair about the future course that we’re on. You know, if we can’t take care of the place that sustains us, if we can’t live with respect for not just our human neighbours, but our wilderness neighbors, I don’t know how well we’re going to fare in the future. We need to love the things around us in order to care for them.
And this thought about the role of the arts:
Having the ability to come together as a community and participate in the collective act of creating and expressing through various media, whether that’s song, the written word, poetry, painting, mosaic or mural making, so many different ways of expressing, I think are really, really valuable for keeping people whole grounded, mentally healthy and to feel connected to others. It’s the interconnection among people that will help us to survive in a time of crisis. The deeper and more complex the web of connections, the better your chances of resilience.
As I have done in all episodes in season 2 so far, I have integrated excerpts from soundscape compositions and quotations drawn from e19 reality and other episodes, as well as moments of silence, in this episode.
I would like to thank Teika for taking the time to speak with me, for sharing her deep scientific knowledge, her expertise in strategic climate action and her love of the arts and nature.
For more information on Teika’s work, see https://www.linkedin.com/in/teika-newton-926a5477/