“The time for action is now. It is never too late to do something, because true happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done, the zest of creating things new” Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Dear readers. 2017 offers opportunities for creating something new. We may be disturbed by the rise in sympathy for autocrats, dangerous populism, new nationalism, racism and even terrorism. But consider how Leonard Cohen put it “There is a crack in everything – That’s how the light gets in.”
If we do indeed let the light in, we may see what is already in waiting – waiting to replace what is wrong in our societies. Look at the diverse beauty of the many local soil, seed and food initiatives in Europe and abroad; the farmer-consumer alliances; the many fair trade projects and the welcoming culture helping refugees and marginalised people.
These are people taking care of people, food and future. The resilience of our local grassroots is being tested these days, but let’s see – perhaps the tightness of our web may become stronger under pressure. We may even realize that there is indeed a world wide web of grassroots in the making, one that resists and overcomes the fears of globalisation.
For us it is common sense. Democracy, fair and peaceful sharing of common wealth and resources, solidarity between people and countries, loving care for children, nature, the soil – the whole living, biodiverse world – ARE the very basis of our happiness, our livelihoods and our humane relations.
And yet people are being divided by the creation of anxieties – to echo 12th Century scholar Averroes (Ibn Rushd) “ignorance leads to fear, fear leads to hate, hate leads to violence – this is the equation.”
People fear the other and for the future. Consequently, many now follow those who have built their power on disempowerment, on this fear and mistrust.
Fearful feelings are compounded by so many of the contradictions in our political and economic realities – from unfair commercial and trade relations to extremely unfair access to resources.
It may look as if these dark forces are about to take over power also in our part of the world. But the truth is they have been around everywhere and all the time. They just now appear at our front door and in our back gardens.
Let’s look out of our front door and into our back gardens now. Not to escape, because there is none. But to share what we can grow together. It will continue to be about good food and farming. About our soils and seeds, our biodiversity, animal welfare and access to land.
We will have to make the most of the good local and regional examples we see, matching them with our policy debates, with the future of Europe and with global peace.
The challenge is creating something really, genuinely new. After CAP. Beyond factory farming. Without unfair trade. And towards a peaceful, resilient and humane society. Looking for cracks where the light comes in.”True happiness comes from the joy of deeds well done.” With your support we are looking forward to 2017.
Your ARC2020 Team.