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Our Philosophy:

Awe as a Power-for-Good in the World

 

Life.
What an extraordinary thing it is! 

Considering the harshness of space and the chances stacked against us1, it’s no small miracle that after 13.7 billion years we’re here at all; multicellular, thinking, feeling, walking, breathing, sensing, reflective human beings – inextricably linked to the cosmos2alive on a beautiful and fragile Living Planet suspended in space, amidst the backdrop of infinity3. This is our reality.

It’s an easy thing to forget.

Caught up in the stories of our cultural conditioning; the myths of progress and growth4 and the illusion of our separation from nature,5 whilst spending more time indoors6 and on screens7 than ever – we human beings are suffering a sense of disconnection from ourselves, each other8 and the world around us.

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And we’re seeing unprecedented knock-on effects.

Widespread detrimental symptoms are showing up in our health, society and natural ecosystems. In the face of this social, economic and ecological unraveling – it’s time to challenge our dominant narratives and reductionist worldview.

Now more than ever before, we need to remember and reconnect to the sense that we are part of something bigger – this Earth we call home – and to cultivate a more planetary perspective9.

We believe this kind of urgent behavioral change and shift in cultural worldview comes not only from a cognitive understanding of the issues we face, but also from a real, embodied, felt experience of our interrelatedness. And what better, more beautiful way could there be than experiencing…

“Do we want to be remembered as the generation that saved the banks but let the biosphere collapse?”

– George Monbiot, journalist

“Limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”

– Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly… We aren’t going to have peace on Earth until we recognise this basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality.”

– Martin Luther King Jr., civil rights activist

The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for the destruction of our race.” 

Rachel Carson, conservationist

“Improving human-nature relationships through personal outdoor experiences is not only possible, it’s profoundly rewarding.”

– David Key, Ecopsychologist

…the transformative power of AWE.

Awe is amazing.10 This universally human emotion is experienced in every culture around the world, regardless of boundaries or beliefs.11 The emerging research is showing that experiences of awe have the power to positively impact our health and wellbeing, our sense of social connection and relationship to the world around us.12 The self-transcendent nature of awe as an emotion helps us to feel respect and reverence for the larger whole.

Both in the research and our experience, the natural world has shown time and again to be the key elicitor of awe. And it makes sense – when we cultivate a connection to the natural world around us we tap in to the wider web of life that we are all part of – reminding us of how extraordinary the interrelated nature of our existence really is.

An antidote for the times we’re living in.

So especially now, in these times of complex and converging crises – awe is a RADICAL act. It offers one of the most meaningful and essential antidotes to the challenges and change we face, and helps give us the perspective and resilience to enable and accelerate the movement towards a more regenerative future.

“Awe is the lightning bolt that marks in memory those moments when the doors of perception are cleansed and we see with startling clarity what is truly important in life.”

– David N. Elkins, Psychologist

“No one will protect what they don’t care about, and no one will care about what they have never experienced.”

– David Attenborough

At it’s heart, Living Alive is one part of an emerging global movement of individuals and organisations13; filmakers14, artists15, neuroscientists, activists,16 charities, educators, philosophers17, journalists,18 healthcare professionals, social entrepreneurs, changemakers, businesses19 and even astronauts20. Each in our own way we’re all working towards redressing a more balanced relationship with ourselves, one another and the Earth.

We believe that creating opportunities for people to experience awe, a planetary perspective and a sense of belonging in the natural world, provides one of the most direct, accessible and inspiring ways to catalyse positive social and ecological behaviour change; for the benefit of both people and planet.

“There is a great opportunity here. Ecology, rewilding, nature connection – call it what you will. It is the most radical, subversive and beautiful chance.”

Dan Crockett, writer

“We see global warming not as an inevitability, but as an invitation to build, innovate and effect change, a pathway that awakens creativity, compassion and genius. This is not a liberal agenda, nor is it a conservative one. This is a human agenda.”

Paul Hawken, environmentalist

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