Keynsham Voice January column: Dreaming of a better future

Is a crisis of imagination the reason that the world isn’t progressing far or fast enough in our goals to tackle mass extinction and climate change?

Organisations like Extinction Rebellion and the School Strikes are trying to jolt people into taking the emergency seriously and creating new and exciting ways to take action. A few thinkers, academics and journalists are beginning to argue that our failure to respond to climate change is a “crisis of culture” (novelist Amitav Ghosh) and that “political failure is, in essence, a failure of imagination.” (George Monbiot).

Transition Town founder Rob Hopkins has written a book that examines this idea. In it he explores ways we can unleash our imagination and dare to dream about a different way of thinking and doing in relation to how we live in the world.

Rob starts with outdoor play. He says that our children are so rarely outside that they’re disconnected to nature, and he explores great examples of how people and organisations are helping get them get them into fresh air and thinking creatively (something I’d love to get my teens to do more of!). Then he looks at how the devastating effects of poverty are so detrimental to our mental and physical health. He believes that creativity and play can help heal us and gives us examples of how people are already doing this.

Then he explores how our deep connection with nature has been eroded, and how that makes us all poorer in terms of our imagination. Finally, he talks about storytelling, something we’ve been doing for millennia, and that we are arguably losing the art of. Oral storytelling stimulates areas of our brain that feed the imagination and help us think creatively. If we all tell positive stories about how we can overcome climate change and the threats to our species, then we can dare to believe in a better outcome for the future of our own species.

Transition Keynsham is delighted to host Rob Hopkins at The Space in Keynsham at 7pm on January 7th to talk about his book and explore how we can all stimulate our imaginations and be healthier and happier. You can book in the usual way online via KeynshamTickets ( I hope to see you there for some positive dreaming!

Published in Keynsham Voice, January 2020,

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