By Ron Kelly
On Friday, July 28, 2017, local Green Party members gathered for a delicious potluck and, afterwards, much food for thought by Comox Valley resident, Kelly Matthews.
Earlier this year, Kelly attended the Global Greens Congress and agreed to share with us some thoughts, feelings, and inspiration he took home from the event. In a passionate, well-prepared talk and slide presentation, he gave us challenging information, well thought-out perspectives, his motivation, and some thoughts on a way forward as we face the challenges of an ecologically stressed world, both locally and globally.
Kelly’s passion for a more aware world was evident as he moved through his talk, outlining the consequences and responsibilities of climate change as highlighted by various predictions about the end of civilization as we know it. (The worst case scenarios talk about human existence ending by 2100 or even 2040, if all the worst case factors were to be realized.)
Although Kelly presented this very sobering possibility, he offered that, in the face of these predictions, we need to go through a process of grieving for the earth and then come out on the other end with a vision, and he reminded us that “if you’re not shooting to be world’s best, then you’re aiming too low.” In other words we’ve got a big challenge ahead of us and we should get real and approach it in a way that can meet the challenge.
Kelly shared with us that in the current transformational moment, the green global movement is change! The 6 principles iterated in the Global Greens Charter fit so well because they are not only politically wise, but they are also grounding and foundational to a global movement which is larger than just politics. (Just as a reminder, the 6 principles are: ecological wisdom, social justice, participatory democracy, nonviolence, sustainability, and respect for diversity.)
Kelly then introduced the concepts of Gaia being a legal entity and of corporations being altruistic. We may build a world that is made up of Gaia arks or agrarian regenerative communities, and the houses within those communities may be regenerative units themselves. Kelly challenged us to move beyond sustainable to regenerative and to use approaches such as the permaculture flower to get there.
Just a few of the things he touched on included Canadian mining in the Dominican Republic, intrinsic vs extrinsic values, common cause communication, compassion, acknowledging the wisdom of indigenous peoples of the world as as custodians of land and resources, connecting west coast greens from Alaska to Mexico, and much more.
In his wrap-up, Kelly talked about needing to figure out who’s who in the zoo as we move forward in reducing our carbon footprint, so our children have a world to inhabit. As we move forward, we need to remember family, friends, community, and fun as we tap into and also help to create the energy that will be needed to avoid the dire predictions we are facing.
His enthusiasm about being at the the Global Greens gathering was infectious …we are so lucky that he went and is interested in sharing his experiences. I’m thinking we might ask Kelly to share with us some further details about his time at the Congress on another evening.
As I sat on my front porch writing this, I was aware my eyes were burning from smoke from the forest fires on the mainland and in Port Alberni, and was reminded of our responsibility to act. Kelly, thank you on behalf of local Greens for your informative and inspirational presentation.
Kelly Matthews is a passionate environmentalist, fighting to leave his 3yr old son a healthy planet. He believes that only a global societal transformation will be enough to change the predicted future of our planet and he is working to create that change. His current occupation is a Search and Rescue Technician (SARTech) with the Canadian Air Force. He has recently decided to remain in uniform with the intent of making significant environmental changes within the Department of National Defence. He is the Environment Officer for 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron and is the Deputy Sustainable Officer for CFB Comox. He is currently enrolled in Royal Roads University (RRU) completing the Graduate Certificate in Community Sustainable Development and has recently been accepted into the Masters in Environment and Management. Through RRU his team is creating a Youth Climate Leadership development program for the City of Victoria. His most recent paper was written on moving beyond a Sustainable Communities to creating a Regenerative Community where-by the process of building houses and the community will have a net positive effect on our eco-system. He is a board member of the Trust for Sustainable Forestry. He believes the Green Party, provincially, federally and internationally is the best political means to help create the transformation required to avoid anthropomorphic ecosystem collapse.