Unaware (Unconscious) Violence and Seeds of In-action. Deep Live Gathering 2022 in Montenegro.
Thanks to the Deep Adaptation Forum and Igor Polsky personally I participated in the Deep Live Gathering 2022 event in Montenegro (the whole report on the international level of the gathering is compiled by Igor and posted here).
It was part of a bigger event series conducted both offline and online worldwide. Deep Adaptation Forum is a global community, where members share the vision of Jem Bendell’s independent research/report on climate change that the current generations will face all the civilization collapse and it will be huge disasters. Though members of the forum try to cope with this vision by psychologically supporting each other. Honestly, I’m still sceptical about the Forum and the report, as they have ‘adaptation’ in their naming, but both don’t list or even discuss any actions related to adaptation (at least I couldn’t find it).
But it’s a theory, in practice, it was the beginning of October and a coincidence (or unseen tissue of happenings) that I participated in. The reason to come to Igor’s place — School-Garden in Susanj village (close to the town of Bar) was the open workshop for kids and parents about dolphin research. Igor Polsky is a co-founder and headmaster of this school and pays attention to extra-curriculum activities.
It was made by volunteers (university students) from DMAD — Marine Mammals Research Association an NGO registered in Turkey and working in Montenegro as part of the Montenegro Sighting Network. It was an interactive story about dolphins and how people observe them to prevent harmful human activities in the sea.
While attending the event I stuck a bit at Igor’s home and decided to join the deep live gathering also with the motivation to meet people whose initiatives I deeply adore:
- Pavel Luksha (change catalyst, and facilitator; founder of Global Education Futures), came in person;
- and Goran Tomka and Višnja Kisić — a couple who works as scientists on the redefinition of how and where art, ecology and politics could come together. They joined via zooms from their countryside house in Serbia.
Here below I describe only a small part of the 4-day gathering.
The Earth Ceremony was planned on Sunday morning in the mountains close to Budva on the spot with the hundreds of years old olive trees. To minimize my logistics I’ve come to the spot on Saturday evening to sleep all night at this place (with my mat and sleeping bag). It was already dark, but all my path and on the spot itself it was electrical lights. Though it was convenient to arrive, but not very comfortable to sleep because of the lamps. No other people were there, and silence was around. Before fell asleep I remembered the effect known when some flying insects are attracted by artificial lights. Quite often it means death for them, they get eaten by predators or overheat.
In the morning, when all the participants gathered, we sat in a circle and shared what appeared in our minds.
Before doing that Igor told us that at the end of the process it’s good to leave in the place something of beauty, so actually, the discussion started with what this thing could be — material, immaterial and what is beauty. That discussion was interrupted a bit by a 3 years old girl who was here with her parents. She unintentionally dropped a small plastic bottle of sweet yoghurt, so we experienced its atomic-pink unnatural colour on the ground and its artificially strong smell in the air. The girl was upset and cried out loud. We noticed that this yoghurt incident showed us that actually, we bring with us to the natural places our industrial-made stuff that makes more disbalance than harmony.
As we get back to sharing what we were thinking at the moment, I shared a question that has appeared in my mind:
‘What if these electrical lights around the world, created by people for people's convenience for the sake of luxury to live against sun cycles (that some parts of the human race have only just about 100–150 years) are one of the reasons why the amount of insects is significantly going down year by year?
This ‘insects apocalypse’ was almost missed by mainstream scientific institutions and got noticed by the German entomological society. Light pollution is a known term. Although usually, it refers to human health in relation that it disturbs normal sleep conditions. But I have not heard about any discussion on how light pollution works for other living beings. So we are not aware that just electrical lights at the night are about making genocide. This is an example of how we use technology for our convenience (even when we actually don’t need it) and it tells a story of unaware, unreasonable violence that is just out of our scope.
As a response to my reflections, Igor said that a radically light tram he saw in Moscow night a year and a half ago was one of the triggers that guided him to the decision to move from Russia to a smaller country, where such trams would be just impossible. And here were are in Montenegro now.
After finishing sharing circle participants walked around the spot, while some of them including me gathered as a small unplanned ad-hoc workshop about the history of Montenegro.
To do something useful, to stop something unreasonable.
On the next day, it was a pre-evaluation zoom about the whole Deep Live Gathering moderated by Pavel Luksha. He and Johnathan Kabat, who is involved in Ecosystem Restoration camps mentioned that it’s still better to have a vision that Deep Adaptation Forum suppose to make a reality. This discussion we’ve continued offline and Igor shared his essay written a year ago ‘The Two Wheels of a Chariot’ where he pointed out that, (in case I’ve got his point) if we feel as a part of the wholeness, we can’t just observe, we need to act. But to see clearly what, how and when to do — there is a need for a calm and clear mind. Though I would suggest the first thing on the action list is to get into this state. I’m not sure that I know how to proceed with it and that I can do it, but what I’ve found that works for me (as years of practice) is to exclude from an action list those activities that used to be normal or almost mandatory in society, but in the end, do not have significant importance for me
Stopping doing these I’ve got much more time for myself to get less busy and to get in calmness more often, as well the decision of not doing something brought me into different lifestyles and places. Here are some from my experience. Surely, it’s my personal choice (and it’s quite a funny list) I don’t have any right to recommend anything from it:
- Don’t buy water in plastic bottles. I look for alternatives.
- Don’t drink coffee and any industrial produce teas. I like the taste of good clean water
- Don’t eat in restaurants. I buy food mostly on green markets.
- Don’t buy fresh air. I stopped to live in cities, where you have to buy a ticket or gas to get to the countryside.
- I follow the sunlight and use less electrical light.
- Don’t watch videos and films regularly (I watch 2–3 films per year). I listen to real people.
- Switch off my video translation in Zoom and most of the time only listen, not watch zooms.
- Don’t cut hair. In my case, it saves money, time and attention.
- Don’t have pets. Since early childhood, I have sense, that I don’t have any right to own another living being.
- Don’t buy new clothes, repair go to second-hands.
And maybe after clearing these action and attention ‘spaces’ there could be enough time and space to see global and local processes in a much clearer way. Though then small groups could organise regular revision and rethinking gatherings/’wake-up seminars’ to find what actions are reasonable to do and to which directions focus attention and energy.
This is my second experience joining an ecology-related event in the Balkans. The first one happened in July, I described it as Reflections on Summer School on Environmental Activism and Climate Change. 2022 Novi Sad, Serbia.