Life on Earth is in crisis: we have entered a period of abrupt climate breakdown, and we are in the midst of a mass extinction of our own making. In Australia, we’re experiencing the worst drought in living memory; ecosystems untouched by fire for centuries have been devastated by blazes; our coral reef is dying; our biodiversity is at breaking point. Yet our Government remains unwilling to respond.
We have a moral duty to rebel, whatever our politics – and philosophers have an important to role to play in this rebellion.
The Spring Rebellion is a global, sustained, peaceful protest for climate action, beginning on 7 October. In Melbourne, a week-long period of festive and disruptive action is planned throughout the city, with a base camp in Carlton Gardens. The Spring Rebellion is organised by Extinction Rebellion, a decentralised movement that aims to minimise the risk of social and ecological collapse by seeking unprecedented action on the climate and ecological emergency. You can read about Extinction Rebellion’s demands and principles at https://ausrebellion.earth/
We invite philosophers to join us at Carlton Gardens on Friday 11 October and/or Saturday 12 October to take part in, or to facilitate, small-group philosophical enquiries with members of the wider community. With your help, we can establish reflective spaces in the Carlton Gardens where we and our fellow citizens can think together about our place in the natural world, and explore the beliefs and values underlying our responses to the climate and ecological crisis.
We are intending to run a morning session (10:00am – 11:45am) and an afternoon session (3:00pm – 4:45pm) on both the Friday and the Saturday. During each session, we anticipate a number of philosophical enquiry groups running in parallel (depending on demand), with a facilitator being allocated to each group of up to 12 participants. A choice of engaging stimulus materials and suggested discussion questions suitable for adult participants have been prepared by The Philosophy Club and will be offered to facilitators in advance of the event, together with a guide to recommended facilitation strategies (if desired).
If you would like to participate in an enquiry, please come along to Carlton Gardens (Regenerative Culture space) in time for a morning or afternoon session, as described above. Bring your friends and family – everyone is welcome!
If you would like to facilitate an enquiry (or if you have any questions), please email Cullan at email@example.com by 4 October. The facilitator’s role is to establish a congenial atmosphere of collaborative enquiry, and to ask questions of the group where necessary in order to seek clarification, justification, elaboration, agreement and disagreement, counter-argument, etc. Facilitators must have:
- graduate or post-graduate training in philosophy;
- confidence in facilitating philosophical discussions among non-specialists (such as first-year students), without resorting to lecture-style communication;
- the capacity to create a safe, respectful and inclusive atmosphere in which participants feel comfortable expressing a diversity of perspectives;
- a willingness to adopt a position of neutrality with regard to contestable questions under consideration;
- confidence in using respectful questioning to support participants’ collaborative and critical thinking.