Science writer, evolutionary educator, and more-than-human ‘grassroots’ climate activist, Connie Barlow joins Terry to reflect on the heartbreaking journey of accepting our ecological predicament, what it means to be a good ancestor, and how “life stages” open possibilities for a more sacred relationship to climate grief, to death, and to transformation. Ultimately, they fortify each other in their commitments to give more, require less, and be a generous sacrifice to the younger generations who are arriving in a strange world and will need us.
Connie Barlow and her husband Michael Dowd were once full-time itinerant travelers in North America, spreading the good news of inspiring “Great Story” of evolution. Connie is known not just as his mission-partner, but also as a science writer, specializing in evolutionary ecology. Her first two books were published by MIT Press and her final one, The Ghosts of Evolution, led her directly to founding Torreya Guardians, the citizen group that has been moving the Florida Torreya north, an more dedicated work helping native trees move north in advance of the rapidly shifting climate. A new book published this year titled The Journeys of Trees made Connie a major character in its drama because of her rogue leadership in helping the Florida Torreya tree.
Here are some of the questions they explore:
- How can we become ancestors that future generations will appreciate, and how might we help others in our generation to do so too?
- Young people have always had dreams, but climate chaos may be curtailing the dreams of young people — what are the implications of this?
- At later stages of the cycle of life, do we see important new ways to relate to climate grief and transformation? How can elders hold wise ground for those younger?
- In what ways is societal collapse — or a “deep reset” as Connie says — already underway, not just abstractly, but in our own experience?
- What is it to recognize the sacredness of death? Can we be grateful for what death makes room for?
For more information on Connie Barlow and Terry Patten, check out the following resources:
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