Let’s Imagine a ‘New Normal’ with South Belfast EcoQuaker Group

Let’s Imagine a ‘New Normal’! This was the title for an online discussion set up and organised by South Belfast EcoQuaker group as part of the Imagine Belfast festival in late March.

Since September 2020, several members of the South Belfast EcoQuaker Group have been organising and hosting a series of civic conversations related to the challenges of the ecological and climatic emergencies. These ‘EcoQuaker Conversations’ have brought together citizens from within and beyond communities of Quakers across the island of Ireland and beyond.

The gatherings have been an expression of a shared commitment to values such as simplicity, stewardship, equity and peace – commitment that requires serious engagement with complex and difficult issues and wise action, individually and collectively.

The intention is that the conversations are both educative and helpful to the search for ways to enact constructive responses for the common good. Let’s Imagine a ‘New Normal’! was an opportunity to explore and share aspirations for an alternative to ‘getting back to normal’ post-pandemic.

They explored what a ‘new normal’ should look like. The Covid-19 pandemic has shone a light on the inadequacies of the status quo – economically, ecologically, politically… This is not the normal that we need to get back to! So …what should a ‘new normal’ be like? Are there aspirations for a better normal that we share and can articulate? And what does this mean for our ways of being and doing? This conversational seminar explored answers to these questions.

The session was hosted and facilitated by members of the South Belfast EcoQuaker Group. It included short provocations from several creative citizens and closing reflections from John Barry, Professor of Green Political Economy at QUB. (https://imaginebelfast.com/events/lets-imagine-a-new-normal/).

South Belfast Quakers also hosted an online discussion event on Wednesday 7th April as part of Irish Quakers annual conference (IYM) on the theme ‘The Climate Emergency: what does our commitment to social justice require of us?’. There are 3 speakers speaking from a global, community/local and individual perspectives and there will be discussion opportunities in between. We will be hoping to ask and find answers to the question: ‘To what extent do we as Quakers sign up to social justice as a core value, and how can we put this into practice at all levels in connection with the current global climate emergency?’