We’ve spent the last few weeks discussing and writing our TEDx talk, finding the best way to tell our story of discovery, connection and, above all, hope and I don’t want to give anything anyway before the talk in April, but the message we want to share with you cannot wait seven weeks, especially with this virus and the effects it’s having on society at the forefront of our minds. We all need to hear it now.
What if I told you that, on our journey, we have come across something pretty incredible, something that is revolutionising the future of our society and spreading throughout our country just as fast as the Coronavirus is, but infecting us with hope instead? What we’ve discovered is that our value system as a nation is shifting monumentally, and continues to shift a little more with every ordinary person who sees the need for change in their community and stands up and makes a difference.
Starting when we’re children and continuing throughout our entire lives, we are taught to pursue materialism, but are now coming to realise that material things are not what make us happy. Possessions can so easily become worthless, whilst human connection is strong and runs deep. If we invest in our communities now, it doesn’t matter how much we earn or how well we did at school or how big our house is any more because life becomes about caring and not counting and a value system based on community excludes no one.
My generation don’t have a ton of hope for the future – our planet is being destroyed, knife crime and violence are on the rise, it’s unlikely we’ll ever be able to afford to own our own homes, we’re in the midst of a mental health crisis and now there’s this virus to contend with too, but putting our energy into our communities gives us something we can all believe in and contribute to, as well as a support network of people who care. If the value system changes now, whilst we’re young, and we grow up caring about the people around us instead of feeling lost and resentful , the future we will go on to create looks a whole lot brighter.
We all have a choice when it comes to how we personally deal with the Coronavirus and other issues our society faces – we can become fearful, distrustful, insular and self centred or we can pull together. I recently saw on the news that there has been an outbreak of the virus in the town of Buckie in North East Scotland, but if there’s anyone who will pull together when they’re struggling, it’s them, as we spent some time there on our journey and the strength of their community spirit blew us away. I have no doubt that they’ll get through this – together, as a community.
It’s like, amongst the chaos, all these shoots of hope are springing up everywhere, not just naturally but because they have been deliberately planted by people who see the desperate need to make a difference. But why now? Maybe it’s like new growth after a fire that destroys everything. Maybe it’s just the right time for change.These shoots are the beginning of a new value system and when they connect at the root they are what stops our society becoming an unsurvivable and hostile desert.
We’re not sure of how everything will pan out, but it might turn out that we have to stay at the farm where we live for awhile instead of going off travelling as we planned. We’ve ordered a load of food so if we wanted to we could just hole ourselves up, but we have a whole community around us as well so, if the whole situation with the Coronavirus goes downhill, we plan to grow food, cook for people, create a space where everyone’s welcome and use it as an opportunity to bring our community closer together. Have you ever heard the story of stone soup? Individually they had nothing, the odd carrot here, some salt and pepper there, but together they created a hearty meal that fed them all and kept them going.
The change is happening, people. Are you in or are you out?