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Message posted on 15/04/2021

'The Earth Stories Collection' : Introducing an incredible project, with an invitation to collaborate

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Today I would like to introduce a project and invite you all to collaborate.

I have recently started collaborating with Dr Grian A. Cutanda & Marta Ventura on The Earth Stories Collection : https://theearthstoriescollection.org/en/home/

The Earth Stories Collection is a repository of myths, legends, fables and folktales from across the globe. Inspired by the Svalbard Global Seed Vault (Norway), this cultural seed bank works under the basis of Creative Commons, and aims to create an accessible platform for education and social programs world wide.

The key component of this project is its relation to the Earth Charter : https://earthcharter.org/ A grassroots document of environmental principles, that fosters an ecocentric world view. Where the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights focuses on an anthropocentric value system, the Earth Charter attempts to incorporate an ecologic acknowledgement of the rights of non-human, in the context of interspecies dependence.

For me, what is most significant about this project is its ethos. Every one working (often tirelessly) on this project is volunteer, with all of the funds covering overheads and any profits being donated to the United Nation’s University of Peace in Costa Rica.

And more pertinently, The Earth Stories Collection comes from the marriage of academia, activism and a rhetoric of CARE.

I know many academics will avoid the forecasts that Climate Change equates the collapse of humanity, but whether we call it the anthropocene, the 6th Great Extinction, a damaged planet (Tsing et al. 2017) or the Climate Crisis, the reality is, we are living through harsh times. And we as academics working in these cross-cultural frontiers, have the ability to help our collaborators and research participants to form deeper levels of solidarity in these confronting times.

And so with this invitation today, I contact (visual) anthropologists, linguists and oral historians, who work with communities who want their stories to be shared with others, in the context of fostering social and environmental justice.

By its nature, creating the accessibility of these stories is inherently important to develop and comply with the de-colonial principles of ownership. And so I understand such an invitation is layered and requires consideration. But as a network, I ask each of you if you would be interested and willing, to offer this platform for further solidarity and CARE amongst the many cultures and communities within our ethnosphere.

Furthermore, currently the collection is accessible in Spanish and English. And I know that the team at the ‘Avalon Project’ (the key NGO working on this collection) would love to push forward with this collection also hosting the beautiful variables of multi-linguistic collections.

Lastly, one aspect that I am sure many of you will most particularly appreciate, is the partnering project called the Earth Story Tellers. By its nature, the majority of these myths and stories within the collection come from Oral Cultures. And the Earth Storytellers is an initiative that brings these stories to life, in celebration of storytelling practices.

So… with this email comes the invitation to collaborate in several aspects :

  • With (y)our respective communities in which we collaborate, consider sharing an ecocentric story for all humanity
  • With (y)our respective communities in which we collaborate, create a visual or audible piece that brings these stories to life
  • Use this incredible collection to try and foster global solidarity with your collaborating communities or within the classroom
  • Collaborate with the Earth Storytellers and bring the collection to life
  • And indeed the option to DONATE, with every dollar, euro or pound used ever so wisely…

Amongst our network, we are doing amazing work. But let it not be in vain. Let it not stay in the classroom. How precious and fragile life is… we all know it, or are slowly learning such a truth. And I can only hope that collectively we can help facilitate more solidarity and dialogue in these strange old times…

For more information, don’t hesitate to email me, or contact : info@avalonproject.org

I hope this email finds each of you well. And I am sending light, love and CARE to all of you.

Personally, I have been overwhelmed and confronted with a state of grief, panic and eco-anxiety… but there’s hope. There's always hope. It just comes with the small steps of connecting (the dots).

My best to you all, and I sincerely hope you will consider this invitation.

As my dear friend and inspiration Grian A. Cutanda often says, “in love & rage”,

Yours,

Blake Paul Kendall +49) 0151 2902 3216 blakekendall@hotmail.com
Sydney / Sarawak & Berlin www.lifeinabrokensystem.com


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