#5.1 In Your Practice or Organisation: Truth-telling

This step is all about reviewing your practice or organisation, looking back to the past, assessing where you are now, and looking to the future plans that you have in place.

Find more about the emergency here.

boat oil sinking
Gayle Chong Kwan, Crysanthi South Africa 2019, Oil Spill Islands (series), 2021

Looking back to the past, assessing where you are now, and looking to the future will help you to build an overview of your process, practice and plans through time. Do they need to change? This task will guide you to:

  • Look back into history on your contribution to harm, or how you have been affected
  • Review your current practices, strengths and weaknesses
  • Looking ahead, what resources can you draw on, and consider the potential impact of plans for the future.
An image of Johannes-Harm Hovinga sat at a desk, holepunching a colourful sheet of the printed IPCC report, with a large pile remaining.
An Elephant In The Room (2022) by Johannes-Harm Hovinga / Photo: Carlijn Stortelder

TASK:

Audit by looking to the past, present and future

Step-by-step review

A: Bring together a team from across the organisation, including external stakeholders.

B: Where have we come from? 

  • How have our activities over time since our origins contributed to the Earth crisis? Consider the extraction of nature; exploitation of people; or historic Greenhouse Gas emissions. This might include previous forms of your organisation, or the legacy of its founders, or what you as an individual have been privileged to achieve because of access to resources. 
  • What is our responsibility? Consider the rights of affected peoples, future generations and more-than-human beings in this. It might be that you or your organisation are more affected, so that your responsibility is to be raising awareness and calling for reparations. 

C: What are we doing now?  

  • Gather evidence of what you’re doing already:
    • What are we doing well on? 
    • What are our capacities, in terms of people, your skills and knowledge in-house and in your networks?
    • Where are we weak in terms of our sustainable practices and adaptation to impacts? 
  • Try to consider the urgency, scale and multi-layered nature of the crisis, and don’t only use carbon emissions as a measurable proxy for effective action. 

D: Where are we going?

  • What are the main resources we can use to make changes? Bear in mind that environmental actions can save money too. What money, expertise and time can we put towards this, and what can we salvage or reuse? 
  • What scale of change is manageable and suitable for our organisation, given our historic contribution to harm?

RESOURCES FOR THIS TASK

  • You could use an Ecological Footprint tool to get a rough idea of where you are causing most emissions and ecological harm. 
  • You could use the Doughnut Economics model to assess your duties and responsibilities for ensuring that people’s needs are met within the limits of the planet. 
  • If you haven’t done so, ensure a shared understanding of the Earth crisis, outlined in Stage One.

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