#2 Grasp the Scope of an Emergency Response

The severity and complexity of the emergency requires a bigger response than you might think. We aim to help you ‘open the envelope’ on environmental plans. 

Three people look focussed and captivated surrounding a small sculpture of a tree, lit from underneath
Slingsby. Photo: Andy Rasheed @ eyefood photography

Typical policies focus on ‘sustainability’, usually framed as lightening the footprint while sustaining your normal work and assets. The emergency response process in this toolkit is more than a risk analysis or a sustainability plan.

  • It encourages careful thought about the intersecting impacts of the emergency and actions we might take, rather than rushing to simple actions, common with emergency responses.
  • It goes well beyond sustainability towards resilience and regeneration. A regenerative approach is all about dedicating your mission and actions to help regenerate social capacities, bioregional ecosystems and Earth’s operating systems. 
An infographic showing the envelope of environmental plans. The image reads "Typical plans focus on climate (displayed on the opening tab of a closed envelope) and mitigation (the rest of the closed envelope), but we must open the envelope of environmental plans. The envelop opens to reveal four sections: Climate, Adaptation, Nature and Mitigation, with "truth, care & action" at it's core. Inforgraphic created by Bridget McKenzie

The process in this toolkit expands from typical sustainability plans to include:

  • Biodiversity and the wider aspects of climate change, not just carbon emissions
  • Adaptation and resilience, not just actions to mitigate climate change
  • Consideration of ethics and responsibilities, not just technical actions.
painted face submerged in oil on a dark background
Photo courtesy of XR


What does it mean to go bigger?

Consider the implications of this expanded approach:

  • Do we agree with it?
  • Do we have what we need to pursue this? 
  • What support can we call upon from others? 
  • Given that funding and other resources are tight, how can this approach help rather than detract from our work?


Scan the whole toolkit to get a good sense of what is involved. 

Consider the kinds of questions you will need to discuss with colleagues, such as: 

  • What are our different beliefs and experiences about the truths and impacts of the emergency?
  • Who is not being heard? 

  • What are our different beliefs How do we support workers and communities as the impacts unfold and we assess our responsibilities? 
  • How do we extend care to the more-than-human community?*
  • How do we anticipate and manage the unfolding risks?

  • Should we be doing what we’ve always done? 
  • Should we reinvent ourselves to have more impact? 
  • How do we build it into our governance and development plans? 

*‘More-than-human’ refers to the wider societies of different beings who are co-dwelling in the biosphere, including and surpassing human societies.

Continue working through the guide

Culture Takes Action: Tools for an Emergency Response


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