#8 Pause to reflect: explore your feelings, personal ethics and shared principles

Learning about the Earth Crisis and the many possible impacts and solutions can be exhausting. You will need time to digest and respond. You could do this alone, or in informal peer-to-peer pairs and groups.

Mid-performance shot of multiple people on a stage
BalletLORNET / Photo: Luke Waddington


What will be our guiding principles?

Having some shared guiding principles can be very motivating and connecting. Guiding Principles should GUIDE: 

  • Guilding: give you a sense of direction
  • Useful: help you make decisions when in a new context
  • Inspirational: inspire new action
  • Developmental: can evolve with time and practice 
  • Evaluable: help you know if you acting based on your principles. 

Below are some suggested principles to talk through as you pause and reflect. 


  • See the resources in the Care-taking (relationship with communities) section. For example, use the Letters to the Earth resources to enable colleagues to express feelings and connect with the living planet in trouble. You can reflect on the Culture Takes Action framework together to discuss how to progress over time towards a longer-term and bigger-picture approach. Make a copy of the printable canvas here, and write notes in the grey boxes.
  • Below are the principles agreed by the collective in Climate Museum UK. Use this as an example set to create your own. What will you add or subtract? How do you express the principles behind your activities? See the canvas version for your notes


Or..sensitive, empathetic, nurturing, and reparative.

We must support people to talk about feelings and experiences as the crisis affects everything. Our work can support people to increase care for each other, and to avoid shame and judgement around environmental issues. Cultivating empathy can help people work towards justice for people and the more-than-human world. 


Or…thinking big, expanding, joining up, and making connections.

Everything we do affects and is affected by the health of our planet. The Earth crisis means the systems of the living planet are threatened and some are collapsing due to industrial and agricultural activities. All business, civic and cultural activities now need to contribute to sustaining life on this planet, as all humans and other species have rights to exist in health and freedom.


Or…justice-aware, trauma-sensitive, and understanding the factors of disadvantage.

There are overlapping and interdependent factors that create disadvantages and discrimination for people, reducing their capacities to change their lives or take action. However, people with experiences including displacement, poverty, disability, neurodiversity, racism, exclusion or violence have valuable skills, knowledge and framings to contribute. The changes needed are systemic and deep, to benefit everyone in our human and more-than-human communities.


Or…precautionary, preparing for risks, and looking forward with active hope.

We must look into the future and plan for a changing world, both by facing troubling realities and imagining better ways to live. It is difficult to predict how the Earth crisis will affect us in future, but it is certain that it will continue to worsen. The limits of several of Earth’s systems have been breached, meaning that our communities and organisations will be affected by shortages or service pressures in energy, food, health, housing and transport. Many have already been affected by environmental harm, including a global pandemic and climate displacement, and more will continue to struggle into the future.


Or…sustainable, zero-harm, planet-friendly, nature-kind, and Earth-kind.

All our activities should contribute directly or indirectly to reducing the causes and impacts of the Earth crisis, by minimising our ecological footprint, restoring the natural world, stopping harm of extractive industries and upholding the rights of other species.  

audience experiencing an art installation
SWAY by Solange Leon. Exhibited at ONCA, Brighton.

Continue working through the guide

Culture Takes Action: Tools for an Emergency Response


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