At its basic level, this project offers a way for individuals to grieve the destruction of local ecosystems in a way that is meaningful for them. At a larger level, this project opens up possibilities to explore the role and potential of collective grieving as a means of raising awareness and sparking emotional responses to the issues of habitat destruction and climate change in our community.

This project is not a protest, nor is it means for blaming, finger-pointing or assigning guilt. This project does not aim to create or amplify “us vs. them” divisions in our community. Participation in this project is open to everyone, without fear of judgment or blame. We are all affected by the destruction of local habitat and climate change, and we are all entitled to express our grief.

Why grief?

We live in a time of unprecedented resource depletion, climate change and species extinction.

Some people respond to this crisis by pretending that there is nothing that can be done and that the best course of action is to continue on with business as usual. Others respond to the crisis with apocalyptic thinking that can lead to overwhelming feelings of powerlessness and despair. More often than not, this leads to burnout, apathy or other forms of engagement that are unhealthy or unproductive.

A growing number of people are choosing a path between apathy and anger. People who choose this path are fully alive to the severity of the problems that confront life on Earth, but are also aware that anger and bitterness seldom result in positive and productive change.

Healthy grieving is an important psychological aspect of committing to healthy, long-term and productive engagement with the issues at hand. As people open to the flow of their emotional experience, including despair, sadness, guilt, fury or fear we build inner resilience and create solidarity with others in our community who also care deeply about the Earth and its inhabitants.

The purpose of this project is to make visible the personal and collective grief experienced by residents of Surrey as we witness the destruction of the natural habitat around us. We hope that by doing so we will foster personal resilience and healthier and more effective community collaboration.

This project was inspired by Joanna Macy and “The Work That Reconnects