100% RENEWABLE is Possible
THE ART OF MIDWIFING A NEW LIVING MYTH
WORTH STANDING FOR
By Magalie Bonneau-Marcil
November 13th, 10:45pm, Paris. It’s been five days since I left San Francisco to join artist John Quigley on a quest to bring to life a massive public aerial art ritual. Our intention is to rekindle the world’s soul, unify community across borders, and offer a women’s perspective on addressing climate change. Suddenly, the sound of ambulances is whistling down the streets and continues throughout the night. My phone is flooded with texts and Facebook messages checking in to see if I’m safe. Terror attacks have struck Paris like a massive lightning bolt. I’m left feeling startled, confused and deeply concerned about what’s happening on our planet.
Given the nature of what just happened, it becomes quickly apparent that the terror attacks and the UN Climate Talks we have come for are linked and part of the larger story that I’m here to amplify. While I walk around the city, I feel people’s broken hearts open. Affected by the ripples of the tragedy, we are seeking a home to ground within and together, and turn towards the light. Angst, confusion, care, grief and a fear for security is running in the collective field like an under current. People feel more relational and inquisitive than usual. Given the State of Emergency, the French authorities ban all public demonstrations, putting our project on hold indefinitely. The timing of this restriction is deeply unfortunate, as public ritual and myth making can have its highest transformative impact in such poignant context. For the next three weeks, faith, persistence and deep listening guide me as I hold the possibility that our creation will take place. The vision of thousands of people unifying together, held by a shared embodied life-affirming perspective, becomes my north star.
48h to catalyze a miracle
Friday December 4th, 4:00pm, Paris. A letter from the Mayor's office land in my mail box, late Friday afternoon: we have permission to host our event! The news land like a miracle given the fact that 95% of the public events were canceled. We have only two days to pull off what we had previously given ourselves a month to roll out. After a powerful outreach call to our partners, 350 people answer the last minute invitation. International activists, families, climate leaders, artists and indigenous leaders from all over the world are thrilled to declare that 100% Renewable is possible! Joy, excitement, creative chaos and a sense of shared purpose are in the air. Making this giant peace / solar symbol becomes an exciting community mission where everyone is empowered to cooperate in the making of the human aerial art.
Turning community members into heroes
Sunday, December 6th, 2:30pm. As participants are slowly trickling in on site, aerial artist John Quigley and photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand come down from the 52m crane, clearly thrilled and focused. The sky suddenly begins to clear up, the lighting is perfect. It’s time to invite everyone to find his or her unique place in this large formation, mindfully laid out with chestnuts like a giant labyrinth. One challenge: we need more (a lot more) participants to meet our mission, and the time is short. With his charismatic empowering voice, John Q invites participants to “be heroes” and gather up those passing by. Within moments we have just enough people to cover the whole surface in ways that looks stunning. The ‘100% Renewable’ meme is imprinted on Paris earth and soon ripples out into the world consciousness at large.
Wisdom keepers from the Mayan and the Winnemem Wintu tribes open and close the ritual with the sound of drums and strong prayers, invoking the divinity of the elements. A strong healing field is created, allowing those present to connect deeper within and to the story of our time; one that connects us with everything. Many later shared a collective experience of remembering what it means to be human and part of a larger eco-system.
As the ritual comes to an end, grassroots women climate leaders from five continents offer their voice as a source of inspiration and guidance. Their presence is strong and their message clear: It’s time that we become aware of our interconnectedness and take full responsibility for our environmental and social impact on the land and communities. To survive, we must draw upon indigenous wisdom and enable greater self-determination across all communities, including those most affected by climate change.
Within 24 hours, our iconic image is seen by tens of millions worldwide, invoking inspiration and a new sense of possibility. The global community feels ripe to embrace a vision of the new dawn. We feel liberated by the act of joining hearts and intention. Those who show up were present on behalf of millions, honoring both the pain experienced from the attacks and a system that is out of balance, we hold in our hearts the clear direction of those called to sustain, nourish and thrive as a global family.
The art of midwifing a partnership society
I believe that the signature of a strong international climate agreement, although essential, is not enough. After 5000 years of domination, control and divisive ways of relating to life, nature and society, the patriarchal model is ready for a paradigm shift. In the name of “progress”, I believe we have lost touch with the very essence of life: we are nature. The great promise of wealth, institutionalized religion and power has separated many of us from relating consciously to life’s great mystery, and from receiving life’s infinite beauty.
Reconciling our identity with our true nature is a big existential task. Combining this with our ability to catalyze a world that’s a reflection of the whole is the most profound, transformative and exciting collective adventure of our lifetime. There is no whole without the sum of all of its parts. The success of this shift in consciousness, embodied in action, is bound to a collective liberation that is emerging from within. I feel It happening and believe that this shift is not only necessary to ensure the survival of future generations, but an invitation into a new world that’s rich in authentic connections, resourcefulness, ingenuity, nourishment, serendipity, cooperation and uplifting the spirit.
Calling in the lovers & musicians...
Climate Change is challenging, risky, and frightening. On the flip side, it’s a remarkable propeller for catalyzing innovations and accelerating a spiritual awakening everywhere. I see each of us part of a global orchestra made of lovers, dreamers and music makers, here to midwife a new living myth for our time - a myth that is bold, irresistible, connected, compelling, and calls for each of us to put our best foot forward. Our new creation story embraces community as the next Buddha, as Thich Nhat Hanh would say. It’s time for humans to fall in love with the source that makes us who we are and share that love. In our myth, we call upon the earth steward that exists within each of us to awaken, to sing again, to feel fully alive and come home in our bodies.
The Aerial Art we catalyzed in Paris was an attempt to convene the musicians and lovers of the world. By opening this ritual, each one could soften a little and remember our sacred part in this emerging living myth. As we a shared a field of grief, love for life, fear, hope for a sustainable future, disillusionment and courage, something new, authentic and sacred was born. The safe space created allowed the community to witness itself in its beauty and power. After a month of devotion, I left feeling how much rituals - ones that unify humanity and connect us with our ecosystems - are essential and deeply needed. My experience has illuminated the profound yearning of community to gather in life-affirming ways, collectively create beauty that has meaning and eager to accept the invitation.
While few will have the opportunity to join an aerial art ritual, digital media allows millions to experience its activating power which is phenomenal. The viral nature of our iconic image became a positive signal pulsing throughout the world, expressing how ready we are to be a part of something extraordinary worth standing for.
Magalie Bonneau co-produced the Aerial Art event under Dancing Without Borders, a production company that stands at the intersection of spirituality, participatory art for the common good and transformational media. DancingWithoutBorders.org