August 23, 2021

Find Your Ethical Boo 👻

"If we can organise this in four weeks, imagine what can be done with more time, with more people, with more energy."

So said Lauren Uba, the founder of Climate Action Community Berlin, an organisation which aims to provide a space for people to come together and share feelings about climate change.

I joined CAC shortly after moving to Berlin in November 2020, having met Lauren on a long lockdown walk around the city. The experience was transformative for me. Trapped inside through a cold Prussian winter, the weekly meetings were a lifeline as I tried to process the isolation I was experiencing in a new city.

Lauren Uba speaking at the closing of Find Your Ethical Boo.

People First

Her ethos is to start with people. Connect them, provide them with a space to grow and learn, and henceforth the activity and energy will emerge. The organisation's motto is "learning, being, and doing together". I particularly resonated with this. My happiest experiences in my film career have been those in which I have felt most bonded to the people I was working with.

The word collaboration can sometimes become a buzzword thrown around by those who veil hidden motives for coercion or authoritative command, but when it is truly felt, it feels easy. Decentralised leadership, egoless discussion, and empowerment of all within the group; real collaboration is joyful, focused, and supportive.

It is with this spirit that we entered into our most recent event: Find Your Ethical Boo. Aimed at connecting local organisations with those who would like to give some time volunteering, we pulled from every talent base within the organisation. Somebody designed a website, another did graphic design, and more of us worked on marketing, organisation outreach, and designing the layout of the event space.

After initial nerves, we attracted twelve organisations, and over a hundred interested people. Throughout the entirety of the four hour event, the atmosphere buzzed with energy as people connected.

So I return to Lauren's declaration: "If we can organise this in four weeks, imagine what can be done with more time, with more people, with more energy."

This organisation is a testament to what a group of committed, likeminded people can do when they focus and congregate around a central goal, with leadership that is caring and accepting of those who are present.

I recently listened to an interview with Sarah Schulman, a key member of Act Up, the activist organisation that helped change AIDS legislation in the US. In the interview, she was asked what message she would like people to take away about her. She answered thus:

I want people to understand that individuals do not make change. It’s the collective, and that the way change happens [is] through a coalition. And in order to be in coalition with people who are different, you need to practice the kind of radical democracy that’s rooted in a creativity of thought and action so that people can respond from a place that makes sense to them. They’re not forced into homogeneity, and that we stand together when we can and have as much simultaneity of response as possible.

This is the way Lauren thinks about Climate Action Community, and if you're thinking of starting something similar, maybe this will inspire you a little.

If you're in Berlin, or outside, you can find Climate Action Community on Instagram, on Telegram or via our Website.

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I write this perched on the fourth floor of an improbably slim restaurant in the La Candelaria area of Bogotá, Colombia’s capital and largest city. On my plate is Calentado, made up of beans, rice, onion, plenty of sausage, and a big fried egg.

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