How to take action for the planet? Love is a skill, not a feeling

© 2020 Elaine France. Spring before lockdown.

“…love is a skill, not a feeling, and will require trust, vulnerability, generosity…” writes Alain de Botton, which means loving the planet is also a skill not a feeling, requiring the same trust, vulnerability and generosity.

As love sits at the heart of empathy, which triggers the cycle of invention and innovation, then I believe that there is hope for solutions which are unashamedly planet-centred, which by default makes them people-centred.

In cultivating the conditions for radical and immediate change, there is a profound step in understanding to be taken by each of us.

If you agree that you are made of energy, then you understand that Nature is living its purpose through you, making you inextricably and beautifully interdependent with this ‘self-organising Universe’ as Joanna Macy calls it.

Its rhythms are your rhythms.

You are a million moving parts, surrounded by an incalculable number of other moving parts. The very essence of its energy is refracted through the unique blend of you, unprecedented you.

I think that is the stuff of wonder.

I also think that means you can stop worrying about your life purpose being something outside of you that you must seek; instead it is simply opening up from the inside to your imagination, problem-solving creativity and ideas.

Your skills are the prism through which Nature’s exquisite problem-solving can take place across the whole system which you are part of.

I think it’s hard to do systems thinking though, when you are dreaming up your ideas for taking action, if you still don’t understand that you are part of the ecological system. And we have viewed ourselves as separate, so we haven’t done it.

It seems to me that we are the only species on the planet, despite our intellect, which at some point stopped joining up the dots about what happens to what we create, where is goes, how it reintegrates itself. If you see yourself as outside of the natural system, you don’t create things with a view to completing the circle to trigger it to self-organise.

Time to start! With great urgency! I don’t believe innovation is innovation these days unless it’s being designed with protection of people and planet in mind.

To come back to love then, because it opens up your greatest capacity to dream, create, innovate. I’ve called it on other occasions the Tao of Innovation, but I’ve think it is more accurate to call it the Tao of Impact instead, this ‘how things happen.’

Exploring this ‘how’ means starting from the positive impact you want to create and reverse engineering from there. You are immediately in a space of reciprocity with the planet, bound by trust, vulnerability, generosity, for best solutions; meaning that you will go a long way to aligning your ideas to be regenerative.

And what of hope?

Well, I believe, if love is a skill and therefore love for the planet is too, then there is cause for great hope; because skills can be remembered, learned, re-learned and expand as prisms for planetary problem-solving.

With a bit of Springsteen in mind, “All you gotta do is say yes…”

Originally published at



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