Resilience Review Column – The Power of Telling a Story

Here is Local 20/20’s December column in the Port Townsend Leader  titled “Resilience Review”. (Thank you, PT Leader!) It is copied below, as submitted.

The Power of Telling a Story

By Roarke Jennings

The great thinker David Korten wrote in his book “Changing the Story, Changing the Future” in 2015 that “we humans live by shared cultural stories that serve as the lens through which we view reality. Most important are the sacred stories that give meaning to our lives and frame our shared understanding of what is most important to our well-being:  a new way to see the future and what can be accomplished… Our early ancestors lived by a sacred life and living Earth story and synchronized their lives with the ways and cycles of nature.  Some 5,000 years ago, we began to forget that we belong to Earth. We came to believe that Earth belongs to us.”

Since that time, humans have come a long and have reached heights in technological innovation, food production, and military might largely at the expense of environmental degradation and depletion of Earth’s resources.  So, as we sit now, on the eve of 2018 and consider our global future ahead, how will Port Townsend’s character evolve as the play of the Earth continues?

At the moment, we identify ourselves as “A Victorian Seaport and Artist Community”, but perhaps, it is just the canvas for the future of something much greater.  Many would agree that we take great pride in our maritime history, wooden boat building skills and beautiful waterfront, but the Victorian era also signified a significant shift of thinking and social values that parallel today’s era and our own unique “Artist Community”.  It was during the Victorian period in which there developed a growing resistance to the cold-technological rationalism of the Gregorian period, and an increasing turn towards romanticism and mysticism expressed through art and nature.  Can we tell a story that once again embraces our romantic natural landscapes and carefully examines the rationale of capitalism, technology, and infinite progress?

In this town of inspiring artisans and thinkers, Local 20/20 believes our community could create some great stories of the Quimper Peninsula, past and present. Let’s spend some time to accept and understand the world we are currently living in and imagine the one our children will inherit! Perhaps it can be a world where we can live symbiotically with the environment, feel empowered by rewarding work, and enjoy the social support of our vibrant community.

We hope you’re enjoying the Local 20/20 monthly column and stay tuned as we continue to organize a public, story-telling event through arts and crafts.  In the meantime, if you are feeling inspired, please submit any art and stories to story@local2020.org.

 

Bio: Roarke is a fellow Port Townsend resident and member of the Local 20/20 Steering Council. He cares deeply about local resiliency, food, and collaborating with people to create a better future.

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