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Posted - 12/08/2015
Reflections on ITP Grant Partner Gathering: by Reinhard Hohlwein
reinhard.jpgReinhard Hohlwein is an environmental scientist and consultant.
At the fall Invoking the Pause retreat in Sonoma, I had the great privilege and pleasure of being in the company of a group of exceptional and dedicated people who are bringing their creative best to the great challenge of our time. Being at the Westerbeke Ranch for the retreat was both invigorating and essential, because if you care about human response to the challenges of climate change, you not only want, but need to be in a place like this with people who are passionate, motivated, creative, still learning, still students.

Proposing solutions and then taking action on the issues that surround climate change will take a balanced approach that will come not only from pragmatic strategies but will require significant input from our creative capacities as well. This effort is a great deal more complex than we may realize as it represents a deep challenge to our neural safety net as well as to our continued collective well-being.  Yet we can and must evolve our individual and collective responses.

One of the challenges of being both a teacher and a leader is to encourage positive discussion and constructive criticism.  Through a process of mutual engagement the partners accessed clarity and continued to shape their responses to the challenge.

Creating such an environment takes a unique vision. And this is what Maggie Kaplan is doing– she has demonstrated the leadership to initiate the ITP process, and she possesses the wisdom to guide it gently, allowing the participants to engage with each other in extended and meaningful interchanges, and to further facilitate the emergence of a diverse and vital network dedicated to crafting viable solutions to the climate crisis.

By enabling a collective "pause" in our routines, Maggie provided a relaxed setting to allow the partners to challenge and encourage each other to develop humane responses to the enormous challenges of anthropogenic climate disruption.

Although I participated in the gathering ostensibly as an “outside ally” in fact it was clear throughout that I am a colleague embedded within a growing community of passionate and dedicated people.

Being part of the ITP retreat stimulated an enhanced perspective about the content, direction and viability of the projects that I am involved with.  The vitality of the gathering enabled the partners to gain new insights to further energize their own work knowing that great collaborative potential exists both in the setting offered by ITP as well as in expanding networks and partnerships facilitated by the ITP family.