One lesson of the past year is that it’s only by working together that we can get through a crisis. At NextGreen, we enjoy working with the dialogue method, as given to us by the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber.
For Buber, equality is an essential basis for productive cooperation. Dialogue is a key concept for him. In a dialogue, speaking and listening are in balance with each other and attention is focused on perspectives and responses. Through this interaction, the dialogue partners can connect to their deeper sources. Hidden wisdom can be discovered by speaking and listening together. Through the interaction and the process of searching for answers together, creativity is released and new insights can emerge that we can build on. The dialogue therefore becomes greater than just the sum of its parts.
The dialogue method helped us to come up with a clear visual story around Finance and climate adaptation. And in our sessions with financial institutions, too, it led to some wonderful insights on the best way to structure information on the approaches to measuring biodiversity that are currently available.
Listening – deep and active listening – also invites people to listen to their own words. Dialogue brings us an awareness of our interdependence: together we can get further than we could alone. An insight that is discovered collectively, will often also be supported collectively during implementation.
When it comes to finding solutions for sustainability, we depend on collectiveness. The connectedness between people, and between people and our planet are at the basis of this. Addressing sustainability issues goes hand in hand with the realization that the future of humanity and the future of the Earth are tightly interwoven. Climate change and the loss of biodiversity are the most dramatic and urgent pieces of evidence for this.
Martin Buber once said:
I have nothing to teach; I simply show people something. I show them reality, I show them an aspect of reality; I show them something they have not seen or not appreciated.
I take people who are prepared to listen to me by the hand and I lead them to the window.
I open the window and I point outside.
I have nothing to teach; I simply start a dialogue.
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