Celebrating commitment to the territory of life: Questions for a grassroots discussion

A celebration can highlight what the community has achieved and what it wishes to further achieve, generating pride and new energy and visibly expressing the collective commitment to conserve a territory of life. Celebrations are crucial to place shared memories, self-awareness and unity at the centre of community life.

…what do we wish to celebrate, and why?

  • Should our shared vision and commitment to the territory of life be marked by a ceremony or other event with the participation of the community at large?
  • What would be the desired, positive results of that celebration? Would there be any potential problems with holding a celebration? If potential problems exist, what can we do to counteract them?
  • What type of event would be appropriate – e.g., a traditional ceremony, possibly including spiritual elements? A ‘modern’ event with speeches and signatures? A mix of approaches? An elaborate event with various elements (food and drinks, songs, dances, art displays, fair of natural products from the territory of life, etc.)?
  • What terms shall we use to refer to our territory of life and our custodian community? Do we have a specific name for the territory, already discussed and broadly agreed by the community at large that could be re-affirmed and widely used? (See also #Act&Communicate)
  • How shall we organise the celebration to make sure we reach the desired results? For instance, should we share information or a statement on our vision of the desired future? Should we share a statement of our self-recognition as custodians, e.g. the pledge, charter or principles and criteria we have agreed? If so, who should pronounce such statements – e.g. community elders, youth, the governing body of the territory of life? Should we include in the programme a discussion of any official document that recognises our community as custodian of the territory?

…how do we organise the celebration?

  • If we hold a celebration, when should it take place? Should it coincide with a market fair or holiday? Should we celebrate after a collective walk in the territory, as done in many traditional cultures? If so, which season and period would work best?
  • Should everyone in the community be engaged? What role should elders play? Youth?  Women?  Men?  Children?
  • Who should organise the ceremony? Can a few people volunteer to be in charge?
  • Who should support it (e.g. with time, funding, food, drinks, music or other contributions)?

There is no ‘best moment’: A celebration at a time of enhanced threats or new opportunity can re-affirm the community vision and generate energy for action. A celebration that takes place after forming a concrete action plan to reach the shared vision that has been agreed upon can kindle willingness to engage and act (see also #Act&Communicate)