SPAIN: Successive local and global crises show the inefficiency of traditional and static hierarchies and push ahead humility as a new type of leadership. Today’s interview with Nacho Garcia Pedraza, Coordinator of Climate Mobilization for Greenpeace, Spain, emphasizes how “here and now” individual activities contribute to eco-social transformation globally. To do that, one does not need to be extraordinary, one needs to be clear-sighted and proactive.
We have organized in five crucial points what we have learned from Nacho Garcia Pedraza that may help you form your global consciousness and act locally.
5 Tips to Start Eco-Social Transition Locally
1. Know yourself. Behave in a way that’s consistent with who you are and always leave room for improvement. Be genuine. Be authentic.
With a background in Aerospace Engineering, since 1999 Nacho dedicates most of his time collaborating as a project manager and activist to sustainable development. Now, this was not a surprise move since he was already a kind of activist in High School, and he also attributes his social proactivity to his parents being teachers “with a very sound common sense and common ground.” Meeting with other social activists in university, job places, and terrain work, also contributed to Nacho’s approach to life as big things start small. In his own words, “since being happy is an engine of life and an inspiration, the only way to achieve happiness is to try to make the world a better place, starting with the closest but having a global vision.”
2. Lead to serve. Be humble on the outside and confident on the inside. Lead by example. Lead from within. Focus on the contributions and needs of others as they also form part of yours.
“We will be facing very critical situations, and how we respond to them will be very related to our collective cultural experience and know-how as a society,” explains Nacho in relationship with the promotion of interdependence and cooperative culture. He continues, “Social change should be based on solving fundamental needs, claiming rights and improvements for the future while satisfying those needs in the present.” Recommending Rebecca Solnit’s book “A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster,” Nacho seeks positive and deep transformations through mindful social work amid crisis and chaos, and looks forwards to “combining resistance and creating alternatives.”
3. Understand your limitations. Analyze your weak points and surround yourself with others who have complementary skills. Seek input from others. Admit that you need the help and insight of others.
Tackling serious topics such as identifying neighborhood effects on social exclusion, Nacho’s community work and militancy on the margins of society got him involved in developing different educational initiatives within vulnerable communities, notably creating Communities of Practice, Learning, and Philosophical Inquiry. He is also the founding partner of the first eco-social housing cooperative with the right of use in Madrid Entrepatios, the cultural and pedagogical association El Arenero, the ecosocial intervention cooperative Garua, and the sustainability and agroecology-focused Tangente Cooperative Group.
4. Inspire trust. Earn, give, and build trust. Be consistent and disciplined in your treatment of others regardless of their position, social status, handicap, other characteristics, role, or title.
Dotted with large doses of tolerance, active and effective listening capacities, and neutral observation attitude, Nacho focuses on relationship building, group dynamics, and horizontal collaboration in complex neighborhoods, diverse workforces, and cross-cultural conglomerates. As he says, “social change is a collective change and hope that ‘others’ will be bigger than what we can control or expect.”
Apart from his terrain work in Spain, his experience as the academic coordinator of the International Institute for Nonviolence (NOVACT) and coordinator of materials for the Observatory to Prevent Extremist Violence (OPEV) has enriched him with local practice in other locations of Europe, Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East.
5. Capitalize on learnings. Create low-risk spaces for people to generate new ideas and take responsibility. Reducing social injustice will help everybody achieve their goals while preserving a world to live in.
“Anyone can be a social change maker, and we need to connect our personal, interpersonal, and global advancements” is the line of action Nacho advises to everyone, not only to social activists. He adds that “creating the conditions and interrelations that contribute to collective ways of confronting problems” reduces time and cost for execution between places, especially zones that are “struggling to reclaim rights.” He also insists that “social policies, social agreements of cooperation, (and) social-political culture” has to rise from the “tyranny of the structures and the dictatorship of flexibility” as each “decision will produce a consequence that is unchangeable.”
Stand Up for What’s Important
By Nacho’s experience in facilitating eco-social negotiations and intercooperation, today is today and tomorrow is uncertain, so tension may always arise between what we should do and what we would like to do. When the group can manage that tension between emotions and tasks, we normally function much more effectively and efficiently. As Nacho relates in the short story “Whose Job Is It, Anyway,” if we think of ourselves as Everyone at the time, nothing will get done, so be Someone and take action.
We are grateful to Nacho Garcia Pedraza for taking the time to speak with Transcontinental Times. To learn more about Nacho, check out his profile on the page of Garua, Spain. To support Greenpeace, Spain, check up the official website and the platform for mobilization of Greenpeace in Spain called Greenwire.