Social Tipping Points

Global Tipping Points is a climate research project led by Professor Tim Lenton from the University of Exeter’s Global Systems Institute.  The Global Tipping Points Report was launched during COP28. This report expands our understanding about the interdependence of social systems and Earth-systems. A social tipping point could impact an Earth-systems tipping point. More specifically, the report identifies anomie as a negative social tipping point. Let me pull out some key points from the report.

What are tipping points? When an earth-system tipping point occurs, an earth-system system becomes self-perpetuating beyond a threshold, leading to substantial, widespread,  frequently abrupt and often irreversible impact (Lenton et al., 2023).

What is a social tipping point?  According to Spaiser et al (2023), it refers to “a critical thresholds in a social system at which a small change can trigger a significant and often irreversible phase transition in the social system because of self-amplifying, non-linear feedback(s) within the social system. Social tipping points can be both positive (beneficial to humans) and negative. Anomie is identified as a social tipping point that could exacerbate the risk of earth-system tipping points (Spaiser et al, 2023).  

What is anomie?  The concept of anomie was theorized by Durkheim (1893), who describes anomie as the breakdown of norms and social order, that manifests in suicide patterns. Spaiser et al (2023 ) define anomie as a state of a society or community that is characterised by a breakdown of social norms, social ties and social reality, resulting in social disorder and disconnection manifesting as mental health deterioration, increased suicide rates, and/or increased deviant behaviour.

The term environmental anomie refers to the disorientation of a society or community after sudden changes to landscapes from a severe weather event. Some people may experience loss of capacity to comprehend and function in their environment. There is evidence that anomic experiences are affecting young people and children, contributing to a mental health crisis.

You can read the report at this link: Next week I will write about the emerging field of Climate Psychology and its contribution to therapeutic interventions for climate despair and anxiety.

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Doctor of Philosophy

Yesterday I completed my six-year learning journey with University of Alberta and obtained the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. I am proud to provide a link to my dissertation titled “Indigenous Conditions for Cultural Continuity: Designing Local Climate Change Adaptations in the Pluriverse” Today I started rebuilding this website to reflect my learnings and my areas of specializations: climate justice, local climate change adaptations, matricultures, and climate literacy. I will also post more of my published work on my academic site:

Photo credit: Shaun Thompson, taken Nov 22 at sailboat beach in Pinawa.

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Poem to Sedna

As sojourners, we are like shamans diving

into an icy underworld

to make right our relationship with the Mother.

We plead with Her on behalf of our people, but she is angry

that her people break taboos by taking more than they need.

We comb her tangled hair until it flows free of the plastic greed

that wrapped our factory food. Her pain eases, but

still she does not release the animals

until we promise to feast her with country foods.

We return to our people to prepare a Sedna feast

with food shared from her bounty,

we tell the ancient stories again, and

when the song of the throat singers ends in laughter, we hear

the Mother laughing with us as she releases the animals.

After nine months, Sedna babies are born. Our people flourish.

Sedna. Mother of the Sea. Regeneratrix.

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Poem to Persephone

As sojourners, we languish in the underworld

of a eurogenic Dark Age

waiting for the arrival of new Life – a new beginning.

Waiting, we walk the winter garden

where last-year’s leaves

quietly compost beneath blankets of snow

renewing soil for Oak and her daughters

whose roots are like tentacles clinging to

this ancient granite mountain that is their homeland.

Waiting, we greet fire-scarred poplars standing upright

this final winter of their leafed lives

tenderly nursing spruce seedlings at their roots

in the slow spiral of forest regeneration.

Waiting, we walk the labyrinth

Where brown peat composts ancient forests that stood

aeons ago before the last glacier melted and

before Hades stole the Mother Right.

How long must we wait for the Mother’s resurgence?

Persephone, Chthonic Queen of Compost, Regeneratrix.

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Poem to Mother Earth

As Sojourners on the spiral of time

We wait for the Mother to gestate

seeds planted before the cold of this long winter

this chaotic Dark Age that seems to have no end.

We are natals waiting for the world to give birth

to its next future Being.

Soon it will be time to call for the midwives

to bring to light

a new Life

the new

the unique

the unexpected.

We are eager to celebrate the event of natality

Mother Earth. First Ancestor. Regeneratrix.

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Self-isolating during the COVID-19 Pandemic

I am not finding it easy to be self-isolation. When I returned from New Mexico on March 16th, the self-isolation was a requirement upon returning from travel to US. Now it is not forced, but the public health order requires that I have a good reason for leaving my home. Yesterday the loneliness had me in tears. Today I want to think of each day as a door, and to explore what is on the other side.

This is one of the doors to the Koln Cathedral, a masterpiece of monumental Gothic architecture. This doorway is encouraging me to think big. Paradigm shifts take decades, even centuries, and its okay for me to dream that big. I wish every person in the world would take today to think their biggest ideas – to imagine flourishing – to yearn for peace – to write a song that inspires a generation.

So today I will imagine myself walking through this portal into one of the world’s greatest cathedrals. Just because.

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It is April 5, 2020 and my website has been dormant for over 2 years while I completed course requirements for my doctoral program at University of Alberta. Now as we shift paradigms due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I return to refresh this website with the learnings of the past 2 years. There will be a fresh design as well as simpler navigation. Most of the content you currently see will be in the background someplace. The journey may be bumpy at first as I reacquaint myself with the functions on WordPress.

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Matricultures presentation at CGCER

This week-end I made a presentation about Matricultures and Climate Change Porosity at the CGCER conference in Edmonton.  I am grateful for many inquiries and for support.

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Mythology, Women & Society: Growing the Groundswell

Symposium sponsored by the Association for the Study of Women and Mythology

March 25, 2017.  Unable to attend in person, I will make my presentation via Skype.

Indigenous Matricultures in North America

Presentation  by Irene Friesen Wolfstone


My purpose is to shift the focus of feminist scholars from european matricultures to the indigenous matricultures of Turtle Island.  Matriculture refers to cultural traditions that value the maternal, in its literal and metaphoric meanings, and elevate mothering for its creative contribution to cultural continuity (Passman, 1993).  Heidi Goettner-Abendroth (2013), leading theorist of matriarchal studies, posits that “maternal values as ethical principles pervade all areas of a matriarchal society,” creating an attitude of care-taking, nurturing, and peacemaking in a cultural paradigm that is much broader than anthropology’s concepts of matrilineal kinship and matrilocality. Rematriation (Muthien, 2011) is the contemporary movement by indigenous cultures to reclaim and reconstruct their matricultures – a movement that follows from the deconstruction of patriarchy and colonialism.

Matriculture is embedded in indigenous language and cosmology; the English language may not be adequate to express nuanced meanings.  Terms such as goddess, god, deity, religion, matriarchy, marriage and property are relevant to discussion of european matricultures; however, they are not a good fit for discussions related to decolonizing the indigenous matricultures of North America.  I draw on the Inuit cosmology of sila and the ‘indweller’, Sedna, to illustrate this point.

As feminist scholars, we need to create deep alliances with indigenous sisters, learn their languages, study the ancient symbols embedded in their textiles and pottery.  As we observe their struggle to rematriate, we wonder if the settler culture, too, has the adaptive capacity to reclaim matriculture as a climate change adaptation to ensure cultural continuity.

Links:   Inuit Ritual of Reciprocity

Women and the Global Imagination: Reimagining the Myth of Sedna by Hila Ratzabi, posted on Prairie Schooner on Tue, 02/24/2015 

Selected bibliography

Haarmann, H. (2007).  Foundations of culture: knowledge-construction, belief systems and worldview in their dynamic interplay. Frankfurt, Berlin, New York: Peter Lang.

Leduc, T. B. (2010). Climate research, interdisciplinarity and the spirit of multi-scalar thought. Religion and dangerous environmental change: Transdisciplinary perspectives on the ethics of climate and sustainability, 2, 119-144.

Leduc, Timothy (2010). Climate Culture Change. Univ. Ottawa Press.

Leduc. T. (2007). Sila dialogues on climate change: Inuit wisdom for a cross-cultural interdisciplinarity. Climatic Change, 85, 237-250.

Stott, J. C. (1990). In search of Sedna: Children’s versions of a major Inuit myth. Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, 15(4), 199-201.

Thursby, J. (2011). Sedna: Underwater Goddess of the Arctic Sea.  In P.Monaghan (Ed.), Goddesses in world culture volume 3. (pp.193-204). ABC-CLIO


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Great Mother Garden

Terra Mandala Meditation Garden has morphed into The Great Mother Garden.

Labyrinth - looking east

Labyrinth – looking east

You are welcome to book a garden tour in before August 2o.   I prefer individuals or small groups of 2-5.   Allow 1 hour.

IMAGE7_Mary (2)


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