A New Story – Black Mountains College

Claire Gardner, Network Coordinator at Be the Earth, shares her experience of, “A New Story – Imagine, Transform, Adapt” –  a 3-Day retreat at Black Mountains College. Keep scrolling to find out more.

My experience at the retreat was wholesome to say the least!

We got to explore conversations around our current climate challenges whilst holding space for all of the human emotions that come with that. I find that many people around the world today are experiencing more and more anxiety about the future, with climate news hitting us everyday, and most of it invoking a sense of powerlessness and worry. It was refreshing to reframe the conversation and share openly with others about how much this way of thinking has been impacting us all, and questioning how productive that really is in creating the future that we want to see.

Ben, Chief Executive at BMC and co-facilitator of the retreat, shared his story with us one night. A story of travel, politics, nature and eventually surrender. It was inspiring to hear about his drive to change the world, to have some sort of impact on those around him and how that drive eventually led him to surrendering into recognising that our best really is good enough. I think there’s many of us out there who want to change the world. We are fuelled by the painful things that we are exposed to every day and the reality of the deterioration of our planet. Yet what I, and many others at the retreat realised, is that it’s okay for what we are doing to be good enough. At the end of the day, it’s all we really can do.

We can do our best to change our own habits.

We can do our best to influence those around us.

We can do our best to try to restructure companies from the inside out to be more in alignment with what’s good for the Earth.

We can our best to think about the impact of our choices each and every day.


We can do our best. And that is enough.


My other main take away from the retreat was the realisation that still, humans are arguing against each other without listening to the one that lives beneath our feet.

What does the Earth ask for?

What does the Earth need?

What does the Earth want?


We got quiet and listened. Letting the mind rest for a while, thoughts subsiding and logical ideas of what we should all do fell to the wayside. We listening to the Earth and we shared with each other what we heard. We heard to unite. To come together just as we were on this retreat and to be real with each other. To continue to live whilst we have the opportunity to live, and to do our best as we continue to live. For what is living if we are in a constant state of fear, worry and anxiety about what the future holds?


I left the retreat with a sense of “what is done, is done”. We cannot undo it. But I can do my best moving forward. And I can do my best to continue enjoying my life as I do it. That is what I CAN do.


Thank you to Black Mountains College for hosting us all and bringing together so many amazing minds. It was a really wonderful experience that I would definitely recommend others to attend. I felt so welcome in a group of strangers that didn’t know each other, from all ages and backgrounds, and from all different sectors. We experienced unity over one thing, the Earth that we all live upon.

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