Georgia Wingfield-Hayes is a storyteller, writer and speaker who is endlessly fascinated with how we relate to the more-than-human world and she writes and performs around this central theme.
She has been a gardener all her life, a vocation that has been vital link with the natural world. Through her career she has been involved with the realms of organic farming, human nutrition, human psychology, nature conservation and rewilding. She studied Environmental Biology as an undergraduate, work as a wildlife guide in Costa Rica for 4 years, and has post graduate studies in sustainability leadership at IFLAS.
Most recently guided by Bill Plotkin of the Animas Valley Institute in Colorado, Georgia undertook a ‘year-long soul journey – exploring leadership and artistry in a time of global change’. This year of conscious severance from mainstream culture, spending much time lost in nature and in the wilds of underworld consciousness, has brought the threads of Georgia’s life together in the form of storytelling.
“We are the stories we tell ourselves” Shekhar Karpur. Georgia, through her studies with IFLAS, has come to understand that facts rarely change the minds of humans, but stories, because they move us emotionally and can speak to our soul self and therefore have the power to create great change. It is her belief that scientists, through their dispassionate discourse around topics like climate change have not only failed to engage the public, but have lead the public into the darkness of disavowal – a state of deep denial where thing that are too difficult to deal are parked in a conscious blindspot so that we can still cope with everyday life.
Stories might be the most important tool at our disposal to create change. No less because they help us understand where we have come from, something Georgia feels is essential for us to figure out where we might want to go. Stories are the basis of culture, colonialists knew that the easiest way to undermine or destroy an indigenous culture was by removing those who held the stories of their people. We in the “west” lost our oral tradition long long ago, but storytelling is enjoying something of a revival, maybe because we live in times where we need them more than ever.