CAT Stories – Ro Randall: regeneration and renewal

CAT Stories – Ro Randall: regeneration and renewal


Home » CAT Stories – Ro Randall: regeneration and renewal

Recently we caught up with Ro Randall, a psychotherapist who has been active in the climate movement since 2005, to chat about her relationship and links with CAT over the years.

Ro Randall is co-founder of the Carbon Conversations project, a founding member of the Climate Psychology Alliance, and currently works with her local group, Cambridge Climate Therapists.

I first came to CAT in 1984. I was helping deliver a course on co-operative ways of working and Pete Raine, who was director at the time, walked me through the tunnel into the old quarry. It was nothing but grey, bare slate, and it was eerily silent: no birds, no rustling wind amongst leaves, no crack of twigs underfoot. Our voices echoed off the rock.

The Llwyngwern Quarry site before its transformation

‘Come back in thirty years,’ he said, ‘and all this will be green.’ He pointed out the first, tentative signs of growth – a lichen establishing here, a tiny tree struggling to establish itself in a crack of rock – the signs of life that I had missed.

I found it hard to believe, but of course I did come back. Recently, exploring the Quarry Trail, I looked down through the abundance of leaves and trees, watched the kites soaring overhead, and thought about his confidence that desolation could be recovered from.

The Llwyngwern Quarry site now

In moments of despair and exhaustion, when leadership has been lacking, and our voices have been ignored, it’s easy to imagine that we have no power, to feel that we can have no effect, and see nothing but isolation. In the aftermath of COP26, with all the anger and disappointment that is flowing through the environmental movement, I’m reminded of Pete Raine’s confidence, his faith in change, renewal, and growth, and how important this is. CAT is one of the places that, for me, embodies that confidence in change.

In my own work with Cambridge Climate Therapists, we are working on ways of supporting our local community in the difficult times we find ourselves in: listening to the fear and despair, finding the points of growth, nurturing the collective actions that are needed. CAT is one of the big strong trees in the eco-system of the environmental movement and I remain grateful for its shelter, its connections, its persistence, and its inspiration.

Ro Randall delivered a CAT webinar and wrote a guest blog on coping with the climate crisis. You can watch a recording of the webinar here and read the blog here. If you’ve got a CAT story you’d like to share with us, please get in touch media@cat.org.uk.

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