All We Can Save | Reflections & Notes

Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson. All We Can Save: Truth, Courage, and Solutions for the Climate Crisis. One World, 2020. (418 pages)

My heart is moved by all I cannot save:
so much has been destroyed

I have to cast my lot with those
who age after age, perversely,

with no extraordinary power,
reconstitute the world.

– Adrienne Rich


In the public discourse on the most important issues of our time, there are cacophonies and there are symphonies. All We Can Save [@allwecansave] is a most beautiful symphony that features a conducting duet, and elevates instruments both ancient and modern. Like a good symphony, @allwecansave is an experience of melodies and harmonies, movements and tensions, and emotions and actions that transcend time and space to elevate our consciousness to another place. That place? A good, just, and flourishing world. And it is this kind of brilliant, feminine, and indigenous imagination that is necessary for the most important challenge in a generation, perhaps in the history of humanity. I cannot recommend this book enough, not just for you to be informed about climate change, but to be moved by the musical power of every sector of humanity.

Though I appreciated every voice, the one that stands out for its incising exhortation was Under the Weather by Ash Sanders [@ashsan82], an explication of a mental health paradigm shift that could transform all of our human philosophies and systems. Ultimately, it is this approach that has the potential of doing the greatest work, because—as has been so eloquently described—the daunting challenge ahead of us is not so much one of technology and innovation, but one of emotion, perspective, worldview, and love. Our environmental challenge is a challenge of our socio-psychologies that govern, well, everything. In other words, we will save ourselves through the stories by which we live.

Last, this is a book of hope. It seeks to leverage what we already know (and has been known for generations in indigenous communities) that can save everything. What it will take to leverage that wisdom, Johnson and Wilkinson summarize well:

If there is one theme that runs through the collection, it is ferocious love–for one another, for Earth, for all beings, for justice, for a life-giving future. Let’s move forward with love, not conquest; humility, not righteousness; generous curiosity, not hardened assumptions. (p.374)

I commend this to you, my friends, the ones who care deeply about the outcomes of our human experiment and wish to add their melodies and harmonies to this grand symphony of salvation.


Begin Ayana Elizabeth Johnson [@ayanaeliza] and Katharine K. Wilkinson [@DrKWilkinson]

cf. “Circumstances Affecting the Heat of Sun’s Rays,” Eunice Newton Foote, August 1856. [Internet Archive]

The same patriarchal power structure that oppresses and exploits girls, women, and nonbinary people (and constricts and contorts boys and men) also wreaks destruction on the natural world. Dominance, supremacy, violence, extraction, egotism, greed, ruthless competition–these hallmarks of patriarchy fuel the climate crisis just as surely as they do inequality, colluding with racism along the way. Patriarchy silences, breeds contempt, fuels destructive capitalism, and plays a zero-sum game. Its harms are chronic, cumulative, and fundamentally planetary. (xviii)

There is a renaissance blooming in the climate movement, and it has a few important characteristics. (xix)

| First, there is a clear focus on making change rather than being in charge. (xix)

Second, there is a commitment to responding to the climate crisis in ways that heal systemic injustices rather than deepen them. … Equity is not secondary to survival, as some suggest; it is survival. (xix)

Third, there is an appreciation for heart-centered, not just head-centered, leadership. (xix)

Fourth, and perhaps most important, there is a recognition that building community is a requisite foundation for building a better world. (xx)

More than a problem of bias, suppressing the climate leadership and participation of women and girls–half the world’s brainpower and change-making might–sets us up for failure. Research shows that women have an edge over men when it comes to the planet: caring about the environment and climate change and acting on that care; aversion to taking on outsized risk or imposing it on others (something data indicates White men are particularly inclined to do). (xx)

We need every solution and every solver. As the saying goes, to change everything, we need everyone. What this moment calls for is a mosaic of voices–the full spectrum of ideas and insights for how we can turn things around. (xxi)

The climate crisis is a leadership crisis. (xxi)

To transform society this decade–the clear task science has set before us–we need transformational leadership. We need feminine and feminist climate leadership, which is wide open to people of any gender. This is where possibility lives–possibility that we can turn away from the brink and move toward a life-giving future for all. (xxi)

This book initially had a dual aim: to shine a light back on them, uplifting the expertise and voices of dozens of diverse women leading on climate in the United States…and to advance a more representative, nuanced, solution-oriented public conversation on the climate crisis. …this book also became a balm and a guide for the immense emotional complexity of knowing and holding what has been done to the world, while bolstering our resolve never to give up on one another or our collective future. (xxii)


A call, a welcoming, a place to ground
The foundation of Indigenous wisdom
And the wisdom of Earth’s living systems
Interconnection, emergence, justice, regeneration


Strategy, participation, public good
Plying tools of legislation and litigation
How we hold the powerful to account
And (re)write the rules with all people in mind


Language and story, creativity and culture
Our means of making sense
To tell the truth–expand, flip, and rekindle it
Imagining, evolving, holding on to our humanity


Problems embedded in the contours
Of cities, transport, infrastructure, capitalism
Coastlines and landscapes where human-nature meet
Much to reconsider, rend, invert, remake


Damn if this work isn’t hard, our task towering
The fire of activism–on the front lines, in the belly
Standing for justice, for health, for the sacred
We don’t have to do this alone


Awake, aware, attuned
Hearts break, souls shake with anxiety
Can’t skip this: struggling, mourning, raging, healing
A ferocious love for the planet we call home


Soil, food, water, sky–inseparable
The foundations of our aliveness
Collaborating with and supporting nature
Microbes, farmers, photosynthesis


Generations–growing, giving, gathering
Nurture community and transformation
For a future that holds us, all of us
This is the work of our lifetimes

This book refuses to dodge how bad things are, yet keeps a forward gaze. Because movement don’t alter history by saying: What if we don’t succeed? … Somethings will never change. … The odds seem really long. … Maybe we’ll never get the right to vote, to marry, to be free. … (xxiv)

Calling In Xiye Bastida [@xiyebastida]

You don’t have to know the details of the science to be part of the solution. (3)

I was raised with the philosophy of my ancestors: that you take care of the Earth because she takes care of you. (4)

People in developed countries and big cities are too comfortable, and nothing changes when we stay in a state of unbotheredness. (5)

We have helped propel the narrative transition from a call for climate action to the necessity of climate justice. (6)

Climate change doesn’t discriminate, but the ability to respond to climate disasters does. (7)

A vibrant, fair, and regenerative future is possible–not when thousands of people do climate justice activism perfectly but when millions of people do the best they can. (7)

Reciprocity Janine Benyus [@JanineBenyus]

…here is what I love about the scientific method. Though culture seeps into science and sometimes holds its finger on the scale, it cannot stop the restless search for measurable truth. Un-American or not, the math has to work. (10)

The more stressful the environment, the more likely you are to see plants working together to ensure mutual survival. (11)

mutualisms–complex exchanges of goodness–are playing out above- and belowground in extraordinary ways. (11)

By recognizing, at last, the ubiquity of sharing and chaperoning, by acknowledging the fact that communal traits are quite natural, we get to see ourselves anew. We can return to our role as nurtures, each a helper among helpers in this planetary story of collaborative healing. (13)

The Big Picture Ellen Bass [@PoetEllenBass]

Indigenous Prophecy and Mother Earth Sherri Mitchell [@sacred411]–Weh’na Ha’mu Kwasset

Because Indigenous peoples didn’t share European ideas about land ownership, we were considered primitive. Because we had no desire to place the sources of our survival (“natural resources”) into the stream of commerce, we were viewed as ignorant. And because our value system was based on relationships and not currency, we were believed to lack the capacity to live “civilized” lives. Ironically, the Indigenous ways of knowing and being that European colonists saw as primitive and uncivilized are now being actively sought out to save our environment and humankind from the brink of extinction. (17)

| Indigenous knowledge is based on millennia-long study of the complex relationships that exist among all systems within creation. It encompasses a broad array of scientific disciplines: ethnobotany, climatology, ecology, biology, archaeology, psychology, sociology, ethnomathematics, and religion. The keepers of Indigenous knowledge carry thousands of years of data on things such as medicinal plant properties, biodiversity, migration patterns, climate changes, astronomical events and quantum physics. They carry the stories of countless epochs of human history, going all the way back to the beginning of human life on Mother Earth. And they provide insights that help fill the gap between our physical and subjective experiences, enabling us to understand how our internal consciousness impacts the ways that we view and experience the world around us. (17)

The challenge for science has always been to see beyond the confines of its inherent bias and to overcome hierarchical, reductionist, and compartmentalized thinking to see the holistic patterns that are present throughout creation. Seeing the world through an Indigenous lens requires one to take a world-centered view that recognizes the relationships that exist among all living systems and the many ways that these systems are constantly moving toward harmony and balance. Unfortunately, a great deal of critical Indigenous knowledge has remained outside the carefully ordered categorization of Western thought, making its holistic concepts difficult to comprehend for those who have been trained to see the world in fractured pieces. It is this fractured view that has been central to the fracturing of our societies and environment. (18)

…since all scientific discovery stands on the shoulders of those who have come before, the field of science itself will have to reconcile its shameful past and revisit the reprehensible displays of racially driven confirmation bias that form its foundations. (19)

We must also recognize that climate change is only one symptom of a larger problem. Human beings have fallen out of alignment with life. (20)

Here in the Northeastern Woodlands, the traditional Wabanaki people adhere to a set of core cultural values that are contained in our sacred way of life, what we call skejinawe bamousawakon. … Central among these teachings is an understanding of the deep interrelatedness of the sacred and the secular. … There is no separation between ceremony and our daily walk in the world. … We acknowledge that the great pull of the universe is a desire to live in harmony with the Creator, which is expressed most effectively in our own lives by living harmoniously with the rest of creation. (20)

For us, time does not exist as separate epochs unfolding in linear fashion, but as one movement unfolding in all directions simultaneously. (21)

The overall lack of diversity within the patriarchal colonial paradigm has had a suffocating impact on creative intelligence and a divisive impact on society. (23)

| Diversity fosters social coherence, creating more stable and harmonious relational networks, which in turn lead to more stable and harmonious societies. Additionally, the more diverse a group or community, the greater the perspectives and innovations that arise and the greater the success rate for all. … The loss of diversity within mainstream systems and structures has left a fracture in our societies that must now be healed, through the purposeful and systematic inclusion of diverse voices, including the voices of the natural world, within the social dialogue. (23)

…kincentric awareness… (24)

Some day the Earth will weep, she will beg for her life, she will cry with tears of blood. you will make a choice, if you will help her or let her die, and when she dies, you too will die. – Oglala Lakota chief John Hollow Horn

When will the mainstream population finally realize that the annihilation of INdigenous peoples is also the annihilation of humankind on Mother Earth? For how can humankind continue to live when the keepers of the umbilical connection to Mother Earth have been destroyed? Who will nurture that connection when we are gone? (28)

Soil and soil are not separate. Neither are wind and spirit, nor water and tears. We are eroding and evolving, at once, like the red rock landscape before me. Our grief is our love. Our love will be our undoing as we quietly disengage from the collective madness of the patriarchal mind that says aggression is the way forward. – Terry Tempest Williams [@TempestWilliams]

A Handful of Dust Kate Marvel [@DrKateMarvel]

Courage is the resolve to do well without the assurance of a happy ending. But even in desperate times, there is a line between brave and foolish. We have to do something. It does not follow that we should simply settle for anything. (33)

The planet is connected to itself in strange and surprising ways, and we still have only a limited understanding of these intricate links. (33)

…the existence of past climate change does not mean we are (33) not responsible for it this time. There have always been gentle and natural death. This does not make murder impossible. (34)

The living Earth is a sum of delicate balances, the culmination of a more-than-four-billion-year history of improbable coincidences and opportunistic alliances. It is this system that humans have perturbed by changing the chemistry of the atmosphere with our excesses of emissions. (34)

We don’t know everything. But we don’t know nothing. Even amid the uncertainty, we can pick out clear threads. We are inevitably sending our children to live on an unfamiliar planet. (35)

November Lynna Odel [@lynnaOdel]

What Is Emergent Strategy? Adrienne Maree Brown

“Emergence is the way complex systems and patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions” [Nick Obolensky] … In the framework of emergence, the whole is a mirror of the parts. Existence is fractal–the health of the cell is the health of the species and the planet. (37)

Emergence is a system that makes use of everything in the interactive process. It’s all data. (38)

Civilization is to groups what intelligence is to individuals. It is a means of combining the intelligence of many to achieve ongoing group adaptation. – Octavia Butler

All that you touch you change / all that you change, changes you. – Octavia Butler

[Janine Beyus] tells of a radical fringe of scientists who are realizing that natural selection isn’t individual but mutual–that species survive only if they learn to be in community. (38)

Many of us have been socialized to understand that constant growth, violent competition, and critical mass are the ways to create change. But emergence shows us that adaptation and evolution depend more upon critical, deep, and authentic connections, a thread that can be tugged for support and resilience. The quality of connection between the nodes in the patterns. | Dare I say love. (38)

On Fire Naomi Klein [@NaomiAKlein]

During normal, nonemergency times, the capacity of the human mind to rationalize, to compartmentalize, and to be distracted easily is an important coping mechanism. All three of these mental tricks help us get through the day. It’s also extremely helpful to look unconsciously to our peers and role models to figure out how to feel and act–those social cues are how we form friendships and build cohesive communities. (40)

| When it comes to rising to the reality of climate breakdown, however, these traits are proving to be our collective undoing. They are reassuring us when we should not be reassured. They are distracting us when we should not be distracted. And they are easing our consciences when our consciences should not be eased. (40)

[re: The Green New Deal] The idea is a simple one: In the process of transforming the infrastructure of our societies at the speed and scale that scientists have called for, humanity has a once-in-a-century chance to fix an economic model that is failing the majority of people on multiple fronts–because the factors that are destroying our planet are also destroying people’s quality of life in many other ways, from wage stagnation to gaping inequalities to crumbling services to the breakdown of any semblance of social cohesion. Challenging these underlying forces is an opportunity to solve several interlocking crises at once. (45)

The painful, even lethal impacts of these practices were impossible to deny; it was simply argued that they were the necessary costs of a system that was creating so much wealth that the benefits would eventually trickle down to improve the lives of nearly everyone on the planet. What has happened instead is that the indifference to life that was expressed in the exploitation of individual workers on factor floors and in the decimation of individual mountains and rivers has trickled up to swallow our entire planet, turning fertile lands into salt flats, beautiful islands into rubble, and draining once vibrant reefs of their life and color. (46)

And even as we insist on naming an emergency as an emergency, we need to constantly guard against this state of emergency becoming a state of exception, in which powerful interests exploit public fear and panic to roll back hard-won rights and steamroll profitable false solutions. (47)

Litigating in a Time of Crisis Abigail Dillen [@Earthjustice]

Watching climate change progress is like living in a dream where running is required but the reflexes are gone. (51)

If you are feeling as alive as you have ever felt, relentlessly anxious, and incapable of being at peace, I am with you. (51)

I reject the lazy fatalism. I look at the unique positioning of the United States–vast resources to address the crisis but apparently unshakable opposition to conceding its existence–and I see White privilege driving both climate denial and the political apathy and disengagement that enable it. (52)

It’s a profound kind of entitlement to believe, despite all evidence to the contrary, that we can go on living as we are. (52)

Unfair as the courts and our laws can be, there is no institution in our society that is more expressly designed to privilege truth over power. (53)

The 1970s absolutely must be the years when America pays its debt to the past by reclaiming the purity of its air, its waters, and our living environment. It is literally now or never. – Richard Nixon [1970]

By the end of 1973, Congress had created the Environmental Protection Agency, reinvented the Clean Air Act, and passed the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and equally essential, the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). (55)

In every successful effort to make change, there is some lucky convergence of circumstances. but in my experience, there is always one essential ingredient: scrappy people who are willing to work backward from goals that seem impossibly ambitious at the start. (57)

To Be of Use Marge Piercy [@MargthePoet]

Beyond Coal Mary Anne Hitt [@maryannehitt]

Coal is simply untenable in the twenty-first century. (62)

cf. Beyond Coal Campaign

As a result of our work, we’re now getting less than a quarter of our electricity from coal in the United States–down from half of our power a decade ago–and we’re on track to meet the call of the world’s climate scientists to phase out coal in the developed world by 2030. (62)

cf. Europe Beyond Coal

We now have a choice between electricity that’s dirty and expensive and electricity that’s clean and cheap, and that’s a no-brainer. In a world where most so-called win-wins are actually trade-offs, this one is as real as it gets. (63)

When you’re hiking a tall mountain, there’s something known as a false summit–a place that looks like the top from below, but once you get there, you see that you still have much farther to climb. That’s how this moment feels to me, like both a summit and an overlook to the next massive climb ahead. (63)

Here are ten of the lessons I’ve learned. (63)

Advocacy–grounded in strategy–is essential. (64)

One of the critical truths I’ve learned: Market forces alone simply won’t retire coal plants. (64)

Yes, market forces and politics absolutely matter, but smart advocacy can deliver even when they are failing us. … We actually hold the reigns of power–we just nee to use them. (64)

Advocates need to understand economics. (65)

…”externalities,”… (65)

Given the rapid pace of innovation and the plummeting price of clean alternatives, much of the fossil fuel industry is skating on surprisingly thin economic ice. That flimsy footing provides ample opportunities for advocates, if we have the means, the know-how, and the wherewithal to seize them. (66)

State and local decisions move the need. (66)

Local pollution motivates action. (67)

Bold and clear goals enable open-source campaigns. (68)

Environmental justice must be central. (68)

We can’t leave people behind. (69)

But the job of designing a fair transition is too big for philanthropy and civil society. …making the transition to clean energy a fair one requires leadership and resources at the level only the federal government can provide–leadership that is long overdue here in the world’s wealthiest nation. (70)

Winning on electricity is foundational and catalytic. (70)

To stop runaway climate change, we have to electrify everything– (70)

We sometimes like to point fingers–What about China? What about India?–but we’re actually all in the same boat: falling short. Bold U.S. leadership is the best contribution we can make to shifting that dynamic. …If we get our own house in order, innovate affordable solutions, and demonstrate that people can enjoy a high quality of life in a decarbonized economy, that will accomplish far more than endless hand-wringing about China and India. Leadership is best shown through action. (71)

Fracked gas is a bridge to nowhere. (71)

Substantial resources deliver substantial results. (72)

Finally, if there’s one overarching message I want to share, this is it: We can do this, and it’s not too late. (73)

Whether we suffer greatly or build together–it is our choice. … We must choose whether this moment will lead us to regression or evolution, authoritarianism or greater democracy, extraction or preservation. Our greatest choice is to move towards a cooperative, collaborative world that aligns with scientific consensus. – Re. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez [@aoc]

Collards Are Just as Good as Kale Heather McTeer Toney [@HeatherMcTeer]

Mainstream America ignores hard-learned lessons from a people who, enslaved and forced to travel across the Atlantic under unimaginable conditions, to work a land they did not know, figured out how to make things thrive and grow using their wisdom of nature and spirit. As we all face a climate crisis that threatens our very existence, the ability of my ancestors to adapt to wholly new environment offers wisdom to embrace. (75)

Community is the lens so often left out of the environmental discussion, but it’s vital for identifying real solutions. (76)

Unbeknownst to (77) some, you can believe in Jesus and accept the reality of climate science at the same time. … We’ve done a disservice to the environmental movement by couching Christianity as dominionism (the idea that God has given us dominion or rulership over the Earth) as opposed to creation care (the understanding that God has charged us with the care and stewardship of creation, and that its prosperity is tied to our own). … The idea of salvation is an idea of freedom that carries with it the sense of responsibility to care for all things, to care for one another better. (78)

For Those Who Would Govern Joy Harjo

The Politics of Policy  Maggie Thomas

Listen to the communities most affected by environmental impacts when crafting policy, because nobody knows better the nuances of our struggles, or the solutions that will lead to a more equitable future, than those affected. (85)

But campaign climate plans and policy proposals cannot just be about renewable-energy technologies and electric cars or government subsidies and taxes; they need to be about people. (86)

We can’t allow climate policy to be about ego and credit; it must be about collaborating, building on one another’s work, and elevating the best ideas we have to solve the biggest problem humanity has ever faced. (87)

cf. the Blue New Deal …regenerative ocean farmer Bren Smith raised the point that the ocean was all but left out of the Green New Deal resolution. (88)

Nearly 40 percent of Americans live in coastal counties, where lives, homes, and infrastructure are at risk. …if we don’t consider the ocean, we miss out on a suite of powerful climate solutions–from offshore wind energy to restoring coastal ecosystems that absorb carbon and help buffer impacts of storms to regenerative ocean farming. (88)

we can embrace climate policy as a living document–an evolving, improving set of ideas. If our planet is built (88) upon fluid systems and cycles, why shouldn’t the policies we put in place to protect it be the same? (89)

 A Green New Deal for All of Us  Rhiana Gunn-Wright [@rgunns]

…the most important part of a policy proposal is not the details–at least not at the beginning. It’s the vision that the policy presents and the story it tells. The best policy proposals–that is, the proposals that move the most people to fight for them–present a clear narrative about what went wrong, why it went wrong, and how the government plans to fix it. (93)

The GND’s five big goals are laid out in “House Resolution 109”: (93)

  1. to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers;
  2. to create millions of good, high-wage jobs and ensure prosperity and economic security for all people of the United States;
  3. to invest in the infrastructure and industry of the United States to sustainably meet the challenges of the 21st century;
  4. to secure clean air and water, climate and community resiliency, healthy food, access to nature, and a sustainable environment;
  5. to promote justice and equity by stopping current, preventing future, and repairing historic oppression of frontline and vulnerable communities, including Indigenous peoples, communities of color, migrant communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth. (94)

If politics is a fight to elect people who reflect and share our values, policy is a fight to actually enact those values–to mold the world, through the work of government, into what we think it should be. (95)

So an insistence on treating policy only as a set of solutions ignores both the reality of policy making and the very aspets of policy that make it such a powerful–and dangerous–tool. (95)

To understand the GND, you have to understand the problems it addresses, the principles that guide it, and how it intends to shift power. (95)

[via: In other words, the clarity of the problem must be commensurate with the efficacy of the solution.]


The GND is designed, first and foremost, to address the climate crisis at the speed, scale, and scope required to prevent catastrophic levels of warming. (95)

The GND emerges from an analysis of the climate crisis that identifies it as a consequence of systems–neoliberalism, strategic racism, unfettered capitalism–and their interaction, rather than simply as a consequence of greenhouse gas emissions. (96)


It is possible that in addressing the climate crisis we will increase inequity. (96)


The vision of power at the heart of the GND is one of redistribution: from private to public, from employer to worker, from the historically advantaged to the historically disadvantaged. (97)

…every economic mobilization in American history has exploited marginalized people. (99)

[via: cf. The Color of Law]

Economies and societies do not exist separately. (101)

The price of national progress cannot be exploitation and systematic oppression–not again, not unless we want to fuel the crisis that we are trying to avert. We move together, or we risk not moving at all. E Pluribus unum, indeed. (102)

How to Talk About Climate Change  Katharine Hayhoe [@KHayhoe]

Our biggest problem isn’t skeptics…it’s that when it comes to supporting climate action, the urgency just isn’t there for many of us. (106)

Why It’s So Urgent

We Need to Find Common Ground

…in the United States today, our opinions on climate change are based on our politics, not our knowledge. (109)

…how critical it is that we begin these discussions with mutual respect and a focus on what genuinely connects us. (109)

She Told Me the Earth Loves Us Anne Haven McDonnell

Truth Be Told  Emily Atkin [@emorwee]

The climate crisis is, in part, a failure to respond to information. (113)

Most people who are interested in climate change just don’t yet have the tools to talk about it confidently. The choir is there. They want to sing. But they don’t know the words. (119)

| My journalism professors taught me our job was to provide those words–to give citizens the information they need to solve society’s most complex problems. (119)

Compassion without anger can become merely sentiment or pity. Knowledge without anger can stagnate into mere cynicism and apathy. Anger improves lucidity, persistence, audacity, and memory. – Jack Newfield

The function of art is to do more than tell it like it is–it’s to imagine what is possible. … Bell Hooks [@bellhooks]

Harnessing Cultural Power  Favianna Rodriguez [@favianna]

Just as ecosystems need biodiversity to thrive, society needs cultural diversity to grow new possibilities. Monoculture deadens our collective potential. (123)

The power of culture lies in the power of story. (123)

Until the lions have their own historians, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter. – Chinua Achebe [@ezegluny]

Becoming a Climate Citizen  Kate Knuth [@kateknuth]

There is, in fact, no certainty that our democracy can handle climate change. However, I’m still convinced our only hope for successfully grappling with this crisis will come from deep investment in the day-to-day work of democracy and, more specifically, citizenship. (130)

Citizenship, at its core, is a sacred trust between the individual and collective. As we face the climate crisis, this trust–and how we understand and act on it–is more critical than ever. (132)

When I claim and allow myself to be claimed by citizenship, I declare that I am inextricably part of my community. (132)

Dead Stars Ada Limón [@adalimon]

Wakanda Doesn’t Have Suburbs  Kendra Pierre-Louis [@KendraWrites]

It’s our ability to cooperate that anthropologists say has allowed humans to survive even the harshest environmental conditions and to fend off predators that could take us out individually. (140)

…we are what we pretend to be, so we must be very careful what we pretned to be. – Kurt Vonnegut

What does it say that spinning a story about humans moving into a radioactive vacuum resonates more strongly with many people than our chances of reducing greenhouse gas emissions? (141)

Studies have shown that suburb dwellers have greater greenhouse gas emissions than their urban counterparts. (142)

Black Panther’s vision of Wakanda rejects the oft-repeated story that we humans and our environment are natural enemies. Instead, it tells a story in which humans have become technologically sophisticated while maintaining a flourishing relationship with their surrounding environment. (142)

…it’s not clear that suburban living, which is associated with increased social isolation, especially for those with longer commutes, is any good for humans. (143)

Heaven or High Water Sarah Miller [@sarahlovescali]

There is always the risk that Mother Nature won’t respect the design specifications. – Jeff Goodell, The Water Will Come

Man on the TV Say  Patricia Smith [@nonconfromist]

A Tale of Three Cities  Jainey K. Bavishi [@jaineytweets]

From a purely scientific stance, the best way to reduce the city’s exposure to flooding was to abandon entire neighborhoods, based on documented risk. From a purely social stance, people needed to return to their homes and communities and argued that adequate levees should be built to protect everyone. (159)

This points to an unsatisfying but important truth: Adaptation is a process, not an outcome. (161)

As cities prepare for climate change, we have the opportunity to build more vibrant communities. (163)

Buildings Designed for Life Amanda Sturgeon [@amanda_sturgeon]

In the United States, 40 percent of energy goes to buildings–to heat, cool, light, cook, and power…

My vision is this: When any building is created, it emerges in response to the unique climate, ecology, culture, and community of its specific location. (166)

Indigenous homes worldwide have long been heated and cooled naturally, using the evaporation of water to cool spaces in desert climates, for example. Traditionally, buildings were an expression of their people and unique to their place. (167)

| The movement to reclaim this way of thinking is called biophilic designphilia meaning “love,” bio meaning “life.” …it is a strategy to reawaken hopeful and positive connections between people and nature. Our buildings shape us; they express and inform our values, cultural beliefs, and economic stature. Because the climate crisis calls for all aspects of our society to transform, our buildings will have to look, feel, and function fundamentally differently too. (167)

It is no surprise that transformations of space precipitate transformations of creativity, healing, and learning too. (168)

| Just one hour in nature has been shown to improve our memory and attention by 20 percent. (168)

Implicit in the choice we make about the built environment is a choice about ourselves: Are people separate from nature, or are we a part of nature? (169)

The Traits Joan Naviyuk Kane

Catalytic Capital Régine Clément [@RegineClement]

The plain truth is that capitalism needs to evolve if humanity is going to survive. – Rose Marcario

Put simply, we are a society overly driven by capital and wealth; many of our values and mindsets are rooted in the desire for money. (171)

The challenge of climate change is perhaps best defined as our challenge to end destructive capitalism. (172)

The failure of the market economy to price so-called externalities, such as the positive impacts of natural ecosystems and the negative impacts of greenhouse gases, should lead us to question the limitations of how we measure financial performance: an individual company’s EBITDA (its earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization are taken into account) and GDP (gross domestic product) to assess broader economic growth, for example. Both metrics lack a holistic perspective, failing to consider externalities and thus rewarding and reinforcing destructive capitalism despite its harms to people and the planet. (174)

Mending the Landscape Kate Orff [@KateOrff]

Habitat fragmentation and toxic pollutants created the biodiversity crisis; sprawling development, which discouraged community life, contributed to a social crisis; and exploding greenhouse gas emissions precipitate the climate crisis. (177)

I’ve learned four lessons from Jamaica Bay,…that can inform our collective gardening and landscape architects’ climate action: visualize the invisible; foster ecosystems as infrastructure; create participatory processes; and scale it up. (178)

Visualize the Invisible

Foster Ecosystems as Infrastructure

Create a Participatory Process

The public needs to be informed and empowered to consider the trade-offs and transitions ahead, and communities must be engaged in codesigning the biodiverse, low-carbon, climate, conscious physical world we want to manifest. …a primary task is to design participatory, educative, and fun processes for community engagement. (181)

This new mode of working–a more public role of organizing communities and choreographing ecological repair–is needed to correct the idea of nature as something that exists outside of human agency. The Earth is both a physical setting and a decision-making commons that must be cultivated. (181)

Scale It Up

We Are Sunrise  Varshini Prakash [@VarshPrakash]

For twice as long as I’ve been alive on this planet we have known about the climate crisis. And for just as long, the wealthy and powerful have knowingly profited off pollution, lied about the science, choked our democracy with their dollars, and stolen our futures. Our generation is living at the crossroads of life or death. (187)

First, People Power–an Active and Vocal Base of Public Support

One key finding is that it takes just 3.5 percent of a population getting active–voting, donating, taking to the streets, talking to their neighbors–for a campaign to win. (189)

We have a ton of passive support for this issue. Now we need to translate more of it into active support: people voting on climate, donating to campaigns, active on social media, signing pledges, calling their elected representatives, feeding and housing organizers, and supporting in other creative ways to reach that critical 3.5 percent. (189)

Second, Political Power–a Critical Mass of Deeply Committed Public Officals

Third, the People’s Alignment–Social, Economic, and Political Forces United Around a Shared Agenda

For so long climate action has been framed as taking something away from people. The GND is about the opposite–providing people with millions of good jobs, reinvigorating our economy, and putting money back in the hands of working people. It’s about alleviating inequality between different groups of people. It’s about ensuring we have clean air and clean water. And it’s about stopping climate change. (191)

| Too often, people talk about the climate crisis like it’s something middle- and working-class people need to bear the financial brunt of, when one hundred fossil fuel producers are the source of more than 70 percent of emissions since 1988. So when we’re talking to people whose wages have stagnated for the last forty years while ever more wealth goes to people at the very top, they’re right in asking, “Why (191) should I pay for this?” (192)

Do your work, then step back. / The only path to serenity. – Tao Te Ching

At the Intersections  Jacqui Patterson [@JacquiPatt]

There is a pandemic of devastating impacts at the intersection between violence against women and climate change. (198)

Issues of injustice are wrapped up in each other, inextricably. (198)


Before, I was merely a theoretical revolutionary. Now I recognize deep in my heart and soul that the only path to liberation for Black folks and all oppressed people is through revolution–total systems change.

Did It Ever Occur to You That Maybe You’re Falling in Love?  Ailish Hopper [@alishhopper]

Dear Fossil Fuel Executives Cameron Russell

…most big industries rely on some level of extraction to continuously grow their profits. In fashion we must also retire business models built on excess consumption. (210)

I hope you also find your humanity, your true value. We are alive at this moment. What we do now will help decide the fate of our species and most living things on Earth. (211)

#MeToo said Mother Earth. – Alex Lieberman (age twelve), climate strike sign

Sacred Resistance Tara Houska–Zhaabowekwe [@zhaabowekwe]

Quite simply, I do not believe we will solar panel or vote our way out of this crisis without also radically reframing our connection with our Mother. (218)

Currently, we demonstrate the “value” of our work by the outcomes achieved. While many of us share a desire to protect our shared homelands, we often fail to consider what values we are endorsing along the way. (218)

Human beings fall into the pitiful because we are just that–beings with fragile egos and self-doubt. As visceral as lived knowledge can be, the fast-paced nature of modern society can quickly dull it. (218)

On the Fifth Day  Jane Hirschfield

Public Service for Public Health Gina McCarthy [@Gina_McCarthy]

Imagine watching a president devote himself to unraveling not only your work and your legacy but your efforts to make the world a better place for your kids, for everyone’s kids. It has been gut-wrenching. (222)

Four million kids worldwide develop asthma each year simply because they have the misfortune of living near a major roadway. Shame on all of us who could be doing something about it.

| Simply put: Climate change is the most significant public health challenge in the world today. (225)

Under the Weather  Ash Sanders [@ashsan82]

A report released in 2012 by the National Wildlife Federation warned that climate change is creating a mental health crisis. (235)

A report released in 2012 by the National Wildlife Federation warned that climate change is creating a mental health crisis. (235) …the study estimated that 200 million Americans will suffer from mental illness as a result of natural disasters, droughts, heat waves, and economic downturn. … According to a 2017 report by the American Psychological Association and ecoAmerica, acknowledging the reality of climate change and its consequences can trigger chronic fear, fatalism, anger, and exhaustion–a condition that psychologists are increasingly referring to as ecoanxiety. (236)

The emergent understanding of the psychological harm caused by climate change is at the root of a new field known as ecopsychology. According to one of its founders, historian Theodore Roszak, the (236) purpose of the discipline is to define “‘sanity’ as if the whole world mattered.” Ecopsychologists view the Cartesian separation of mind and body–an outlook taken for granted in mainstream medicine–as antiquated and harmful and argue that it can lead to people viewing themselves as separate from the planet they live on. Because traditional psychologists limit their examinations to individuals and their internal maladies, they stamp a “sick” label on patients like Chris and me in an attempt to treat the person instead of treating the problem. Within ecopsychology, the solution is not to pathologize patients but to help them restore their sense of control by reconnecting them with the natural world. (237)

When you start labeling those problems as a sickness, political awareness starts to drift away. – Bruce Levine

For example, he told me, PTSD was a diagnosis in vogue after the Vietnam War. The effects of PTSD are real, he said, “but in retrospect, were we not better off calling this problem ‘being fucked up by war’?” To Levine, situating sickness only inside the individual is a way for the psychiatric profession to ensure its viability. “It’s how we support the power structure,” he told me. “We take problems that financial and political assholes create by being uncaring, and now we feel good about solving the problem.” (237)

[via: Or is it the power structure that is driving its own protection?]

The critics are right about two things: Chris and I are sick, and we need treatment. But they’re missing a critical perspective. If we are sick because our society is sick, shouldn’t society be treated alongside the patient? Ultimately, a lot of the disagreement over climate-induced mental illness boils down to vocabulary. …when it comes to climate grief, the experience can be hard to define and thus harder to understand and demonstrate. If climate sickness exists in the overlap of the physical and the emotional, we need words for those feelings, a dictionary of sorts that allows us to see patterns in the experiences of individual people. Fortunately, that’s exactly what a motley group of philosophers, artists, and doctors are currently working to devise. (238)

The word [Glenn Albrecht] came up with was solastalgia, a portmanteau of the Latin souls, which means “abandonment and loneliness,” and “nostalgia.” “Nostalgia” has not always had the warm and fuzzy connotations it does now. When it was first used, in the seventeenth century, it described a diagnosable illness that afflicted people who were far from home but could not return. … To Albrecht, if nostalgia was a sickness caused by the displacement brought about by seventeenth-century globalization, solastalgia was its twenty-first-century counterpart. (239)

You can breeze through the newspaper and try not to read about insect Armageddon, the glacial ice sheets melting, wildfires, climate refugees, and storms, but it registers on your psyche. Whether you like it or not, it does. – Lise Van Susteren

Van Susteren coined a new term for her condition: pre-traumatic stress disorder. (241)

The environmentalist Alan AtKisson calls this predicament “Cassandra’s Dilemma,” after the princess of Troy who (241) appears in Aeschylus’s tragedy Agamemnon. Cassandra is blessed with seeing the future, but her gift is accompanied by a counterbalancing curse: No one believes her prophecies. AtKisson connects the myth to climate action: The more a person knows about environmental destruction, the more they will try to warn others, and the more others will, in fear and defensiveness, resist them. (242)

In the wake of environmental inaction, many activists have started to shift the emphasis toward emotions, not facts. A key strategy is to name those emotions and normalize them. (242)

The mission of [the Bureau of Linguistic Reality] is to create a dictionary for the Anthropocene–not a dictionary of scientific terms but a lexicon of words to describe the destabilizing experience of living through mass climate change. …“psychic corpus dissonance.”“ennuipocalypse”: the idea that the end of the world might be not a Hollywood Armageddon but mundane and almost normal; and “NonnaPaura,” the desire to have children or grandchildren, mixed with a fear about the world they’ll inherit. (242)

The misdiagnosis that an individual’s depression or mental illness is derived from something wrong with them personally, when the depression may actually be induced by living in a society that is ill or broken. [“Word needed”]

Maybe the word we need is not one for a sickness. Maybe we need a word for a difficult truth: that when the world is ending, our health depends on closing ourselves off to awareness of this fact. Where you choose to draw your boundaries is arbitrary, not rational. If you draw them wide–if you include trees and refugees and animals and whole nations–you will be sick from overwhelm and will be seen as crazy. But if you draw them narrowly, you’ll suppress more and admire yourself less-which is its own sort of sickness. (247)

Our feelings are our most genuine paths to knowledge. – Audre Lorde

Mothering in an Age of Extinction Amy Westervelt [@amywestervelt]

…civil rights organizers understood that mobilizing maternal activism, tapping into the ethic of community mothering, is a powerful tool in the organizing toolbox. (251)

We talk about population, about whether it is or isn’t “responsible” to have children in a climate-changing world–that conversation comes up every decade or so–but we rarely hear about how today’s mothers are processing climate grief (251) for two (or more) or how our panic might be directed toward action. … On climate, for the most part, mothers are a wasted resource, and we can’t afford to waste anything anymore. (252)

Anthropocene Pastoral   Catherine Pierce [@katieppierce]

Loving a Vanishing World  Emily N. Johnston [@enjohnston]

…phytoplankton is not only the base of the marine food chain; it also produces about half of the world’s oxygen. (256)

The word “sacrament” comes from the Latin word for “solemn oath”–used by early Christians, interestingly, as the translation of the Greek word for “mystery.” This work is, in the deepest sense, both a solemn oath and mystery; it is a sacrament. We are walking into great darkness, and the light that guides us must come from within. (257)

…we have also been grated an astonishingly beautiful gift that has never before been given to humans: the chance to shepherd human and animal life into the coming centuries and millennia,…we are the ones at the intersection of knowledge and agency. (258)

Here are two truths: To some of us, much of the time, it feels exceedingly unlikely that humans will survive this–yet it’s a simple fact that if we respond robustly, we can survive this. Despair is an accurate reflection of the peril we face, but it isn’t a predictor of the future; it’s devastatingly nearsighted. To see beyond what despair sees–to move from the feeling toward the possibility–calls for things we have in abundance: love, imagination, and a willingness to simply tend the world as best we can, without guarantee of success. Any one of these can get us started. (259)

…serving the world’s needs is the only thing that I have seen consistently lighten that fear and grief and anger in others,… (260)

Being Human  Naima Penniman [@ClimbingPoeTree]

The Adaptive Mind  Susanne C. Moser

…They came to do not just climate change work but, as one put it astutely, culture change work. (270)

…humanity is headed into a world in which three kinds of change prevail:

Ongoing and accelerating change, deviating from the familiar patterns of seasonal cycles and long-term stability, confronting us with pervasive uncertainty, surprises, and often outright not-knowing.

Traumatic change, brought on by catastrophic events like Hurricane Maria devasting Puerto Rico, Hurricane Harvey flooding Houston, or the Camp Fire ravaging Paradise, California.

Transformative change, a deep, fundamental change to the systems in which we live. Transformative change could come through large-scale technological interventions, economic reconfigurations, fundamental policy changes, sociocultural shifts, complete (271) makeovers of how people earn their livelihood, and relocations from areas becoming uninhabitable. (272)

The Adaptive Mind comprises a set of propensities, capacities, and skill that allow an individual–embedded in social networks and institutions, as we all are–to respond with agility, creativity, resolve, and resilience to the kinds of stressful changes described above. (272)

The point is simply this: Burt-out people are less effective people. Burnt-out people can become sick people. Burt-out people leave their jobs and are replaced by less experienced people. Burt-out people aren’t equipped to serve a burning planet. (276)

Home Is Always Worth It  Mary Annaïse Heglar [@MaryHeglar]

We don’t have to be Pollyanna-ish or fatalistic. We can just be human. We can be messy, imperfect, contradictory, broken. We can learn the difference between hopelessness and helplessness. (282)

Solutions Underfoot  Jane Zelikova [@j_zelikova]

Soil has been described as the skin of the Earth. (288)

Today we use more than a third of the planet’s land to grow food for 7.8 billion people worldwide. (288)

To bring back soil, we have to feed the microbes. (289)

…photosynthetic organisms drive the single most important chemical transformation of carbon on our planet. (289)

As entrepreneurs and investors dream up huge machines that can pull carbon out of the air, I can’t help but notice the hubris of relying on technology when ecology has been here all along. Plants, fungi, and lichens were drawing carbon dioxide out of the air as early as 700 million years ago. Microbes have been quietly driving the Earth’s carbon cycle, with little fanfare and a lot of humility. (292)

We have ben so focused on finding the elusive technological silver bullet that we turn a blind eye to transformations happening right where we stand, a climate solution rooted in soil that can be scaled to almost every acre of farm and ranchland. (292)

Notes from a Climate Victory Garden  Louise Maher-Johnson

[via: And in the words of David Attenborough, “rewild.”]

Solutions at Sea  Emily Stengel [@GreenWaveOrg]

…agriculture [uses] 90 percent of the world’s freshwater resources… (295)

regenerative ocean farming model,… (295)

Seaweeds such as keep are often call the “sequoia of the sea” because, like sequoia trees, they are heroes of carbon sequestration. (296)

Seaweeds can be used for food but also for fertilizers, animal feeds, and even bioplastics. (296)

There is also a growing market for seaweed fertilizer and compost, which create a virtuous nutrient loop, harnessing ocean carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and more and returning them to shore for sequestration in soil. Seaweed may also help address greenhouse gas emissions from livestock. One study shows that supplementing livestock feed with a small amount of seaweed can reduce methane output by more than half in cattle. (297)

…farming regenerative species in less than 5 percent of U.S. waters could produce protein equivalent to three trillion cheeseburgers, create more than fifty million new jobs, and absorb ten million tons of nitrogen and 135 million tons of carbon per year–all with no freshwater or chemical inputs. Today we’re farming in just 0.004 percent of all coastal oceans. The opportunity is immense. (298)

Characteristic of Life  Camille T. Dungy

Black Gold  Leah Penniman

human-cause climate change started not just with the Industrial Revolution but with the exploitation of the soil. (303)

The further the population gets from its connection to Earth, the more likely we are to ignore and exploit those who work the soil.

cf. The Hidden Wound, Wendell Berry

If you’re not affected by climate change today, that itself is a privilege. – Andrea Manning

cf. The Carbon Farming Solution, Eric Toensmeier

Our duty as earthkeepers is to call the exiled carbon back into the land and to bring the soil life home. – Larisa Jacobson

Nature abhors a monoculture, which is a large expanse of one single crop. (307)

Germaine Jenkins relies on what she calls “ancestral muscle memory” to guide her regenerative farming practices. (308)

The Earth is a relative, not a commodity. (309)

After mice were treated with Mycobacterium vaccae, a friendly soil bacteria, their brains produced more of the mood-regulating hormone serotonin. Some scientists are now advocating that we play in the dirt to care for our psychological health. (309)

Ode to Dirt  Sharon Olds [@Old-Sharon]

Water Is a Verb  Judith D. Schwartz [@judithdschwartz]

…there is always moisture in the air, silently sailing above us. According to Brazilian scientist Antonio Donato Nobre, the amount of water in the “aerial river” above the Amazon rainforest exceeds the water flowing in the Amazon River itself. (312)

Up there is another ocean – “Clouds,” by Rachel Carson

The point is, if you know how water works, you don’t need a water fairy. (313)

Water is in constant flux, moving through the air and between forms, shapeshifting from gas to liquid to solid and back again. (313)

While carbon dioxide traps heat, water vapor transports it, alternately holding and releasing thermal energy as it circulates. (313)

It is time to bring water into our climate strategies. Because, as it turns out, water is a climate ally: There is much we can do to influence how water moves across landscapes and through the atmosphere (313) and thereby helps regulate heat. (314)

…water is also a verb: expanding in volume or retrenching; changing state in an ongoing dialogue with land and sun. This is not just to fuss over language. Rather, I believe that understanding how water works is essential to address sour many water challenges. (314)

Let’s take a quick look at how water behaves. (314)

First, infiltration. In a healthy landscape, rain is held in the ground,… (314)

What we perceive as a lack-of-water problem is often an inability to keep water rin the ground–a symptom of soil that’s lost ist carbon. (315)

transpiration. This is the upward movement of water through plants. (315)

We regard plants mainly as recipients of water–but they are also key determinants of where water goes and what it does. (315)

cf. Back from the Brink: How Australia’s Landscape Can Be Saved, by Peter Andrews

condensation. …the process of water in its gaseous form turning to liquid,… (316)

Condensation can be seen as the reverse of transpiration, its meteorological mirror: Transpiration absorbs latent heat; condensation releases this withheld heat. (316)

Most life on land depends on water from rain, but much of the rain on land may also depend on life. – “How Plants Water Our Planet” by Douglas Shiel

Why is this so? For one thing, the source of rain is primarily water transpired from plants. but also, plants help bring the rain down. (317)

…water molecules need a surface to condense upon. Enter “condensation nuclei”: the flecks of particulate matter around which m oisture coalesces, mainly ice crystals, salts, pollen, and scented compounds produced by plants. (317)

Nature wants to heal herself and will do so if given a chance or–better–a nudge. (318)

The Seed Underground  Janisse Ray [@TracklessWild]

A Letter to Adults  Alexandria Villaseñor [@AlexandriaV2005]

cf. Juliana v. U.S.Children vs. Climate Crisis

cf. Earth Uprising

To me, the responsibility to save and protect our planet for ourselves and future generations is not a burden I think it is a blessing,… (327)

An Offering from the Bayou  Colette Pichon Battle [@CPichonBattle]

Calling All Grand Mothers  Alice Walker [@alicewalkerfilm]

A Field Guide for Transformation  Leah Cardamore Stokes

cf. Short Circuiting Policy

The U.S. military is an energy guzzler–ti si the institution that consumes the most fossil fuels in the world. In fact, its carbon emissions are greater than those of many countries. In recent years, the U.S. military has emitted more greenhouse gases than Denmark. (341)

Yet those individual footprint calculators don’t consider this part of your personal footprint. There’s no button to click to offset your contribution to the military’s emissions. (341)

| Nor can you easily calculate or offset the emissions from the steel that was used to build the office where you work. And it would be tough to offset the fertilizer–made from fossil fuels–that grows the food you eat. The more you look, the more you see how fossil fuels are everywhere. (341)

Changing the system, not perfecting our own lives, is the point. ‘Hypocrisy’ is the price of admission int his battle. – Bill McKibben

Put simply: We cannot make enough headway on the climate problem by working at the individual level. We need to organize our efforts. And that is one essential function of a modern, healthy democracy: cooperation and coordination. (342)

Mornings at Blackwater  Mary Oliver [@PoetMaryOliver]

Like the Monarch  Sarah Stillman [@stillsarita]

We are not just living int he age of the climate refugee. We’re also witnessing the advent of the climate deportee. (356)

Community Is Our Best Chance  Christine E. Nieves Rodriguez [@MyThirstyBrain]

When everything collapses, the life-saving infrastructure is our knowledge of one another’s skills, our trust of one another, our capacity to forgive our neighbor, work with our neighbor, and mobilize. When everything collapses–no ATMs, no water, no food, no diesel, no communication–you have to tap into a preexisting system of trust and dignity and reciprocity. (366)

The times we will be facing are going to require us to recognize that the most important thing around us in community. (366)

Onward  Ayana Elizabeth Johnson [@ayanaeliza] and Katharine K. Wilkinson [@DrKWilkinson]

Adrienne Rich’s 1977 poem “Natural Resources” unlocked the title this book came to claim as its own. “My heart is moved by all I cannot save,” she writes. Ours too–and by all that we can. (371)

Every tenth of a degree of warming, every centimeter of sea level rise, every increasingly unnatural disaster, every species, every life–all of it matters. (371)

“We” speaks to justice, to how we do the work that needs doing and whose contributions are valued. We cannot, we must not, go it alone. To focus only on what we can do as individuals, instead of what we can do together, will mean failure. A theme that emerges strongly in this book is community. Indeed, building community around solutions is the most important thing. (372)

| “Can” speaks to sheer determination. (372)

“Save” speaks to our opportunity and duty to protect nature, ecosystems, species, and one another. We are one another’s keepers. (372) … It means retrieving ways of living and being that have been sidelined and suppressed. (373)

We stand now where two roads diverge. But unlike the roads in Robert Frosts’s familiar poem, they are not equally fair. The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road–the one “less traveled by”–offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.

The choice, after all, is ours to make. – Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

So where do we go from here? First, we take a breath. It’s a lot. And in some ways, we, humans, were not designed for a crisis this massive and all-encompassing. In other ways, we were made for this moment. What we do now is dream. From a foundation of science and community, we must imagine the future we want to live in, and the future we want to pass on, and every day do something to reel the dream closer to reality. (373)

If there is one theme that runs through the collection, it is ferocious love–for one another, for Earth, for all beings, for justice, for a life-giving future. Let’s move forward with love, not conquest; humility, not righteousness; generous curiosity, not hardened assumptions. (374)



cf. Drawdown by Paul Hawken




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  1. Pingback: Saving Us | Reflections & Notes | vialogue

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