WORDS & IMAGE: KATE WEINER
Your opponents would love you to believe that it’s hopeless, that you have no power, that there’s no reason to act, that you can’t win. Hope is a gift you don’t have to surrender, a power you don’t have to throw away. And though hope can be an act of defiance, defiance isn’t enough reason to hope. But there are good reasons.
I'm so sensitive to my surroundings that every eerily warm day sends me into a deep spiral. I used to dream of my future, relish in the vision of myself as a mama and grandmama. But now I am so afraid of going into the next year and the year after that given the uncertainty of climate change. I want time to move slowly. I don't want to get old. I don't want to ever know the loss of seasons or the hunger for rain.
These fears consume me before bed each night. The last year has been nightmarish—from the Trump administration's efforts to prioritize short-term profit for the fossil fuel plutocracy to the devastating wildfires, floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes that have ravaged ecosystems and exacerbated social injustice throughout the world. It can be so very hard to not get tangled in the murky depths of despair when destruction is a constant. To find the will to act, love, give, and grow takes bravery and resiliency and hope.
My suffering isn't sustainable. And given that the world needs my "whole, hurting, and hopeful self" right now (shoutout to artist Molly Costello for that gem) cultivating resiliency feels like the sweetest form of self-care. Climate chaos is our new norm. But it doesn't have to be the world we inherit. We can choose to nourish our stores of resiliency so that when faced with crisis, we continue to find the opportunity to heal, rebuild, and protect. And we can choose to act in the belief that our passion, our persistence, and our radical commitment to regeneration can and WILL make a difference.
Herewith, books to read, nonprofits to contribute to, and experiences to savor that are helping cultivate social & ecological resiliency. I want to continue to grow this list in collaboration with the Loam community so please do share your own resources for resiliency in the comments. We are living through unprecedented times and I believe deeply in turning to one another to find the power to build a livable future.
BRAIDING SWEETGRASS by ROBIN WALL KIMMERER
This book has changed my life and the lives of many people that I know. In this soul-satiating read, Kimmerer interweaves indigenous wisdom, plant botany, and her experience as a teacher to create a blueprint for building a world that is rooted in reciprocity and reverence. Get this book now.
HOPE IN THE DARK by REBECCA SOLNIT
Solnit's book is a potent antidote to the "easy despair" so many of us are grappling with during these stormy days. By combing through history to offer us evidence of radical change against all odds, Solnit provides a dynamic body of proof that a just revolution is within reach.
DRAWDOWN edited by PAUL HAWKEN
This inspiring read shares "realistic and bold solutions to climate change" from a diverse international coalition of researchers, climate scientists, and earth advocates. It's an informative, accessible, and engaging read that will give you hope in the power of crisis to spur real change.
Inspired by the Leap Manifesto, The Leap works in the U.S. and Canada to coordinate actions, organize climate movements, and tell stories that inspire a regenerative relationship with the land. The Leap is working toward a RADICAL revolution in the systems that shape our political, social, and ecological culture and I'm so energized by their grounded-in-research vision for a livable future. Donate today or find a local Leap group in your community.
Through resilience-based organizing, the "Movement Generation Justice & Ecology Project inspires and engages in transformative action towards the liberation and restoration of land, labor, and culture. We are rooted in vibrant social movements led by low-income communities and communities of color committed to a Just Transition away from profit and pollution and towards healthy, resilient and life-affirming local economies." To learn more about how you can bring the principles of resilience-based organizing to life in your own community, read here.
Through projects such as Resilient Power Puerto Rico, CMRC works at the intersection of social and ecological justice to support climate-vulnerable coastal communities. I'm deeply inspired by their work and will will be donating 20% of profits from Permaculture in Practice thru November 24th to this vital initiative.
MAKE ART EVERYDAY
Art is an integral part of cultivating resiliency. Walk through the sweet world and gather fallen leaves to make a mandala. Play music with a friend. Cook up a meal that is almost too beautiful to eat. Create something everyday because it's our collective, combustive creativity that sustains the soul and feeds the resistance.
GROW A GARDEN
Even if all you have is a little windowsill to dedicate to a pot of herbs, do it! Growing a garden teaches us so much about the spirit of resiliency interwoven into the fruits, vegetables, and herbs that heal us. Plant something, watch it grow, talk with it, and learn from it.
Take a full moon meander with each lunar cycle. Use it as an opportunity to pay attention to what's growing right where you are—the grass in between cracks in the sidewalk, the bugs crawling across plants. Resiliency is rooted in our willingness to dive into experiences that ask us to embrace the world wholeheartedly when it feels so much safer to be numb. A night walk always restores my spirit because it's a delicious break from routine. I get to hold and be held by the world from a new perspective and that truly shapes how I approach my work.