What’s Needed In 2017?

Hello friends of Weaving Earth! As the New Year approaches, we’re writing to express our deep gratitude for your support over the past year. As is often the case, our year has been full of strong connections, late nights around the fire, many mysteries on the landscape, and lots of good learning and growth. And there’s more…

In the northern hemisphere, we’ve just passed the longest night of the year. And yet, there are moments when the days ahead feel like they will only get darker. For many of us committed to social and environmental justice, Donald Trump’s presidential victory is deeply concerning, and it becomes more sobering with every executive branch appointment and inflammatory tweet. He is elevating to power a cast of characters who hold dangerous worldviews: white supremacy, misogyny, unchecked capitalism and denial of human-caused climate change. Taken together, the incoming administration constitutes a tremendous, possibly unprecedented threat to human rights, the environment and future generations.

But the severity of the situation is also a catalyst. This country has a long and rich tradition of movement building and creative action in the face of injustice. The last decade has been no different: Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, blocking the Keystone XL pipeline, Standing Rock and much more. Trump’s rise is dangerous, no doubt, but also no match for the will, the dedication and the vision of the many millions of people in this country who reject prejudiced politics.

There is, of course, no one-stop-shop for solutions or panaceas that will in an instant make our country and our planet more peaceful or more unified. The politics of the moment are exceedingly complex. But there is one thing that will most certainly be involved: relationship.

When it comes to our social problems, lack of relationship shows up all over the map as a root cause. Consumerism, which causes vast damage to workers and the environment, is rooted in a lack of relationship between consumers and the source materials of our food, clothing and gadgetry. Racism, sexism, heterosexism and colonialism are rooted in a lack of reciprocal relationship between people who have power and those who are systematically disempowered because of skin color, indigeneity, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or religion. And in many ways, human-caused climate change is rooted in a lack of relationship to our local ecosystems: the engine of accelerating changes to our planet is what Naomi Klein and others have called “extractivism,” a colonial worldview in which places (and people) are sacrificed to feed the ever-hungry centralized society, crazed by the fable of infinite economic growth. The list goes on.

These examples, though stated separately, are of course inextricably linked. So as the inauguration approaches, with all the uncertainty it brings, we say: build relationship. We must develop the eyes to see, in increasingly nuanced ways, how the challenges we face are intertwined. The work of Kimberle Crenshaw and others on intersectionality is a guide. At the personal level, strengthen ties to family and friends. Get involved with local organizing efforts related to food justice, racial justice, economic justice, and climate justice. Learn about and find ways to support the native people who lived on, and may well still be living on, the land you currently inhabit. Perhaps most importantly, build relationship to yourself. Reflect on the arc of your life—where do you come from and how did you get here? What creativity do you hold that the world is waiting for? What passions, brilliant ideas and acts of service reside untapped within you? What brings you fully alive?

Ultimately, we don’t know what lies ahead. But rather than succumb to fear in the face of uncertainty, we choose instead to acknowledge the power of mystery and to move forward with love, compassion, clarity and right action. The path ahead may appear rocky from here, but we are not giving up. We look forward to the year to come and most of all, we’re grateful for all of the good people—some of them known to us, many more unknown—who are doing vital work in the world. The only way to walk forward is together. Blessings on the coming year!


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