Forms and Opportunities for Engaged Practice
Despair is paralysis. It robs us of agency. It blinds us to our own power and the power of the earth. Environmental despair is a poison every bit as destructive as the methylated mercury in the bottom of Onondaga Lake. But how can we submit to despair while the land is saying "Help"?
— Robin Wall Kimmerer
No small part of our challenge is the pervasive poverty of agency. How often do we hear, including from ourselves, “but I’m just one person”? Yet both Dharma and sociology disagree. Our words and actions matter so much and indeed they are all we have.
Yet whether or not our actions make a big difference that we can actually see, feel, and touch is, in a way, none of our business. Our opportunity is to meaningfully respond. We can speak in ways that actually help. We can act in ways that are deeply rooted, skillful, strategic, and unattached to specific outcomes.
“You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.” -Angela Davis
Featured Action Organizations
- Malala Fund: Malala and Ziauddin Yousafzai founded Malala Fund in 2013 to champion every girl’s right to 12 years of free, safe, quality education. Together their board, leadership council, and staff are creating a more equal world by making sure all girls can go to school. As Regeneration points out, “An educated populace of women improves a nation’s health, food security, and economy. However, only one in four nations has achieved parity in upper-secondary school enrollment, and very few poor, rural young women are able to complete their education in a number of countries deeply impacted by climate disasters… Their leadership and participation is an effective, rights-based path to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and leads to more effective and just climate action.” Malala Fund invests in local educators and advocates — the people who best understand girls in their communities — in regions where the most girls are missing out on secondary school, and they advocate at local, national and international levels for resources and policy changes to give all girls a secondary education. Additionally, their publication Assembly amplifies girls’ voices and shares their stories in a digital publication and newsletter.
- Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy: IATP envisions agriculture, trade and food systems that are good for people, farmers and food system workers, ecosystems, and social justice globally. With their partners, they advocate for policy at state, federal, and international levels. Their research and analysis are guided by values of economic and racial justice, environmental sustainability and resilience, and strong democratic institutions, and their policy advocacy is shaped in close collaboration with social movements, coalitions, and civil society organizations.
- Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive: CoFED is a U.S. and Canada based QTBIPOC-led organization that partners with young folks of color to build food and land co-ops with the intention of meeting their communities’ needs through food and land co-ops. They are building the leadership of young people from poor and working-class backgrounds to practice cooperative values, economics, and strategies for collective liberation. CoFED partners with food and land co-ops across the US and Canada to embody cooperative values and economics. Since 2011, they’ve developed 12 new cooperative projects, trained over 600 emerging cooperative leaders, and cultivated a community of nearly 4,000 supporters across the U.S. and Canada.
Featured Calls to Action
- COP15, the 15th Conference of the Parties of the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity, was held December 7-16 in Montreal, Canada. Faiths at COP15, a coalition of faith-based organizations and conservation groups who advocate for biodiversity and support urgent international action, hosted a number of events. Watch the recordings here.
- RSVP for ARRCC’s Relational Conversation: The Art of Connecting with Purpose meeting on February 6th.
- Attend Move Beyond Coal’s 2023 kickoff webinar on February 7th.
- School Strike 4 Climate in Perth and Sydney are holding a Climate Strike on Friday, 3rd March.
- The tentative date for ARRCC’s Divestment Day of Action is March 9th. If you’re interested in helping to organise an event or action in your city or town, please contact Thea Ormerod on .
- Join the Center for Biological diversity in asking the Biden Administration to ban the trade in African elephants to prevent their extinction.
- Ask Tim Sweeney, the new CEO of Liberty Mutual, to prioritize climate action now.
- Urge the Environmental Protection Agency to cut methane levels and monitor oil and gas operations. Submit your comment by February 13th.
- Take FixMyFunds pledge to meet with your asset manager or financial advisor to demand truly sustainable investing options.
- Join in on Third Act’s Banking on Our Future Day of Action 3.21.23. Read their pledges for account holders and non-account holders to see what you can do.
- The David Suzuki Foundation offers comprehensive resources for engagement at the local government level. View guides on assessing your local government’s climate plan and working with local leaders on climate action. You can also check out their Act Locally page.
- Take a step from Don’t Look Up’s resource page. Click on a step and scroll down to see some helpful tips for each one.
- Take one of the many steps listed on Stop the Money Pipeline’s current calls to action. Some of these are ongoing and some are time-sensitive; check back regularly for updates or join their newsletter (linked at the bottom of the page) to stay current.
- U.S.-based Interfaith Power and Light shares upcoming actions on their Public Policy Page.
- Stop the Money Pipeline:
Featured Calls to Action
- #StopLine3: Check out the @stopline3 linktree for information about how to join the movement by donating, attending a workshop or rally, helping allies on the frontlines get supplies, and more.
- Oak Flat: US residents can ask your members of Congress to support and co-sponsor the Save Oak Flat Act.
- Sign the Multi-faith Climate Statement to be presented to world leaders at COP26 in November 2021.
Talking About our Earth and Ecological Crises
A call to defend sacred land of the Western Apache
Opportunities to Counter Structural Greed
Restoration is a powerful antidote to despair. Restoration offers concrete means by which humans can once again enter into positive creative relationship with the more-than-human world, meeting responsibilities that are simultaneously material and spiritual. It's not enough to grieve. It's not enough to just stop doing bad things.
— Robin Wall Kimmerer