Everywhere I go, I meet people ready for change. People who are fed up with the exhaustion that comes from devoting one's life to the work-watch-spend treadmill. People who know in their hearts that it's wrong to treat the planet and whole groups of people as disposable. People who are challenging the bogus stories we've been fed for years and are writing their own about hope and love and working together to build a better future for everyone.
We depend on this planet to eat, drink, breathe, and live. Figuring out how to keep our life support system running needs to be our number-one priority. Nothing is more important than finding a way to live together - justly, respectfully, sustainably, joyfully - on the only planet we can call home.
Just recognizing and naming that many of the things we treat as historical fact are stories can help erode their power over our sense of identity and thinking. If they are stories rather than "truth," we can write new stories that better represent the country we aspire to be. Our new stories can be about diverse people working together to overcome challenges and make life better for all, about figuring out how to live sustainably on this one planet we share, and on deep respect for cooperation, fairness, and equity instead of promoting hyper-competitive individualism.
We're more concerned about climate or economic equality or racial justice or anything else that is good for people and the planet, we simply must also spend some time wresting back our money-marinated democracy. This will require getting money out of politics and then getting people back in.
Between the disillusionment that people feel about politics-as-usual, assaults on the right to vote, and the constant feelings of pressure that Americans suffer in our overworked, overstressed economy, too many people have checked out of the political process.
For decades, I thought that scientific truth, solid economic case studies, and common sense were enough to bring about change on the environmental front. After all, the data is so compelling! I thought that if people just understood the severity of today's environmental threats and knew about available solutions, those solutions would happen. Not so.
I am afraid that I think both the near future environmental reality and political landscape are not looking good - and they are connected. The best tool we have for advancing environmental solutions is our democracy, and we can't currently access it because it has been so thoroughly hijacked by big corporate interests.