Friday, October 14, 2011


"We can create small pockets of flourishing, and we can make ourselves into overhanging rock ledges to protect their life, so that the full measure of possibility can spread and reseed the world. Doesn't matter what it is; if it's generous to life, imagine it into existence. Create a bicycle cooperative, a seed-sharing community, a wildlife sanctuary. Write poems for children. Sing duets to the dying. Tear out the irrigation system and plant native grass. Imagine water pumps. Dig a community garden in the Kmart parking lot. Learn to cook with the full power of the sun at noon.

"We don't have to start from scratch. We can restore pockets of flourishing lifeways that have been damaged over time. Breach a dam. Plant a riverbank. Vote for schools. Introduce the neighbors to each others' children. Celebrate the solstice. Write a story in an old language. Slow a rivercourse with a fallen log.

"Maybe most effective of all, we can protect refugia that already exist: they are all around us. Protect the marshy ditch behind the mall. Ban poisons from the edges of the road. Save the hedges in your neighborhood. Boycott what you don't believe in. Refuse to participate in what is wrong. There is power in this--an attention that notices and celebrates thriving where it occurs, a conscience that refuses to destroy it. These acts will be the wellspring of the new world. From sheltered pockets of moral imagining, and from protected pockets of flourishing, new ways of living will spread across the land.

"Here is how we will start anew: not from the edges over centuries of invasion, but from small pockets of good work, shaped by an understanding that all life is interdependent and driven by the uniquely human gift--practical imagination, the ability to imagine that things can be different from what they are now. 'Your calling,' philosopher Frederick Buechner said, 'is at the intersection of your great joy and the world's great need.' Go to that place. Do that work."

--Kathleen Dean Moore and Michael P. Nelson, Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril