Question of the Week: How are these three key issues appearing together in your life now?

How are these three key issues appearing together in your life now? Join the discussion by commenting below.


  • Kathryn Grace

    Big question. I have worked for social and environmental justice most of my adult life, as a volunteer and as an employee in the non-profit sector, in government and for an entrepreneurial green company with a mission to change an entire industry. I have witnessed vast changes in the areas of human rights in the United States during my lifetime, and I have seen those rights eroded far beyond anything our founding fathers could have imagined.

    In all the organizations with which I worked, however just and noble, human relationships were inevitably fractious and divisive at times. Sometimes egos and the the desire to amass power and recognition got in the way of the good work we were doing. The sense of camaraderie and fulfillment could fade.

    Most of us are walking wounded in one way or another. I realized that until we heal ourselves and extend a loving hand to one another, the lasting changes we sought would never be achieved. The answer, a gift from a gentle teacher when I was a very young woman, is simple: Do everything you do with love. If you can’t do it with love, don’t do it.

    Increasingly, as I go about the work of healing myself, holding a space of healing for the planet and for those who may seek it, I am struck by the power of love. Love heals. It heals me. It heals others. I have witnessed the power of love to change an angry face, a strident voice to a smile, an apology and offer to work together to solve a problem.

    How you ask? Merely by calming myself in the face of an unexpectedly angry individual or in a roomful of individuals with seemingly impossible conflicts, listening with my heart, and asking that I respond to each person with love. In these situations, sometimes it is not necessary to speak. Silently asking my heart to respond from a place of love, listening to the other(s), I have seen anger diffuse and be replaced with reason and care. The entire room has changed. Others lowered their voices and began to listen more carefully to one another. Common ground was found and solutions built from there.

    For a long time I was embarrassed to talk about the power of love. I didn’t want to sound like a spaced out hippie of the Sixties, or like I’d fallen off the edge into la-la land. But the time has come. Once we begin to love ourselves, we can love others. Loving others, we open the space, as someone told me today, for them to reflect that love, to begin to feel it themselves, and to heal. Love heals. With healing, we begin to know what to do next.

    When we respond to another person with love, it is impossible to do violence against them–physically, verbally, or through gossip and backstabbing. Likewise when we love the earth, we begin to notice the choices we make on a daily, nitty-gritty level. We realize that this cup of coffee in this disposable cup is harming the earth. Carrying a reusable cup becomes an act of love for the Earth, rather than a burden. Buying organic, fair trade coffee becomes an act of love for the soil and for the workers who toil under less than ideal conditions so that we might enjoy that first, hot sip in the morning.

    Greeting each person we meet with a happy smile sets the tone for our hearts and minds and quite often brings a delighted smile and giggle to their faces. Try walking down the street with a bounce in your step and a smile on your face. Watch how the people coming toward you change. The more we experience love, the more love informs all our actions.

    That’s part of how the pursuit of sustainability, justice and fulfillment are appearing in my life right now. I can’t wait to see what other folks have to say in response to this question.

  • Tomtom0692

    WOW so very well said so true,so meaningful.Thank You for sharing that.I was going to respond to that question but know i will think about what to say more carefully.Before i do . LOVE IS THE ANSWER.

  • Tom

    One thing I have noticed, especially being a small farmer in these modern times, is that everything seems to be made to be thrown away after it breaks once, instead of being fixable. If companies learned to make things last longer, and be easily fixed/upgraded, there would be a lot less volume in our landfills.

    Secondly (and I know there will be a lot of people who will be rather angry at me for even suggesting this) instead of burying our waste in a landfill where it will take several thousand years to decompose, why not burn it and use the heat it produces to make electricity, since air pollution is easily cleaned up by planting more trees. Landfills will be around for centuries, but air pollution is cleaned up in a matter of months, and sometimes even days. And the more we fix now and keep using, the less there is going into the landfills, as well as providing jobs for people that need them.

    I say this because even though I’m a member of the 80′s generation, I honestly feel like I was born about 50 years too late when I look around and see the stuff that’s happening today. Stuff being made as cheaply as possible to maximize profits, gov’ts running rampantly over people’s rights to fresh food and freedom of choice, and religious groups trying to internally subvert duly-elected governments the world over under the guise of preventing religious persecution. It makes me shake my head in disgust and amazement over the state of our world. If it were possible, I would move to the moon or Mars to start over, since I am really starting to hate some of the people on this planet. I love all men, but their actions make it hard to do some times. And the way that things are going throughout the world makes it hard to choose somewhere else to move to for a new start. I know, because I have looked.

    I simply wish that people would stop acting like the $$ they see everywhere are the most important things in life. In my simple view of life, it’s one of the least. Community is one of the higher ones, and family before that. If people got together and helped each other out when needed, this world would be a lot better place. I remember growing up in a small community that got together a dozen times a year or more, and if someone needed an extra hand, there was always someone available to help out. As far as I can remember, there was never a charge financially for it, as if they didn’t need the return help, someone else would.

  • Nanalogan1

    I truly believe the word “love” is overused and misconstrued into something that is supposed to be a savior of sorts. To many, it means nothing and is just a word.

    There IS one thing that binds us all and that is “recognition of the connection”. No matter our feelings, thoughts, beliefs, or opinions, we are connected through the natural environment, science and history. We come from the same, we develop, we learn and we expel. We connect day by day whether in physical or mental form. We fear, hope, keep and breathe every day of our lives. If you were to cut us all open, how would you tell the difference?

    The human brain has the complexity to confuse it all. It’s a shame we can’t decipher it as we can a tree or even the behavior of a dog, cause I am sure there are amazing feats we could perform that would result in a masterpiece of a planet for all to hold in awe.

    But we keep trying… and that’s all that matters.

  • Gary

    Kathryn, the sense in which I am interpreting this question is: what is a concrete example of how sustainability, justice and fulfillment are showing up in my life as a unified issue instead of three separate issues?

    An immediate answer for me is to look at my dinner plate and see what’s on it. Tonight I had asparagus, among other things. Where did it come from? I know the store where it came from, but where was it grown? How was it grown? Who tended it, for what wage, and were there any benefits for that work? How do they live and where did they come from? What petroleum products went into the growing of it, the transport, the storage?

    The point is, we could repeat this exercise with anything we use, food or otherwise. We can trace back to the origins of anything that comes into our lives and discover in the heart of the matter are these three relations: was it created in sustainable fashion? Was there exploitation involved in some way, and what was the quality of life for the people who caused this item to come before me? Am I benefitting at their expense? If so, is there any real benefit at all?

  • Anonymous

    There has to be a way to get beyond the superficial banalities that online “activism” promotes to the deep and well-grounded thinking that requires years of archival research, face-to-face dialogue and the ecstatically productive agony of writing, not a blog post or comment but a b-o-o-k. At the current cultural moment, most published books are written by academic time servers or commercial hustlers. That’s how the market operates. Fair enough. But a unified response to sustainability and social justice isn’t necessarily going to have market appeal to some demographic audience market segment. “My book will appeal to activists/policy makers/academics and precocious high school students.” Blah, blah, blah.

    Think of the unpublished manuscripts — Marx’s Grundrisse, Walter Benjamin’s Passagenwerk — that decades after their “unpublication” have had more influence than 99.97% of current, published works. So these three key issues appear in my life now as an unpublished manuscript that examines how negative social and environmental externalities perversely drive economic growth, while more growth adds to the negative externalities. The manuscript outlines an institutional innovation — the labor commons union — and a social accounting information framework to counteract the deadly cycle of so-called growth and social and environmental depredation.

  • Dobema01

    I believe fulfillment can come through realizing the bounty of the earth and how we can sustain it. I was just taking a walk earlier tonight and realizing that we cannot try and “take care” of the earth. It has been taking care of itself for a very long time- without our help. What we have to do is go with it- realize how it works and work WITH It. It is unjust to know better solutions to environmental issues and then ignore them.

    Solar power, for instance. As long as the human race exists, the sun will shine. Our politicians worry about money in providing the equipment to harness the sun, but what they do not see is how eventually solar power equipment will pay for itself- because the sun always shines. It has always worked that way. We have developed means for getting our energy which are different than the way the earth works. Most living things on the earth get energy from the sun. It is sustainable, and to ravage the earth itself rather than the proper energy source is unjust.

    We will feel more fulfilled as a species once we realize that the earth is in harmony with us. We are mostly disillusioned that it is either our survival or the earth’s bounty. We can have both! Hurting the earth hurts us.

  • Joe Mulligan

    I’m sorry, but, this whole movement of “un-oil”, “go on a CO2 diet”, “trade in your SUV for a bike” is nothing but PURE PROPAGANDA BULLSHIT. This is teahcing people that humans are bad for the earth, that there are too many of us, etc.

    What a sick joke.  The United Nations’ OWN INTERNAL DOCUMENTS even state that the Earth can easily sustain 12 Billion people, and that we will level off at around 9 Billion.

    People need to learn the TRUTH about what’s going on.

    Check out: 

    Don’t be just another dumb sheep. 

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