A year ago I participated in a “collaboratory” hosted by UU Ministry for Earth. People from various locations within Unitarian Universalism gathered to consider ways to increase awareness and action around issues of environmental/climate/ecological justice within Unitarian Universalism. I’ve been thinking about this as we are invited to join Commit2Respond and congregations are encouraged to participate in Climate Justice Month. So much has already shifted since last year.
The collaboratory convened in Detroit which allowed us to meet people who are among the hardest hit by environmental devastation and yet are creatively transforming their communities. On tours, we saw abandoned lots turned into gardens that feed the community. We ate at a downtown worker-owned restaurant and stepped inside a repair shop where used bicycles are refurbished for those without cars in a city with few buses. We were invited to look at the abandoned, graffitied and crumbling Packard plant with eyes of hope as an unsustainable way of life falls away and new possibilities emerge. I took a few shards of the building home with me to remember this cosmic perspective.
One evening, we watched We Are Not Ghosts, a documentary in which Detroiters share their perspective on their city:
Because the city’s in such a vulnerable place, we’re in a position now to actually explore our power. Privilege can be debilitating because you have so many resources that you never have an opportunity to explore your true capacity. ~ Sterling Toles
I guess it would be nice to be in a city where everything just clicked and worked in the way that maybe it was supposed to and you didn’t have to worry about it. But there’s also something about having to be creative about making things work for each other. There’s something about [creating] community because you have to. ~ Julia Putnam
In a Veterans of Hope interview, Bernice Johnson Reagon says, “If you don’t sometimes walk through trouble, you’ll never get to meet the rest of yourself.” As an unsustainable way of life crumbles, the human community is being invited to meet the rest of ourselves – individually and collectively. Now is the time. We must focus deeply and creatively on making community – everywhere we are and all the time. Within our own groups and across divides of race, class, nationality, religion. Learning and relearning from those who are already making a way.