Early Signs Of A New Society with Sarah van Gelder

Sarah van GelderA dear friend posed a question to Sarah van Gelder that launched her on her quest to understand what is animating the grassroots these days. Her friend asked, “If the universe could deploy the one small person that is you, what would it have you do?” This led Sarah to launch a 12,000 mile trip across America in order to explore the many dynamic movements taking root around the country. For example, she learned from the ranchers and the Northern Cheyenne Tribe members about a place in Southeast Montana called Otter Creek Valley, which was scheduled to be the largest coal strip mine in the state of Montana. She states that the local ranchers and Native American tribal members learned from one another, “[B]ut I think, in a way, they learned from the land itself, and from the water itself. There’s something so sacred about [their determination] that they were willing to do the hard work of reading those environmental statements, and going to testify, and traveling hundreds of miles to the state capital, and then thousands of miles to the U.S. Capital, and keeping at it month after month and year after year because they knew that was their one shot at keeping that land intact.” This is but one story of many that she’s collected through her travels that give her, and us, hope for our future. There is a fierce urgency confronting us to act on the many opportunities to reimagine a world that works for all. Will a movement to improve the health of our communities and our planet happen in one gigantic tide of awakening, or will it be sourced on the local level, grassroots, level? Van Gelder suggests that the kind of sustainable systems change that is required in these threshold times is now being modeled on local levels across the country.

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