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Commitments for Care-of-the-Environment Activists

From the RC e-mail discussion list for leaders in the care of the environment

Diane Shisk (the Alternate International Reference Person for the RC Communities) suggested that I think about a commitment for care-of-the-environment activists. What popped into my mind right away was this:

Always remember to do the work in close connection with all fellow humans.

Choose a future in which all life is important and in which oppressive, destructive actions (racism, genocide, exploitation) are ended.

Have a good balance (work, fun, food, rest).

Leave the world and every situation in better condition than it is at the moment.

Model a sustainable life, whatever criticism you get.

What do you think should be in it? I would love to hear.

Wytske Visser

International Commonality Reference Person for the Care of the Environment

Ljouwert, Fryslan, The Netherlands


As I thought about this, it seemed important that we

  • be grounded in love;
  • be open to heartbreak;
  • remember that feelings of despair are old.

Pamela Haines

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA


I will always decide as an activist to remember and value my resources, our resources.

I will always remember that the sparkle of life unites us all and shines on me.

I won’t allow passivity, or criticism of you or myself—even when I disagree with you, even when it feels urgent to act, even when I am ignorant or lost.

I will trust and appreciate my generation, and the generations after me.

I will trust that we will connect and cooperate in a better way—based on the logic, efforts, and dreams of our ancestors and because I can feel your hand and your passion more than ever.

Vasiliki Xanthi

Athens, Greece


A lot of our thinking is freed up when we discharge directly on the hurt we are trying to avoid with our activism.

As a climate activist, I notice how we try to avoid thinking about and discharging on what has already happened or will happen with our climate. I have persisted in working on this, which has made a big difference in my ability to think in the area.

I do not know how it should be phrased in English, but perhaps something like, “Decide to feel how it will really feel if and when the worst thing happens.”

It is easier to think, decide, and act to avoid what we dread when we feel the feelings first.

Brita Helleborg

Porsgrunn, Norway


From this moment forward, I commit to remembering

  • that I am a beloved child of Earth;
  • that my body, mind, and energy all come from Earth;
  • that the voice of my activism is the voice of Earth itself speaking through me on its own behalf;
  • that I am Earth;
  • that all other expressions of Earth, both living beings and non-living entities (mountains, rivers), are my equals, sisters and brothers of the same parent, and part of my extended self;
  • that my activism on behalf of my greater self is a simple act of self-love.

Bryna Gallagher

Boise, Idaho, USA


The RC World Changers’ Commitment has been useful to me:

“I have chosen to change society, but I also choose to be intelligent in the way I go about [do] it.

“The future needs me, well-rested, well-nourished, well-exercised, and well-organized.

“The past is useful as a source of information but never as a substitute for my own fresh thinking. Mao (or any more recent leader) respected Marx (or any earlier leader) but did his own fresh thinking. I will respect all past thinkers, but my thinking will necessarily be more brilliant than theirs because I stand on their shoulders.

“If I am not enjoying what I am doing, then there is something wrong with how I am doing it and I will correct it.”

(I think “well-discharged” should be added to the second sentence.)

Terry Fletcher

Berkeley, California, USA


We get to be loving, joyous, and creative in our work and connections.

We get to value people and broadly invite them into our activist circles, empower them to participate at whatever level they are able and enlivened to, and always encourage them to try what is slightly uncomfortable for them, with support.

Those of us who have been leading get to lift up new leadership and find our way into mentoring roles that sustain the values, work, emotional health, and support of our groups, allowing the movement to grow broadly at the pace necessary.

We get to value the time we spend connecting and sharing our understanding about oppressions and our skills with listening and discharge.

We get to participate in and model self-care and community care.

We get to decide, act, and discharge, over and over again, on the horrible situations we are working to change. And we get to remember, even though our early hurts might tell us otherwise, that we are just the ones for the job.

Lisa Marcus

Seattle, Washington, USA


Above all we must remember that among our primary allies are the earth itself and all the life that is part of the earth.

We need to listen to the voices of that life—the trees, the flowers, the animals, the rocks—as they cry out to us. They have been around longer than we have and offer different perspectives that challenge our human patterns. 

The new care-of-the-environment draft policy recognizes the interconnection of all of life and its common source. Until we abandon our patterned sense of superiority as humans, and the oppression it brings on us and all other life, we will not succeed in our quest to sustain all life. 

Following the lead of our Native brothers and sisters, we need to recognize our total interconnection with the community of all life. We can no longer exclude ourselves from that wider community.

Andy Smith

Devon, Pennsylvania, USA


We need to think not only about global resources but also personal resources—of time, money, energy.

I have very limited energy due to illness. My commitment level is high, but my capacity is low. Part of my caring for the environment must be sustaining, and if possible enhancing, my own energy reserves, not draining them.

I commit to sustaining my own health and to getting the help and support I need to do that.

Because of low stamina, I can feel that I am not doing “enough” for the environment. Then I can make myself sicker by running [acting out] my “overdoing it” patterns. In reality I, too, am part of the environment and must protect my energy reserves as I help others to protect the planet’s.

Julia Cameron

London, England


I will remember that what I do is for me—as well as for the rest of the world.

I will remember that I am not alone—that every human being alive today, all of my ancestors, and all future descendants stand with me.

I will remember that I can never have too many allies and that they can be found everywhere.

I will remember that it is an honor and a privilege to stand up on others’ behalf and on my own behalf.

I will remember that I will make mistakes—some of which will be messy and uncomfortable—and that I can learn from them.

Brian Lavendel

Madison, Wisconsin, USA


I love this planet—with its extraordinary natural diversity, and human diversity and creativity.

As an activist I will remember to work in close connection with all fellow humans, toward a world in which oppressive, destructive actions (racism, genocide, wars, exploitation) are ended and all life is cherished.

I choose to have a good balance (of work, fun, food, rest), to live as sustainably as I can, and to leave the world in a better condition wherever I have contact.

In working to sustain life on earth, I decide to reach for everyone, and to support others’ leadership as I build support to strengthen my own.

Sandy Wilder

Moruya, New South Wales, Australia

(Present Time 190, January 2018)

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00