movements like trees

so a friend of mine just reached out to me about something i was saying a LOT a couple of years ago – our movements need to be like trees. there was a short period where this was basically all i wanted to talk about. the movements-like-trees metaphoric vision has emerged in a number of ways…in writing this up for my friend i thought i should share it here:

1. movements like oak trees – i learned from shana sassoon in new orleans (and climbing poetree included this in hurricane season) that oak trees intertwine their roots underground, making them incredibly resilient during storms. after katrina, oaks were still standing where nothing else was.

2. movements have needs like trees – facilitator jidan koon helped ruckus prep for a pruning process, sharing that trees can either grow wild, or they can be pruned in order to grow to their best potential. the pruning process may be painful in the short-term, and its important to think it though with a long-term lens, but the potential for sustainable growth is extremely powerful.

3. movements are like trees – certain trees grow in certain places due to a complex eco-systemic match. this doesn’t mean a tree can’t be local to more than one place, but it does mean that each place has its set of trees that are most easily sustained. for our movement work we have to think deeply about local movement sustainability.

this is not just true for organizations or movements, but for people. where are you growing your roots, who are you intertwined with? these feel like crucial questions right now.