Movement Generation “The Future” Keynote

here are the prep notes for the speech I gave last night at Movement Generation’s dinner:

before i speak about my vision of the future, i want to tell you how amazing movement generation is – even if i don’t do a good job tonight, give them your time and money and support.

i got trained by movement generation as a part of the ruckus society (we’re sort of sister networks).

at first, they scared me – the way i have been scared before hearing environmental truths, but much more comprehensively and specifically. but unlike the other times i have been terrified by our coming dystopia, they had solutions to share with me, and they were able to point out what the false solutions were and why we needed to stop engaging in them.

they gave me a new commitment – to personally transforming my relationship with the planet, with sustainability. i mean – from what i eat to the very personal – they made it hard for me to flush a toilet because i know how valuable that resource of water is, and it’s become an issue we discuss in my family!

movement generation made me realize i had to learn to be an individual in community, in collective.

they have incredible tools – their 3-circle strategy tool shows that we need to move what the policies and practices we need from the idealist/visionary realm into the politically viable realm, while pushing false solutions out of the picture.

i got to facilitate the ecojustice people’s movement assembly at the us social forum with marirose and michelle, and witness strategy in practice as we aligned an ecojustice movement in the u.s. that is puts us into a real relationship with the global community, who have been waiting for us.

now, for the vision.

when i consider my vision, it isn’t a place, or a time in the far off future where everyone has a garden and kids running around and sunshine and rainbows and no conflict.

my vision is of a state of being, which means we can be that way now, we can be our most incredible vision now.

octavia butler taught us that “god is change – everything you touch you change, and everything you change changes you.” my vision is a world where we aren’t scared of change, but we know how to lean into change and manifest the kind of changes that help us to evolve (not stagnate, denying the reality of change).

we understand where change comes from, in my future. rather than what we have now, where we look at the judge who gave mesherle 2 years, or at obama for having an impossible time in an impossible job, or at democrats for not knowing how to organize, or the tea party for being so evil/scary…in my future we’ve stopped waiting for systems of oppression to suddenly radicalize and give up patriarchy and colonization. we look inward, at the root of change: ourselves.

(this is key because at this moment, we get upset about the wrong piece of the puzzle – we’re furious about the sentence for mesherle. but really, what would be right. would 20 years be worth the life he took? 50? no – no amount of time would restore rightness to this community. we have to practice, ourselves, new forms of justice.)

in my vision we value everyone, and everything – there are no wasted people, there is no “opposition” that can be written out of our community. we are oriented towards this essential value of all human beings from the beginning of our lives.

our entire economy and culture is oriented around those with the most need, because they have the most wisdom about being vulnerable, about needing others and needing dignity, and thus reaching for interdependence. right now we pride ourselves on how independent we can be – “i have my own house, with my own fence and my own car and my own everything”. but in the future we orient towards those with the most need, not those with the most ambition.

in my future NOTHING is owned. not people. not land. not anything. everything is a relationship – this is the oldest way of understanding the world, and it is what we must relearn. when you are in relationship with someone or something, you don’t just take from them until they have nothing left to give, as we are doing to the earth now. you give and take and sustain.

we begin by listening, as the allied media crew in detroit say. (everything in detroit is good). we don’t start with a 5-year strategic plan that can’t account for changing conditions – we consider listening a spiritual practice, the beginning of all strategy, all community.

in my vision, education happens through growing, creating, doing, apprenticing. it is laughable that people used to sit in rooms and be told about the world, instead of experiencing it – children are learning at all times how to steward evolution.

we think critically, we deconstruct, but only towards an end goal of creating and practicing solutions. otherwise, critique is seen as a wasteful, even toxic, pastime.

in my vision, community forms when people share a set of principles – not when organizations are clarifying their target areas for a grant, or politicians need numbers at the polls.

health, home, food, safety – these are the rights and responsibilities of your community, not something you have to compete with others to earn money to buy. note i said right AND responsibility – everyone has the right to it, but everyone takes on the burden of creating the possibility of that right for each other.

regeneration threads through every aspect of our thinking – not how are we creating something new, but how are we generating something new out of what we have. to that end, everyone wears awesome clothing like this (point to the sustainable trudy miller dress i have on!)

the last thing, and perhaps most important thing, is this: we see our words, our actions, our time, our lives as the GREATEST resource we have. not what we own or the market value on our properties, but simply the awe-inspiring miracle of our existence. we have breath, blood, imagination, reason – and that is enough. and our only work is to create more time for the evolution of our planet and our people, as we evolve.

we accept the miracle, and we accept the responsibility of being miraculous.

thank you for having me, good night.