Depending where you look, how you’re feeling in that moment, it can feel like the worst of times or an unexpected, blessed pause, often in quick succession, sometimes simultaneously.
The challenges we are facing, as a global community experiencing this novel coronavirus, are unprecedented in their reach. The ripple effects of the pandemic are shuddering through our economic, cultural, and social lives. The gross injustices that form the foundation of modern life are being revealed all at once; every weakness and structural inequity is on display, showing us how brittle, how dangerous, that foundation has become.
And yet. As Arundhati Roy said so fiercely in her recent article, this pandemic is “a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.” She says:
We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.
Some of us are living everyday moments that include less noise, more tenderness and active empathy, a renewed appreciation for relationships, nature, and what really matters. In those moments, we sense the opportunity to fight for this better version of our lives, for a more just society, for a planet that is thriving, beloved, and cared for, in balance with our needs (not our wants). Some of us are navigating chaos, grief, or we are staggering under the increased demands on our resilience, our health, our time. We reach out for help, or we offer help ourselves. It is a constantly shifting reality for everyone; we need to be flexible, grounded, and resilient.
Resilient: the word of the month. What does it take for a person, a community, a nation to be resilient? What attributes or tools do you need to possess to be able to move forward with vital energy, with hope, despite evidence to suggest it is time to strike the show and go home?
At Good Work Institute, we believe resilience shows up in healthy communities, just as it does in healthy ecologies, when things are balanced through interdependence and mutual care. When all living systems are understood as being linked, and made up of many, diverse, interconnected entities, striving for life, in collaboration with each other, we get resilience. If someone falls, it impacts all of us, the entire system, and we instinctively move to raise them back up. Leaving people behind is not resilience, ignoring suffering leads to collapse.
Just Transition, as a framework, is helping us make sense of what to do next. It ensures that as we make choices, build new systems, nurture our communities, and simply get through this endless spring, we do so with a clear understanding of the truth behind how it is all interconnected. If we focus on rebuilding the economy without also democratizing workplaces and communities, fighting for racial justice, restoring ecological systems, we will not be advancing towards a more just world. We need to nurture our cultures and traditions, feed our souls, to be together with love, ritual, and beauty, despite emergency measures and in addition to covering our basic needs. Leaving any of that behind will not lead us to Just Transition.
We are heading into unknown territory in the months ahead. At GWI, we aim to shine a light on the Good Work happening throughout the region, and support you in gaining the tools, insights, relationships, and resources you need to do your Good Work, in a context of collaborative, aligned action. We hope to provide the fertile ground for your own projects and your own development, in service to building the kind of network that will bring us through this crisis stronger and our communities closer to Just Transition. Please read below for all the ways you can connect with the Good Work ahead. We will continue to find ways to enact Just Transition in action and in practice despite the physical distance, building up the capacities we need to stay resilient through this spring of hope, and for the long run.
Aja, Caitlin, Hélène, Micah, Susan, and Terri
Worker Trustees of the Good Work Institute