On Overcoming Monsters.

Today is the last day for the Twin Cities Summer of Solutions program.

I began this program feeling like it was an exercise in “seeing what is to come.” Back in January, I decided that I wanted to work more intensely on issues of environmental justice than what I was working on at the time, as it felt more sustainable and more exciting. Since then, it’s been a practice in working Zen: be here, now.

That is all I can do. While the planet weeps, and the coal industry battles with clean industries, and people everywhere cry out against injustice, I am here. In the presence of such sweeping injustice, I am here.

Change that signifier, this ain’t no “I,” it’s a we! We are here, in this moment. We take it in, see what needs to be done, and do it. Our actions may not be quiet, but they are powerful.

And in the face of the climate deteriorating, water drying up, fields taken over by monocropping, food disappearing, violence pending, erupting, and continuing, terrorism, racism, sexism, homophobism, jobs-loss-ism, jobs-denied-ism, greed-ism, corporatism, war-ism, hope-ism?

We are solutionism.

Mouths screaming, muscles wrenching, mind whirring, we are the solutionism. And the only way to stop being eaten by this huge machine of society, the only way to maintain ourselves in the face of the monster is to think true, and be here, now. Take it one big step at a time, but that’s still just one step. Work on many projects, they’re all different steps you can take in a day. If you stare down the overwhelming monster (a monster that haunts people everywhere, formidable, with sharp teeth and quick eyes), stare it straight in the face, and bellow “I am not afraid of you!”, you will do it.

And it might be an epic journey, like Frodo with the Ring (our ring is one of power too, if you catch my drift). It might be one small footstep for the multitudes. But that will lead to another. And another. And another.

In this moment we find the crux of the matter: that we are the ones to do this.


I was going to end this post on that note, but decided against it ultimately. I want to circle this back to the Summer of Solutions in particular.

This experience has allowed me to see that I can do this. That I won’t be crippled by anxiety, and that I have the power within me to push and sustain myself through the movement.

Looking back on myself of a while ago, myself of last year, even myself of the beginning of the summer, I am a different person now. I am more empowered, much happier, and better able to do these things. I have found a community of excellent people, and will most definitely be continuing to work with them in every aspect possible.

I think what I’ve put the most energy into this summer, regarding SoS, has definitely been the national strategic planning. I want to continue to do that. I will also continue to work with ARISE this coming semester – helping Emma develop a website, putting together more detailed energy plans for the site, and getting ready to get more people involved in the ARISE vision.

I hope to keep in touch with everyone from SoS TC, and of course I’d love to keep in touch with those of you I know from other programs. This is not the end at all; it’s the beginning of the next phase.

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