When you close your eyes and picture Northwest Washington in 30 years, what do you see? RE Sources envisions a place that is ecologically restorative and socially just; where we collectively act to prevent the worst impacts of climate change and adapt to the changes we could not avoid. We envision communities designed to center the safety and thriving of those most vulnerable in our society, including our children.
That’s not where we are today. Today we task our children with navigating traffic, air pollution, increasing food insecurity, crushing climate anxiety and the looming threat of gun violence at their schools. At the same time, we are increasingly denying them the agency to discuss and explore their identities and their histories as if knowledge and curiosity are somehow the greatest threats they face. At RE Sources, we believe in educating people of all ages to contribute to their community, environment and the world in positive ways, with an emphasis on catalyzing the next generation of environmental advocates and leaders.
Violence is antithetical to our vision of a just and climate resilient future. By this we mean both the acts of violence perpetrated by individuals and systemic violence motivated by greed and the consolidation of power. We are committed to calling out violence for what it is when we see it, and to countering violence with education, advocacy and solidarity action with local allies.
We work to disrupt environmentally and socially unjust systems in pursuit of our vision of a climate resilient future. We know — through data, through stories, through our own history — that the violence inflicted upon our region’s lands, waters and climate is the same violence inflicted upon its people. It springs from the same wells as racist voter suppression laws aimed at disenfranchising Black and Indigenous people and other people of color today. It is the same violence that privileges unfettered access to assault weapons over the safety of our children. It is the same violence being inflicted upon the LGBTQ+ community and particularly trans youth through anti-gay and anti-trans legislation. It is the same violence aimed at stripping people of their bodily autonomy and reproductive rights, which will disproportionately harm Black and Indigenous people, other people of color, and low-income people by denying access to safe abortions. There is no sanctity in forcing birth in a society that intimidates and traumatizes its children.
Yes, much of our expertise is grounded in environmental science, education and policy. But we will never realize our hopeful vision for the future with a narrow definition of environmentalism. The exploitation of our planet is inextricably linked to the exploitation of its people. Power-holders present a false choice between jobs and the environment and then sacrifice both for short-term profit. They divide working people by race, culture, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, religion and political affiliation because it fractures our focus and dilutes our collective power.
An intersectional, multiracial, multi-generational, child-centered and inclusive movement for a climate resilient future isn’t only possible, it’s essential. It’s also essential that this movement upholds tribal sovereignty and treaty rights, incorporates traditional ways of knowing and prioritizes Indigenous access and connection to ancestral lands in restoration efforts. The work of transitioning off fossil fuels and restoring the lands and waters on which we rely is too important and too profound to achieve in isolation.
For too long we’ve been sold on the idea that a dystopian future is inevitable. It’s not. Natural systems derive resilience from diversity – remarkable webs of interconnectedness and interdependence. Nature rejects rigid binaries. Instead, life unfurls and regenerates in billions of unique and miraculous ways every day. Together we can heal ourselves by restoring and protecting nature and each other. We must keep growing, keep arching toward the light in a spirit of cooperation and generosity that shades out fear, hate and violence. That is our vision.