Notes on nourishing activism

The second principle of the Earth Charter addresses the need to care for the community of life with understanding, compassion, and love. This triad is ultimately essential, yet it is challenging to experience and uphold when much of the current state triggers cognitions and emotions that are incompatible with understanding, compassion, and love.

A Yes! Magazine contribution reposted on Bill Moyers’ site met me precisely where I was, acknowledging that, “Many of us are feeling a sense of fatigue, after months and months of threats to civil liberties, human rights and the integrity of our institutions.”

This then invites the question of how can one sustain activism over the long term. Even the most indefatigable among us can benefit from the teachings of philosopher and social activist Grace Lee Boggs, whose basic implorations to come alive, connect (particularly with those we see as enemies), and care by widening our circles of compassion – approached here through the lens of mindfulness – lay the groundwork for nourishing activism that can sustain us. Anger is the coal of emotion; we cannot deny that it has a place in energizing human behavior, but the costs of extraction are too high and the burn is too dirty to keep us going.

In warmth and gratitude,


Andy Fry