2/26 Sustainability Shortlist
My heart has been heavy this past week watching Russia's invasion of Ukraine unfold. Admittedly, I've been at a loss for words. I also have been taking my time offline reading and learning.
Even though contemplating the possibility of another world war is just over-worrying at this stage, we do know there have been, for decades now, brewing tensions in the background for a nuclear war among the major empires driven by their endless thirst for domination. This reality reminds me of the relativity of crises at different levels.
When I face interpersonal drama with friends, in the heat of the moment, I may feel entirely consumed by the friction. But then I might walk by a union protest fighting for less exploitative working conditions, or I might converse with someone whose lands have been devastated by recent wildfires, and I’d suddenly feel my initial concerns to be petty, paling in comparison to broader and more life-threatening societal injustices or emergencies others are dealing with.
In a similar way, thinking about the potential of war at the global level—generally speaking, by no means saying this is what is happening right now—made me question the relative weight of the issues that have felt like the biggest threats to our collective wellbeing, such as the climate crisis.
What if the escalating tensions for a nuclear war reached their tipping point before we even get the chance to come together and heal our existing wounds? What would reparations for amending historical harms even mean anymore when there are still active, seemingly unstoppable efforts to amplify and further the cycles of destruction? What would the pathway to decentralization look like when those most capable of mobilizing brute force to dictate the trajectory of the world are those who are the keenest on centralizing power?
These are just some challenging thoughts spiraling through my mind right now. It is yet another moment that makes me feel small—a time when I recognize my need to sit with the discomforts of uncertainty and to be okay with having more questions than answers.
So with humility, I’m sharing some of the most relevant resources on power and militarism that I’ll be revisiting this week.
Tyson Yunkaporta and I thought through the power vacuum together, questioning whether it is necessary to have centralized people’s movements (more prone to capitulation or being co-opted) to overtake centralized political power—and whether that would still just feed into upholding the same pattern of centralization. Tap in here.
Daniel Lim explores what it might mean to reconceptualize power, recognizing its different forms beyond oppressive, controlling power, and acknowledging the possibility of liberatory power. Tap in here.
John P. Clark on dreaming of a world beyond domination. Tap in here.
Nick Buxton and I covered the injustice of militarism and the relationship between the climate crisis and war. Tap in here.
Dr. Mark Vossler of Physicians for Social Responsibility expressed his concerns regarding the links between climate justice and the nuclear arms race. Tap in here.
Meanwhile, I am staying updated on the current events specifically pertaining to Ukraine-Russia through Democracy Now!, Breaking Points, independent journalist Glenn Greenwald, NYT live updates, and a mix of other outlets. Here is a general resource on ways to support humanitarian efforts in Ukraine (though as always, please prioritize supporting locally-led initiatives and remain critical of where international aid organizations are directing their resources).
Finally, below are three recent UPROOTED (live) conversations you can tune into.
I hosted a private, agenda-less chat with supporting subscribers of this newsletter last week. The organic topic that surfaced aligned closely with my piece on moving beyond binary reductionism. Listen to the group discussion here.
I chatted with some of the earliest friends I made in the online blogosphere this week. Tap in to hear how we’ve each evolved and pivoted based on our learnings, as well as our general concerns with influencer culture and navigating the reductive social media incentives. Listen here.
O’ahu Water Protectors Malia Osorio and Tina Grandinetti shared two weeks ago about the campaign to shut down Red Hill, which has been contributing to water contamination on the island. Listen here.
Note: Easily access the show via UPROOTED.LIVE using any web browser. The app in which the live conversations are hosted is now available on Android devices. More info on the weekly interactive show, an extension of this newsletter, can be found here.