While out on book tour—from Tucson to Santa Fe, and tonight, at Prescott’s Natural History Institute with the Peregrine Book Company—I palpably hear people deeply worried about whether our country can heal from all its recent traumas. Yes we need to vote, to resist dangerous policies and to mobilize our neighbors to be active in hearings, voters’; registration and political actions—but we also need ways to come together, listen and engage with those who we presume to be our adversaries, opponents or devil’s advocates.
You could wave a magic wand tomorrow and get a new president, a new supreme court, and a new congress, but our country would still be deeply divided. To walk into the radical center is a gesture of peace needed now, more than ever. And the best way I know to get beyond adversarial ideological stances is to work with one another—in the field, in the trenches, in the soup kitchens, working to recover the health of the places, species, crops seeds, livestock breeds, and human communities which have been most depleted by neglect, inadvertent damage and “no-way-we-could-see-around-it” disruption.
When we are sowing seeds, planting trees, building check dams or serving food to the poor, our humanity and kinship with the other-than-human-world speak louder than our ideologies. Bless all who do this work daily, whether we notice it or not, for they are the true peacemakers.
-Gary Paul Nabhan