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There are those who are trying to set fire to the world. We are in danger.

There is only time to work slowly.There is no time not to love.

—Deena Metzger 

So, here we are, at the beginning of another four years of the Bush Administration. For many, this may represent a challenge to our values, and place us in a position where we feel community health, environmental quality and social justice aren’t taken seriously…or are actively undermined. This has profound consequences for our communities, our country and our world, but it also asks that we reflect deeply on how we do our work.

However you feel about our current president, I know that all of us—no matter our political persuasion—are deeply committed to creating community, opportunity and prosperity. We must begin now to articulate a different response—to make this a world in which values triumph over vengeance, where hope takes the place of fear. This work starts in our hearts and minds, and in our communities and workplaces. If we are so moved, we must organize and get involved to provide a viable alternative to the agenda which has come to dominate our national discourse. Whatever your perspective, there is a different approach than simply fighting the perspective that is not your own. We see this challenge in our friendships, our families, our communities, our world. As the linguist and cognitive scientist George Lakoff has shared—to attack a particular frame only strengthens its power and appeal.

Like the great social change agents of our time—Martin Luther King, Gandhi, the Dalai Lama—our response must be one crafted from love and hope, hold high the virtues of civility, and provide a message of inspiration. Yes, there are fires to extinguish, but we must do so skillfully. For there are bridges to build—within our organizations, within our communities, and with those whose perspectives might differ from our own.  

This is the reason I started DIG IN—to work with people to both help them explore how they can work more effectively in their workplaces and communities AND provide creative strategies and new approaches to community-building and fostering a more sustainable society. We must work slowly and sustainably and never lose hope. Let’s use the beginning of a new year—and the beginning of another four years with a president we might not all support—to inaugurate our own commitment to working differently and more deeply to build community, create connection and fuel change.   

January 2005