We envision a planet where people and wounded places are reconciled through acceptance, compassion, and acts of beauty.
A world where no part of the Earth is alienated from those who love it.
In this way, we recognize that all of nature is part of the cycle of life.
Our mission is to give people the opportunity to deeply connect with natural places that have been damaged through human or natural acts.
Spending time in wounded places, we expose our hearts to difficult feelings of loss and guilt; listen to the land and to one another; and open ourselves to possibilities for finding and creating beauty there.
Trebbe Johnson, Founder and Executive Director
Trebbe began thinking about bringing attention and beauty to wounded places in 1987, when she interviewed Oneida engineer David Powless and he told her of his belief that the steel waste he had received a National Science Foundation Grant to recycle was but “an orphan from the circle of life.” Before founding Radical Joy for Hard Times she pursued this work by guiding a week-long retreat in a clear-cut old-growth forest on Vancouver Island, British Columbia; leading a ceremony at Ground Zero, New York two months after the September 11 attacks; and leading a workshop in a burned forest. Trebbe is the author of The World Is a Waiting Lover, 101 Ways to Make Guerrilla Beauty, and Radical Joy for Hard Times: Finding Meaning and Making Beauty in Earth’s Broken Places, and many articles about people’s emotional and spiritual relationship with nature. She lives with her husband, Andrew Gardner, in rural northeastern Pennsylvania, a region currently under exploitation by natural gas companies.
Polly Howells grew up in the woods west of Boston and on the shore of southern Maine. She has trained and worked as a facilitator for the Pachamama Alliance’s “Awakening the Dreamer symposium,” was Board Chair and is still a board member of Bioneers, and is a core member of Woodstock NY Transition. She trained for ten years with Jungian Analyst Marion Woodman and her colleagues in a practice called BodySoulRhythms, and from this training she and two colleagues lead a five-day yearly retreat for women in the Berkshire Mountains called “Reclaiming Our Lives, Reclaiming Our Earth.”
Liz Hanna (MA, MT-BC) is a singer, composer, music therapist, and writer specializing in interweaving creative and contemplative practices to facilitate relational wellbeing. A graduate of Berklee College of Music (Music Therapy) and Yale Divinity School (Religion & Ecology), Liz integrates experience in performance, clinical work, sacred music, and contemplative ecology to explore how we receive and offer healing. With a particular focus on reconciliation, Liz’s work aims to help reawaken a more holistic sense not only of human interdependence with all life, but of the human capacity to participate in restorative relationship in a time of ecological degradation and deep uncertainty. Liz serves as the Spiritual Programs and Retreats Coordinator for Kairos Earth (Canterbury, NH), as well as the Executive Assistant for GoodLands and ARISE (New Haven, CT), and continues to sing professionally in the tri-state area.
Lizabeth Kashinsky is passionate about protecting Hawaii’s rare and endangered plants and animals and has worked in the field of conservation in the Hawaiian Islands for over 20 years. She spent several months living and working in the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, now Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument and a World Heritage Site. Inspired by her full immersion into nature and solitude there, she obtained a M.A. in Ecopsychology at Naropa University in 2012. In addition to her day job working for a program tasked with recovering endangered Hawaiian monk seals, she teaches yoga, leads nature based retreats and workshops, and facilitates The Work That Reconnects (WTR). She is a level I Purpose Guide and works with groups and individuals to restore connections to self, nature, and other. In addition to serving as a board member for Radical Joy for Hard Times, she serves on the board of Kure Atoll Conservancy, a 501c3 non-profit foundation dedicated to supporting habitat restoration and wildlife management programs at Kure Atoll in the Northwestern Hawaiian Archipelago, one of her favorite places on Earth.
Harriet Sams has been facilitating Earth Exchanges for nearly a decade. Her work in archaeology and ecotherapy have influenced how she offers these transformative, healing events. Harriet is a Druid with a background in Buddhism and Quakerism. Harriet loves to work with young people, blending environmental arts therapy, ecotherapy and landscape connection into workshops. She also leads walks in the north of England, specifically to introduce our shared heritage and wisdom traditions to participants. Harriet is a ritualist, celebrant, healer and yoga teacher. She is forever on the path of esoteric learning. She lives on the moors in the north of England
Radical Joy Earth Ambassadors is a council of volunteer-advisors from around the world who are dedicated to the principles and practices of Radical Joy for Hard Times and have been actively exploring ways to carry our message in their communities.
The Earth Ambassadors is both an advisory and an honorary group. Members:
- participate in special webinars to discuss important topics and have conversations with leaders in other complementary fields
- share ideas and concerns with one another via a private Facebook page
- offer feedback to the RadJoy board and director on programs and policies
- receive support for their work
is a master herbalist, nature educator, energy healer, and Avatar Master. She runs the Golden Light Center a place in the Missouri Ozarks where people come to learn skills for living in greater harmony with themselves, other people and nature.
Tom deBree affirms radical joy wrested from hard seasons, fear-filled wounds, awe-full experience, relationships and a 35-year vocation in ministry. Pastor, “interim” specialist, chaplain to hospital trauma patients, hospice minister—they challenged and channeled inward and outward spiritual work. He brings gifts and skills for processing deep change for individuals or systems and compass vision for a soulful and sustainable earth future.
is the founder and guide for mad4life Adventures in South Africa. She takes people on journeys into the wilderness, mainly in the world famous Mfolozi Game Reserve. These journeys provide the time and the space for a deep, life changing connection.
Polly Howells has worked as a facilitator for the Pachamama Alliance’s “Awakening the Dreamer symposium,” was Board Chair of Bioneers, and is a core member of Woodstock NY Transition. She and two colleagues lead a five-day yearly retreat for women in the Berkshire Mountains called “Reclaiming Our Lives, Reclaiming Our Earth.”
is a conservationist, ecopsychologist, yoga/meditation instructor, and Purpose Guide, who lives in Hawaii.
served the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition (OVEC) based in Huntington, West Virginia, beginning in 1992 as a Project Coordinator and retired as its Executive Director in 2016. Janet co-founded The Alliance for Appalachia (2007), a regional coalition working to end destructive coal mining practices and to create a just, sustainable Central Appalachia. She co-organized the first U.S. Central Appalachian Women’s Tribunal on Climate Justice held in Charleston, WV, (2012), presenting its findings at the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainability.
lives in Cape Cod, where he has been an active member for many years of Red Lily Pond Project Association.
JESS KOVACH is an Earth advocate, naturalist and nature guide in Central Florida. She is passionate to connect her community with the natural beauty of Florida’s rare ecosystems through reflective nature walks and planting native gardens. Jess guides with the heart and invites others to listen to their intuition and feel their connection with the Earth, themselves and each other. She practices Earth exchanges and water blessing ceremonies at home and while traveling.
As a former banker and co-owner of a specialty metals company, Joanne’s past complicity in the Industrial Growth Society is a powerful motivator for her present day Earth work. She is a Principal with East Vision Partners, dedicated to helping individuals and communities discover their ecological identities in service of creating a life-sustaining society.
HARRIET LOCK SAMS has worked as an archaeologist and landscape connections facilitator for years. She also has a background in adult education, especially in educating people about the prehistoric landscape of the north of England. Harriet has facilitated Global Earth Exchanges in places as diverse as Neolithic stone circles and fracking sites, connecting participants to the Earth beneath them through meditation, music and drums. Harriet is a passionate advocate of rewilding children through connecting them to our land and ancestors through archaeology and ecotherapy.
HAKIM YOUNG In 2004, Dr. Wee Teck Young, known now as Hakim, a Singaporean physician, left his medical practice and moved to Kabul, where he has been offering humanitarian and social assistance to those most affected by the war in Afghanistan. He is a mentor to the Afghan Peace Volunteers, a group of multi-ethnic Afghans dedicated to building nonviolent alternatives to war.
Gillian helps catalyze shifts of consciousness through digital marketing. Her work is gratefully in service of care for our selves, each other, and our shared planet. Both a listener at heart and results-motivated, Gillian translates her clients’ powerful intentions into impactful action. She reaches key audiences through digital platforms such as websites, email marketing, and social media. Gillian is tuned into digital trends and youthful audiences. She amplifies change through communication strategy, digital marketing, graphic design, and copywriting.
The Radical Joy Earth Council of Advisors is a group of people whose work has inspired, informed, and engaged Radical Joy for Hard Times, and who are as excited about the opportunities to learn, connect, and collaborate as we are.
Before Glenn Albrecht coined a word for it, few people gave much credence to the notion that ecological crises could cause psychological distress. But in 2003, Glenn, a professor of sustainability at Murdoch University, Perth, Australia, introduced the term solastalgia, meaning “the pain experienced when there is recognition that the place where one resides and that one loves is under immediate assault . . . a form of homesickness one gets when one is still at home.” Glenn’s work branched into many forms, including a TED talk, articles in the New York Times Magazine and the Ceylon Daily News, art exhibits from Australia to Arkansas, and even an instrumental by the British musical duo Zero 7. Glenn also has also published articles in the field of animal ethics and is the co-author with Dr. Phillip McManus of the 2012 book, The Global Horseracing Industry: Social, Economic, Environmental and Ethical Perspectives. Recently, in a precedent-setting court case, he helped residents of Bulga, New South Wales prove to a judge that a proposed coal mine expansion would cause severe ecological and psychological harm.
Daniel Dancer is a visionary conceptual artist whose work focuses on beauty and destruction in the natural world. While traveling in South America in the 1980s he became fascinated the famous Nazca Lines of Peru, ancient images that can only be comprehended from the air. He began exploring how these works could be meaningful in a contemporary context, and now, with his Art for the Sky, he works with schools and communities worldwide to create images composed of the people themselves, which he then photographs from on high. He is the author of Desperate Prayers: Artistic Adventures in Spirit and Ecologyand Desperate Prayers: A Quest for Sense in a Senseless Time, in which he documents twelve years of creating “eco-sculptures” with found materials in endangered eco-systems. As a photographer, he has shown his images of beauty in the midst of devastation in numerous galleries and publications worldwide, including the Sierra Club book, Clearcut, depicting the destruction of forests in North America. Daniel is also a singer-songwriter; his music is featured on his first CD, Wild is the Way, recorded with his band, Skysight.
Susan Griffin is an award-winning poet, essayist, playwright and screenwriter. Born in Los Angeles in 1943 in the midst of World War II and the holocaust, she was profoundly shaped by these violent events and has explored them in her work ever since. Her book Woman and Nature is an extended prose-poem. A Chorus of Stones: The Private Life of Warblends history and memoir, as does Wrestling with the Angel of Democracy: The Autobiography of an American Citizen, which investigates the state of mind that engenders and sustains democracy. A Chorus of Stoneswas a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Award and was named a NY Times Notable Book of the Year. Susan’s play Voices, which won an Emmy in 1975, has been performed throughout the world. In 2000 Utne Reader chose her as one of a hundred important visionaries for the new millennium. She recently co-edited an anthology, Transforming Terror: Remembering the Soul of the World, published in 2011. Susan lectures widely in the United States and abroad and teaches at the California Institute of Integral Studies and Pacifica Graduate School. She lives in Berkeley.
Larry Hobbs is a scientist with a well-developed sense of play and a passionate love for the natural world. He has been involved in marine mammal research and in teaching natural history for more than thirty-five years. As a whale biologist with the U.S. National Marine Mammal Laboratory, he worked on attaching radio transmitters to and tracking whales, manatees, otters, and other sea animals. He leads an annual expedition to the Sea of Cortes to watch the gray whale migration, an event he hasn’t missed in thirty-four years. For twenty years he was an adjunct faculty member in the B.A. completion program at Antioch Seattle, where he taught science as a field course. The rite of passage program that he developed for the Washington State 4-H Challenge Program is still ongoing, and he continues to lead teen groups and train adult leaders. He has been leading eco-tours to Antarctica for the Smithsonian and other organizations for ten years. In 2008 he was the recipient of the prestigious Horace Mann Award, presented to individuals who have won victories for humanity. He lives in a yurt on Bainbridge Island, Washington.
MEREDITH LITTLE FOSTER
Meredith Little and her husband Steven Foster brought the modern wilderness rites of passage movement into being. As co-founders of Rites of Passage, Inc. in 1976 and The School of Lost Borders in 1981, they pioneered new methods and dynamics of modern pan-cultural passage rites in the wilderness and created innovative practices of “field eco-therapy.” They have trained thousands of guides from southern California to South Africa. The essence of their work has been captured in articles, chapters of books, an award-winning documentary film, Lost Borders, and their own books, including The Book of the Vision Quest, The Roaring of the Sacred River, and The Four Shields: The Initiatory Seasons of Human Nature. Since Steven’s death in 2003, Meredith continues both nationally and internationally to guide and train others. Along with Dr. Scott Eberle, she founded a new branch of Lost Borders entitled The Practice of Living and Dying, to break the taboos and silence that pervade the subject of death and to help restore dying to its natural place in the cycle of life. Meredith is currently director of The Practice of Living and Dying, Lost Borders International, and Lost Borders Press. She lives in Big Pine, California.
With his perception of environmental waste as an orphan from the circle of life, David Powless was an early inspiration for Radical Joy for Hard Times. A member of the Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin, David is dedicated both to sustaining tribal traditions and to encouraging Indian people, particularly young people, to become successful and productive professionally. He began his career as a football player with the New York Giants and later with the Washington Redskins. Among the business ventures he has founded or led are ORTEK, an Oneida-run environmental laboratory in Green Bay; Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, where he served as vice president; and Bear Paw, an insurance agency for tribal governments. Currently update. Among his awards and honors are the Small Business Administration’s National Innovation Advocate of the Year Award in 1981 and induction into the American Indian Athletic Hall of Fame in Niagara Falls, NY in 2008. For many years he has taught tribal members a process he calls Rainbow Way Visioning Meditation, which bridges science, meditation and Indian Traditional Teachings. He lives in New Mexico.
Lily Yeh is an internationally celebrated artist whose pioneering work has brought beauty to communities throughout the world. A native of Kueizhou, China, Lily studied traditional Chinese painting in Taiwan before immigrating to the United States in 1963 to attend art school in Philadelphia. In 1968 she founded Village of Arts and Humanities in North Philadelphia, launching a national model of community-building through the arts as she and her colleagues from the community transformed a neglected, rundown neighborhood into a place of visionary splendor. In 2004, Lily founded Barefoot Artists, Inc., to bring the transformative power of art to impoverished communities around the world. In 2005 she launched the Rwanda Healing Project, working with female-headed families to create a Genocide Memorial Park to honor victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Another recent project was with the Dandelion School Transformation Project, created by and for the children of a school located in a heavily polluted industrial area on the outskirts of Beijing. Lily’s work, which has won many prestigious awards, has also impacted people in Columbia, Ecuador, Ghana, Italy, Ivory Coast, Kenya, and the Republic of Georgia. Her new book is Awakening Creativity: Dandelion School Blossoms.
Making a RadJoy Bird out of found materials—twigs, stones, leaves, sand, even trash—is the gift that many people offer to the hurt places they visit.
Here’s how the bird came to be our symbol.
Three days into the very first Radical Joy for Hard Times board meeting in 2009, one of our members suggested that we stop talking and instead try to arrive at our shared vision by making art together. We stuck several large sheets of paper together, then we all worked in silence, each person moving around the paper, drawing, pasting, writing, embellishing.
When we finished, we carried the painting outside to a little park across the street. At first no one could make any sense of it. Then Noah Crowe stood on top of a picnic table and exclaimed, “It’s a bird!” Instantly we all saw it: a crazy bird facing all the dark stuff of wounded places and striding into it, singing.
Every time people make the RadJoy Bird for a damaged place, they bring a spirit of joy, boldness, and transcendence both to themselves and to their place.