Jo Huxster first came to Radical Joy for Hard Times in a most unusual—and so far unprecedented—way. She and her now husband, Toby McCabe, made the Global Earth Exchange part of their wedding.
Now a teacher at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida, Jo has introduced the students in her Climate Change Communication class to the Global Earth Exchange each year. In the past, they’ve shared their personal thoughts and feelings about climate change and then explored and made beauty for the disappearing Florida coastline that rims their campus.
This year, because the coronavirus kept everyone at home, Jo asked the students to do their Earth Exchange wherever they could. Their responses were varied, thoughtful, and creative. Two examples are below. To read more, as well as Jo’s explanation of why she feels the Earth Exchange is an important culmination to her class, read her blog. (Scroll down to the May 4, 2020 post.
 

Global Earth Exchange art by Claire

“Skaket Beach, Orleans Massachusetts. This beach is one of my favorite places on the Cape to watch the sunset. The bay you see in the picture is becoming more and more of a wounded place. It is experiencing loss of biodiversity and pollution. My friend and I met here to go for a walk, and made this heart out of seaweed along the way. It was almost therapeutic to stop and take this small action in nature. There was no litter to be seen on the beach, and although the bay is a wounded place this reminded me that it can get better.” —Claire

“For my reflection activity, I simply chose to step out to my porch. It overlooks a small garden in our front yard, and in our quiet neighborhood on a sunny day, it’s the perfect place to sit and think for a while. I brought a speaker outside, because music always helps to get the brain working. I sat on the ledge, feet dangling above the flowers and trees, and I did absolutely nothing for an hour and a half. It was a perfect way to clear my head and get in a better state of mind; the flowers smelled nice, there was a lovely breeze blowing through, and there were various birds chirping and bees buzzing around. As time went on, I began to look around for materials to construct a bird out of … All in all, this was a very calming exercise, and I would absolutely do it again. —Sam (Sam’s RadJoy Bird is pictured above)
Jo Huxster and her students remind us that, no matter what is going on in the world or in our own lives, there are always abundant ways to find and make beauty!

Trebbe Johnson
Trebbe JohnsonFounder
Trebbe is the author of The World Is a Waiting Lover and 101 Ways to Make Guerrilla Beauty. Her new book, Radical Joy for Hard Times: Finding Meaning and Making Beauty, will be published in Fall 2018 by North Atlantic Books. Her articles about people’s emotional and spiritual relationship with nature have appeared in Orion, Sierra, Ecopsychology, The Ecologist, The Nation, Harper’s and other magazines. She lives with her husband, Andrew Gardner, in rural northeastern Pennsylvania, a region currently under exploitation by natural gas companies.

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