“All we do matters,” wrote Judy Todd of NatureConnect NW after the Global Earth Exchange she and friends held for the Sandy River near Portland, Oregon last Saturday. And as people around the world showed at their own events, there are so many beautiful ways of doing something that matters, especially when you do it for a place that matters.
Stories and photos are still coming in from last Saturday’s Global Earth Exchange, and each one is a variation on a tale about compassion, courage, and creativity. Global Earth Exchanges this year ranged in number of participants from one to twenty. They were offered in honor of rivers, lakes, and seas; forests; parks; and an abandoned mine. An Australian philosopher laid a memorial rose on a dead wallaby. A child made a drawing of leaves and candy for an English wood. In South Africa, a woman fashioned a RadJoy bird for a neighborhood grocery that had burned down, and in California an artist led a workshop in which participants wove fabric to express their grief for the state of the planet. In Pennsylvania, a Haitian ceramic artist who spends summers teaching and working at Moscow Clayworks, sculpted a little RadJoy bird out of clay, and set it to nesting on a porch, where the rafters have dampened because of heavy rains this spring.
In all these places and more the message comes through loud and clear, as it does every year. When we have the courage to face hurt places, what emerges is a startling thing. It’s not depression or discouragement, as people sometimes imagine. No, it’s a burst of creative spirit that comes, unprecedented, from out of that twin weight we bear of sadness and of love.
Even though the day of the Global Earth Exchange is past, it’s not too late to participate. Go to a place you care about that’s been damaged or is endangered. Face what’s there, share your stories, and make a gift of beauty for it. Send it to us, and we’ll post it on our website with the others.
Trebbe Johnson

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.

Image Credit:

  • IMG 2831: Frank Goryl


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Radical Joy Revealed is a weekly message of inspiration about finding and making beauty in wounded places.