The Spanish word guerrilla refers to warlike actions undertaken by small, independent groups of combatants in conflict with a large institutionalized military force. In a non-warlike context, guerrilla has come to refer to actions undertaken by small bands of individuals, usually in impromptu ways and without authorization.
The guerrilla action we propose for Radical Joy for Hard Times is a strike of art and beauty in a place that’s been damaged or neglected. Like guerrilla combat, it’s spontaneous, bold, and anonymous. It is also intended to address what’s wrong by using methods so unconventional that they attract the attention of other citizens, the media, and even corporate and government officials. But guerrilla beauty is in no way warlike! It is non-confrontational, compassionate, and always creative.
Guerrilla beauty is also different from other forms of art and environmental activism. You offer guerrilla beauty to a place that matters to you without expectation of payment, fame, or even thanks. Every person who’s present pitches in. Moreover, you and your fellow humans are only the first creators of this art. Wind, rain, animals, and even traffic will continue to dabble with what you’ve made after (or even during) the time you’re making it.
You do it because you continue to care about a certain place, even though it’s not what it was, and you want to show your appreciation and your sorrow for it.
There are many ways to make guerrilla beauty. The RadJoy Practiceentails four steps. Only #s1 and 4 are essential:
  1. Meet with friends at a wounded place
  2. Sit awhile and share your stories
  3. Get to know the place as it is now
  4. Make a Gift of Beauty
(Excerpted from Trebbe Johnson, 101 Ways to Make Guerrilla Beauty.)
You can join people around the world in making guerrilla beauty on Saturday June 12! That’s our 12th annual Global Earth Exchange, when we go to the places we care about that have been hurt and make wild, bold, beautiful gifts for them.

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:

  • 111ee531 2369 4022 A8de 709bdacf9d61: Yael Hartong-Ghera


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