Heard on the Street and in the Forest | December 2020 Newsletter
EAN activities are only possible through the support of individuals just like you. Thank you for your generosity.
Dear Friends,
The “story” of 2020 is that of a tumultuous year, in which we assessed our values, defended truth, upheld science, and fought to preserve our democracy. We’ve made it through this year together – even if socially distant. We approach the threshold of a new year with hope and commitment to each other, to our democracy, and to our precious Earth. BJ and Lynne
From the Street to Inform Us
Profiles in Democracy

How can elders promote and defend our democracy? How can we help our nation come together, build trust, and engage in dialogue rather than settle for condemnations and fear? Democracy is what we share – although its meaning may be blurred by the rhetoric of people on both sides who believe they are "right."

Elders have traditionally played an important role in spiritual and governing matters using the perspective that comes with our many years of life experience. We also understand the importance of values – integrity, fairness, and truth – upon which we base our actions. With that in mind, a group of EAN members will be discussing how we can publicly highlight those values and the individuals who exemplify them – who we are calling "heroes." By bringing public attention to these individuals, we hope to pressure other elected officials and appeal to the broadest possible cohort of citizens who can relate to these shared nonpartisan values that are the foundation of our democracy. 

We are researching other organizations for potential collaborations. These partnerships could help us leverage our impact while identifying courageous individuals and sharing their stories and values.

We are just getting started and would love your participation. Our next meeting is on December 16th. Contact Linda Warner: ldhwarner@gmail.com
Fig Tree Stories: Elder Tales 2020

A very old man is planting fig trees, and when asked why he is doing this, since he will never see the fruits of his labors, the old man responds, "I am not planting these trees for me but for future generations." This parable invites us all to consider some of our own stories and life experience.

D'vorah Horn Greenberg, brings together high school seniors in a memoir writing class with nursing home residents. She uses this parable to invite the elders to find their own stories, and plant "fig trees" for the future.

To get them thinking, D'vorah uses an example from her own life:
My mother grew up extremely poor, yet wanted to see herself as elegant and fashionable. She spent years trying to lose ten pounds to fit into the perfect dress. On her deathbed, she told me with great passion, 'Tell all your friends not to waste their time trying to lose that ten pounds, to love themselves as they are, and not to spend their lives trying to look like they think they are supposed to look.' So that's the message from my mom. And you will find yours.

She assures the elders that they will find some morsel of experience that will have meaning for younger people. Read more about this intergenerational experience: Fig Tree Stories – "Young people need you"

WHAT CAN YOU DO?
  • Consider, what are your "fig-trees" – the stories within your life experience – that you can share and plant with the younger generation.
  • What seeds can you receive from friends and family members who are your elders?

WANT TO MENTOR YOUNG CLIMATE ACTIVISTS?
EAN is working with Sage-ing International and a young activist from the Sunrise Movement to make connections between our "elder activists" and their young climate activists. Would you like to help with this project?
Contact Lynne Iser: LynneI@eldersaction.org
Do Just One Thing...
Sustainability Team suggests:
Sustainability Tip for this month
Humans are creating an enormous plastic footprint! Each one of us can help by refusing to buy single-use plastic items: bags, bottles, wrap, and so much more. Say "No Thank You" to plastic straws, silverware and take out containers by bringing your own. Watch this informative short video to support refusing single-use plastic.
Anti-Racism Team suggests:
Ask yourself how you would feel if these were the rules you needed to teach your children or grandchildren – with no guarantee that this would keep them alive?
What's Happening Within EAN?
Join One of Our New EAN Teams
See our website, and upcoming January Events Bulletin, for other EAN offerings
 
Writers, Editors, and Videographers (WEAV) Team
Do you like to write? Edit? Make videos? 
The WEAV Team wants you! Whether it's interviewing a fellow volunteer for a "personality profile" or writing bios for our website, writing Letters to the Editor, or posting nuggets on our Facebook page – our EAN community needs your help in communicating our goals, projects, and successes, both within EAN and to the public at large. Come to one of our lively meetings, share your ideas, and together we'll use our creative talents to build our network. Contact Sherie Stark: media@eldersaction.org
 
Engagement Team
Why do we join Elders Action Network? 
New members say they want to be part of a group of Elders addressing critical issues, making a difference in their communities, taking actions consistent with their values, and co-creating a community of care and connection. EAN wants to expand our ability to connect with our members. Join the Engagement Team to welcome new members, talk about their interests, and help get them engaged. 
Contact Anne Adams: aadams1@ix.netcom.com  
Welcome to EAN Webinar – New!
Friday, January 8
10:00 – 11:00 am PT / 1:00 – 2:00 pm ET

Are you a new member? Join us for a one hour gathering for new EAN members to learn about the work we do and how you might participate. This will be an in-depth introduction to our different action groups, an opportunity to meet other Elders and EAN leaders, ask questions, and determine how you might like to get involved. Learn more & Register
Elders Climate Action (ECA)
Winter Workshop Series
Federal Climate Policy: You Can Change It
January 19
3:30 – 5:00 pm PT / 6:30 – 8:00 pm ET

ECA members and others working at the national level will share their experiences in contributing to the Vision for Equitable Climate Action and the Congressional THRIVE Agenda (Transform, Heal, and Renew by Investing in a Vibrant Economy). You will learn how to set your priorities and target your efforts to have the most influence. Learn More & Register
Empowered Elder Workshop
Tuesdays: January 19 – March 2
10:00 am – 12:15 pm PT / 1:00 – 3:15 pm ET

Together we will grow a community of interconnected Elders during our seven interactive webinars. The Empowered Elder Workshop provides a safe space for Elders to explore and share deeply what is on their hearts about the world, the future and their roles as elders. We investigate what it means to be an elder, why the world today especially calls us to step up as elders to address the social and environmental challenges humanity faces. Learn More & Register
From the Arts to Inspire Us
Pale Blue Dot
Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us.
On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard, of every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and ….
…. To me, it (astronomy) underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.
–Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, 1994
From the Forest to Awaken Us
"There are no individuals. There aren't even separate species. 
Everything in the forest is the forest."
–The Overstory, Richard Powers, 2018
Big "O"
Robert Han Bishop

Last night, "Big O,” the magnificent alpha male wolf of the "arctic pack" at Wolfwood Refuge, passed away. Oakley had been the symbol of Wolfwood for many years. During his life, he gave "wolf love" to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of visitors young and old, who were delighted by his powerful body rubbing against them and kissing the faces of those brave enough to allow it.

His life was a gift, dispelling the ignorance and myths demonizing these magnificent and intelligent beings who live with more integrity than most of us. Oakley will be greatly missed by all of us who volunteer at Wolfwood Refuge.

Goodbye Great Wolf Being, your passage across the Rainbow Bridge goes with great love, along with the tears of the many touched by your life and powerful presence.
In Parting...
"Being fully present – to fear, to gratitude, to all that is – this is the practice of mutual belonging. As living members of the living body of Earth, we are grounded in that kind of belonging. Even when faced with cataclysmic changes, nothing can ever separate us from Earth. We are already home." –Joanna Macy
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