Finding Common Ground

The Editorial Director of MOTHER EARTH NEWS urges readers to find commonalities with others to work toward solutions for the issues we face.

| April/May 2018

It’s winter here in Kansas, and this season has been a wild ride; 70-degree temperature swings have become almost routine. With the short days and reduced outdoor chores, I’ve managed to study some of my favorite topics, including what makes people tick — particularly, how people identify with specific schools of thought. My recent focus has been on the nuances in the worlds of sustainable agriculture, regenerative agriculture, organic agriculture, clean food, environment, pollinator protection, and related arenas.

I don’t have a particularly rosy outlook when it comes to our food, agriculture, and environmental poisoning issues — all of which directly impact our health issues. Part of my despair comes from seeing various schools of thought so deeply invested in some fix that they spend significant energy discrediting other suggestions put forth by other schools of thought. What a total waste — a waste that converts positive momentum on multiple fronts into a quagmire where virtually everyone spins their wheels. Folks can be so attached to their labels (regenerative ag, sustainable ag, organic, permaculture, and more) that they lose sight of the target they’re all at least partially aiming for.

Each movement that’s aimed at solving some of our earthly issues has its own tenets. And while it may be true that in some cases there’s little to no practical overlap in those tenets, there is not, and never will be, a magic bullet that will become the universal fix. There are many approaches, and if we want to work toward material solutions, we had better find the common ground that will help us support one another’s efforts.

Wars have been fought over religion, race, politics, you name it. If we wish to preserve what’s left of this Earth, it might be time to find those little patches of common ground, come together there, and see how the conversation can lead us to real and lasting solutions, not just the furthering of our own agendas. So let’s hold hands, accept our differences, and jump off the cliff together!

If you like to while away your evenings reading, studying, thinking, and planning, I’d love to hear what you’re into — and if you’ve been especially successful at bringing diverse groups together to find any sort of common ground, I would love to learn of your work. As always, feel free to send me an email at, and maybe we can compile a list of solutions in a future issue of the magazine.

See you in June,

3/5/2018 8:02:48 AM

Oscar I agree that we all must come together to solve problems. With sharing info Mother Earth News does a great job at that. Growing food for our families and friends, selling food to make a living and sharing inexpensive ways of doing should be all of our jobs. I myself share how instead of just pruning back trees, I use those branches to create new trees for pennies. Then in turn give some of the fruit trees, nut trees and shade trees to those who want to grow their own. It's like instead of cutting 30 branches off of a tree to mulch, your creating 30 new trees. This also works for rose bushes, grape vines and so much more. I have a friend that has a grape vine that was planted in the 40's and the branches are huge! I will have over 100 plants with this one and they will all produce grapes the first year!! Love to share what I do!

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