Finding Common Ground

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Come together, join hands and search for a solution.

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 HWill@MotherEarthNews.com, and maybe we can compile a list of solutions in a future issue of the magazine.

See you in June,

Hank

Support Sustainable Agriculture

To aid a solutions-based organization, check out The Cornucopia Institutea, which supports economic justice for family-scale farms and conscientious consumers. It does this by backing sustainable food production; conducting research on agricultural issues; and providing much-needed information to consumers, family farmers, and the media.