As a climate activist, it is easy to focus on what we don’t want: we don’t want fossil fuels, we don’t want environmental racism, and we don’t want our future to be stolen from us. But what’s hard is actually imagining what we do want. Imagining what the future would actually look like without all these different forces trying to kill you. However, I think in order to avoid burnout as an activist, your goals must come from a place of love, hope, and courage to change the status quo.
For me, vibrant communities look like they’re built for and from people, not profits and corporations respectively. Roads are meant for people not for vehicles. Houses are meant for people, not the highest bidder. Healthy food is meant to be eaten, not thrown away because folks can’t afford it. Resources are meant to be distributed, not hoarded nor thrown away.
In a vibrant community, people come together to address problems at their source. We make sure the power grid works for everyone and doesn’t take advantage of the most vulnerable. We make sure the community has all the resources it needs rather than enforcing an authoritarian military state. We make sure everyone has clean air and water and access to healthy food.
In the near future of my vibrant community, the Bay Area, air pollution levels are low throughout and there are no hotspots at places like Bayview and Richmond anymore. Tech companies take responsibility for their actions and they donate to low income housing, food banks, and jobs programs. The bicycle networks are expansive with bicycle highways that have replaced what used to be roads for cars. We started building communities vertically around the principle that everything that you need should be in a 15 minute walking radius. We began to care for one another above all else.
We can create these vibrant and resilient communities when we come together, stick together, and build together.
~ Costanza, 350 Bay Area Mobilizing Team Youth Leader