Our current moment is filled with despair about climate crises and the possibility of coming to any kind of agreement that might change the dire outcomes. In this important antidote to the paralysis of hopelessness, Shoulder to Shoulder offers hope and a path forward in telling the stories of communities in Western North America who learned to talk to each other and to solve the conflicts between stakeholders. Loggers, cattle ranchers, river keepers, corporate developers, tree huggers, and indigenous peoples from many tribes are just a few of the real people in these stories of hope for our climate. This book is for anyone wanting to make a difference, anyone looking for camaraderie with others of like mind, anyone believing that democracy requires engaged citizenship, anyone looking for hope. The message throughout is that progress can be made when large numbers of caring, involved, thinking, co-operative people come together to protect both democracy and a livable planet. By working shoulder to shoulder, we can make positive change happen.
Evelyn Searle Hess is the author of To the Woods: Sinking Roots, Living Lightlyand Finding True Home, winner of the Women Writing the West 2011 WILLA for creative non-fiction, and Building A Better Nest: Living Lightly at Home and In the World. Hess currently weeds, writes and watches wildlife in the Coast Range foothills southwest of Eugene, Oregon.
Chapter 1: From Conflict to Collaboration
Chapter 2: Community
Chapter 3: Borrowed from Our Children
Chapter 4: Converging on the Cove
Chapter 5: Getting It Together, Together
Sometimes in our despair at the world we forget just how many good people there are, working to make a difference. These powerful stories will inspire you to stay the course--or to get off the sidelines!
When people asked me, what can one person do? I used to answer, stop being one person. Now I will tell them to read Shoulder to Shoulder, Evelyn Hess’s powerful demonstration that what we can’t do alone, we can often do together. I can’t think of a more important message for our discordant times. Her stories of real-life collaborations are not only moving accounts of the hope and heartache of working across differences toward common goals, but also practical templates for change. Above all, they are stories of the joys and accomplishments that come when people resolve to create a common path forward. Evelyn Hess is a treasure.
Evelyn Hess tells stories of intention, commitment, learning, and success. The activists and eco-pioneers she interviews have pursued a variety of strategies, but they share one goal: a world in which human beings live in balance and harmony with the rest of life, and with one another. If there is hope to be found in these troubled times, it is in the life lessons of people like these.
In a series of vivid stories, Evelyn Hess scales up from her two previous memoirs of sustainable living to consider larger regional and planetary social and environmental predicaments and enlightened processes for policy-making. Hess’s approach here is fact-based, her message urgent and inspiring. Shoulder to Shoulder offers a powerful call-to-action to those who would undertake the difficult, visionary work of community-building.
Evelyn Hess’ book is a resounding endorsement of cooperation and everyone working to do the right thing. Shoulder to Shoulder identifies and documents what we, as individual citizens, need to do to preserve our existence on this planet. We all have a part to play and each of us has the power to make a difference. Hess has laid out how we can all contribute to the next generation. She has made a powerful argument and we all need to pay attention! The only way this works is with cooperation with all of the stakeholders. We all need to communicate and work together. We've got this!