When we first established the Louisville Earth Walk 5 years ago we had two clear purposes 1) Raise awareness around the important work of creating a green and healthy city and 2) Raise funds for the organizing partners – all local non-profits dedicated to environmental sustainability and fostering the connections between people and planet.
While the precise list of organizing partners changes a little from year to year, the majority remains the same. This year we welcome first time partner Our Earth Now, along side returning organizations: Project Warm, the Passionist Earth and Spirit Center, Louisville Sustainability Council, Louisville Grows, Louisville Climate Action Network, Kentucky Interfaith Power and Light, Kentucky Conservation Committee, Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, Greater Louisville Sierra Club, Food Literacy Project, and Cultivating Connections.
Together we offer a wide range of programs, activities and initiatives all in support of our shared mission this includes: training urban arborists how to plant trees in the city, working with inner city youth to cultivate extraordinary teen leaders empowered with the skills to live healthy and productive lives and to transform their food system and communities, providing advice and assistance to nonprofits that serve low-income communities on energy efficiency and solar energy, providing weatherization services to low-income households, seniors, and the disabled living in Jefferson County, providing nature immersion field trips to at-risk youth, fostering community gardens in the West End, providing sustainability grants that focus on low-income communities, protecting our water, air, land, people and planet by addressing the problems caused by fossil fuels, moving the city to a 100% renewable energy future, engaging youth in cultivating change, growing a more equitable and sustainable food system, helping the community to develop a deeper understanding of the connections between people and planet.
Together we support the primary areas for making change 1) Reinventing failing institutions, 2) Creating new forms and ways of being, 3) Interrupting harmful systems, 4) Supporting the necessary shift in consciousness needed for our species and planet Earth to thrive as one.
The Earth Walk partners, like those organizations inventoried in Paul Hawken’s book Blessed Unrest, are all contributing to a much larger movement. I think these comments from environmental pioneer and teacher Joanna Macy about Paul’s list apply here. “Each of these groups and organizations represents a yet vaster number of individuals who, in some way or another (and each uniquely in their own fashion), are hearing the call to widen the notions of their self-interest and act for the sake of life on Earth. In this defining moment, countless choices are being made, habits relinquished, friendships forged, and gateways opened to unforeseen collaborations and capacities.”
While joining in the Louisville Earth Walk is a fine way to celebrate the wonders and beauty of the natural world, it is also a great opportunity to participate in one of the most important and powerful movements of our times.