What if a community could create the better world it wished for, where all people, communities and ecosystems could live well? Each person, animal, vegetable and mineral valued; essential to the whole. What if living vocationally was the way one contributed to the local and global community? What if the collective gifts of a community could meet all its needs? What if a community could transcend injustice while living in it? What if a community revered its diversities in sex, race, orientation, abilities and cultures because its citizens were rooted in their landscapes – the commonplace to which all belong – the story of global indigeneity that makes us one…
Our educational and economic systems are at odds with sustainability, peace and justice. It is well documented that post-secondary education is implicated in the ecological crises of the world. Instead then, education could be for a reconciled and restorative Earth. Education could be measured by the extent to which its human community and natural community was just and sustainable. What does this mean for Augustana and other western educational institutions that determine our economies, food systems and society? What does this mean for us as food-growers and food-lovers? What if our local communities and landscapes were the context through which and for which we learned, taught and served?
These answers lie in our decision to gather as a broken community committed to hope. It is time. We have reached the edges of our institutions and structures. Injustice and suffering is increasing, millions are dying, the Natural World is disappearing. All communities, cultures, homelands, neighbours, religions, nations, and generations of the world are set to live at the expense of each other.
But, together, a community is capable. Through history and around the world, communities have transformed unjust systems and societies into ones that are reconciled and restorative. Hear the stories of these communities and practice the pedagogy they propose.
These communities affirm that the roots of our ecological crises are the disconnections between each other, ourselves and our local landscapes. The diversity and differences which currently divide can instead (like a Natural prairie ecosystem!) be a community’s resilience and vibrancy. Thus the humble act of being, seeing and working with each other and places again is, though beyond modern conceptualization, the transformative act of peace! That is all and everything we are capable of.
Witaskiwin – “living together with the land.”