Written by Kristin Anton.

This article was originally written as a part of Overstory Alliance’s Library. To see the original version of this article, complete with a full Works Cited, check it out on our website.

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The genocidal roots of modernity

The world we live in is a product of genocide. Colonization and slavery were and are fundamental to European expansion, industrialization, globalization, and capitalism as we know it. The wealth of the Global North, corporations, and upper classes is accumulated through exploitation and cannot be maintained without it.

While the damage of colonization, slavery, and the destruction of the living world cannot fully be undone, the structures that uphold this exploitation can be dismantled, and ways of being outside the oppressive colonial system can be reclaimed. This process of uprooting the structures of colonialism and regenerating ways of knowing oppressed by this system is described with an ecological metaphor by Potawatomi scientist and writer Robin Wall Kimmerer. In her book Braiding Sweetgrass, Kimmerer compares industrial capitalism to a pioneer species. After a forest is clear cut, sunlight and space are abundant, enabling pioneer species to grow quickly. She writes that “the pioneers produce a community based on the principals of unlimited growth, sprawl, and high energy consumption, sucking up resources as fast as they can, wrestling land from others through competition, and then moving on. When resources run short, as they always will, cooperation and strategies that promote stability — strategies perfected by rainforest ecosystems — will be favored by evolution.” She goes on to draw an analogy between old-growth forests and Indigenous cultures, which, like old-growth forests, have developed in relationship to their environment over centuries. In her words, “if we are looking for models of self-sustaining communities, we need look no further than an old-growth forest. …

Written by Priscilla Trinh.

This article was originally written as a part of Overstory Alliance’s Library. To see the original version of this article, complete with a full Works Cited, check it out on our website.

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EAT LOCAL!

This is the vibe that permeates farmers markets, restaurants, supermarket chains, coffee shops, and entrepreneurial magazines. It’s printed on tote bags and proudly displayed on product packaging. It’s worn as backpack buttons and chanted at rallies.

It’s kind of a big deal — but also not.

Despite all the hype about food miles, farm to fork talk, and relocalizing our food system, eating local is not as straightforward as consumers think. In fact, in the U.S. food system, transportation accounts for only 4% of the energy consumed. On a global scale, less than 10% of GHG emissions embodied in most food products can be attributed to transport. …

Written by Priscilla Trinh.

This article was originally written as a part of Overstory Alliance’s Library. To see the original version of this article, complete with a full Works Cited, check it out on our website.

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Regenerative agriculture often combines crops, livestock, and forestry

The International Food Information Council Foundation’s 2019 Food & Health Survey found that less than 1 in 4 Americans had heard of regenerative agriculture, with 55% stating they had never heard of it but would be willing to learn more. Large companies, like Minnesota-based General Mills, are starting to catch on as well by investing in crop research to promote regenerative agriculture. Despite the recent buzz, regenerative agriculture has been in practice for thousands of years by a multitude of communities and indigenous peoples. So what is regenerative agriculture? Why is it important? And how does it differ from all the other -culture words? …

Written by Alexa Carlson.

This article was originally written as a part of Overstory Alliance’s Library. To see the original version of this article, complete with a full Works Cited, check it out on our website.

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We can think of governments as one would a species; the form of states evolved because they survived and reproduced in the past, but the future of any individual organism is not guaranteed. Modern states are a complex species that grew to depend on (rapidly-depleting) fossilized carbons for energy. As a complex species, states are more prone to devastation by natural events and more vulnerable due to their existence at the top of the food chain. Unlike other species, our states can predict with moderate certainty the coming events of climate change and ecological devastation. As a result, we have the opportunity to change our evolutionary path in order to better prepare ourselves for these events in the near future. …

Written by Charlie L’Allier.

This article was originally written as a part of Overstory Alliance’s Library. To see the original version of this article, complete with a full Works Cited, check it out on our website.

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For half a millennium, the capitalist experiment has waged war with the earth and its most ardent defenders, catalyzing a climate crisis while marginalizing large swaths of the global populace. …

Written by Keegan Robinson.

This article was originally written as a part of Overstory Alliance’s Library. To see the original version of this article, complete with a full Works Cited, check it out on our website.

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It’s a beautiful spring day and you’re walking through the streets of your hometown. Passing down the avenues of your childhood, you revel in the many sights and smells, nostalgic yet ever-familiar. In your wandering, you happen to find yourself at your old middle school, an imposing brick learning structure thrust upon the landscape with the typical architectural sensibilities of Cold War era infrastructure. …

Written by Alexa Carlson.

This article was originally written as a part of Overstory Alliance’s Library. To see the original version of this article, complete with a full Works Cited, check it out on our website.

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In the west, we are often taught history as a battle between democracy and communism, or liberty and authority. The easiest response for humans is to see the world through these oppositional dualities, yet the true story is more complicated — relationships between people are interdependent, rather than oppositional, since they’re based on shared responsibilities and built trust in the current system. The concept of money displays an example of interdependence because even at war, countries will be tied together through currency. Money is built trust in the concept of special paper as a medium of exchange that despite violence and outrageous debt, countries adhere to. Individuals are connected through these deep, interdependent webs of systems that, in sum, create global power dynamics and institutions that have deeply entrenched themselves in society. …

Written by Jake Marble.

This article was originally written as a part of Overstory Alliance’s Library. To see the original version of this article, complete with a full Works Cited, check it out on our website.

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And behold / The blue planet steeped in its dream / Of reality, its calculated vision shaking with the only love”

These are words you may never have heard. I’m going to let you go back and read them again.

Done it? Great. And here, now, are a few others:

“To see the Earth as it truly is, small and blue and beautiful in that eternal silence where it floats, is to see ourselves as riders on the Earth together, brothers on that bright loveliness in the eternal…

Written by Nikhil Khurana.

This article was originally written as a part of Overstory Alliance’s Library. To see the original version of this article, complete with a full Works Cited, check it out on our website.

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A green grassy knoll reaches out towards the vast blue expanse of sky, domed over the world. I lay at their intersection, feeling the cool embrace of dirt cradling me from falling into the infinite sea of wind and clouds. The vastness is filled by a brilliant, blinding light of flame piercing my body, held like an offering to a mighty god. I try to see, but my eyes falter as I flinchingly raise my hand. Immediate darkness and cool cover my face. …

Written by Jake Marble.

This article was originally written as a part of Overstory Alliance’s Library. To see the original version of this article, complete with a full Works Cited, check it out on our website.

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At first glance, there should be little reason for enjoyment. The going hasn’t been easy: you place one foot, then the other, and repeat — eyes fixed upwards, steel-toothed boots piercing thin wafers of snow cover and scritching against rimy rock. But you feel born of the mountain. Out on the climb, chasing high peaks, life feels good, feels… right. With each jab of the ice axe, your brain synapses fire excitedly like pistons; with each hot breath, the bitter air feels more tame. …

About

Overstory Alliance

We are a community that empowers people to reconnect with the living world and defend the future of life. Check out our work: http://overstoryalliance.org

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