Happy Fall Daily Actors,

If there was ever a month of important climate action at all scales, September was it. Let’s keep the momentum rolling because the urgency is growing and our collective efforts matter immensely. From building your homescale resilience to supporting fire survivors and coming together with over 600 daily actors for our most important Ripple the World yet, October is picking up where September left off. So join us to get skilled, connected and nourished by the more healthy, just, climate resilient world being born.

With a profusion of fiercely inspired climate actions at all scales, the last three weeks were filled with what our world desperately needs. This ranged from youth-led global climate strikes to the first presidential climate debates to Sonoma County declaring a Climate Emergency and sooo much more. Not to mention Daily Acts’ first Climate Concert, because we can’t have true transformation without some music, art and healing, now can we? And in the face of so much, can our small actions at home, in the garden and community really make a difference? Spoiler alert…You bet your booty they can!

Sonoma County Declares a Climate Emergency

Following Supervisor Hopkins passionate call to action at our concert, myself and others spoke at the Board of Supervisors meeting in support of passing a Climate Emergency Declaration at the county while making it bolder and aligned with the climate science. In addition, we were excited that our partners at the Regional Climate Protection Authority are seeking to create a 10-year climate emergency mobilization strategy.

While I have been heartened by conversations with our next two Board Chairs, Supervisor Gorin and Hopkins, who are making climate a primary focus, the truth is that each of us has to show up and keep showing up. Never been to a council meeting or spoken at one? Cringe at the idea of speaking without “enough” expertise? YOU are especially needed! It’s all hands-on deck and only deeper civic engagement can drive the transformative change that is urgently required.

City Scale Action Creates a Ripple

The tangible impacts of community driven action are being felt locally. Two days after the county declared a Climate Emergency, and on the eve of the Climate Strike, the Petaluma City Council Chambers were bubbling with enthusiasm as over two-dozen passionate, skilled and diverse applicants to Petaluma’s new climate commission shared why they wanted to help our community address the climate crisis. After their presentations, as I hugged it out with our amazing new City Manager Peggy Flynn and slapped high fives with our Mayor and council members, I thought, “HELL YES. This is what transformation needs to look like and feel like: the whole community working together on our most critical issues”. Due to the city’s encouragement of civic engagement and openness in working with Climate Action Petaluma, we have helped spark a number of firsts including the first time they have ever had so many applicants for a 4-year appointed commission and the first time they had an open public interview process. And what a pool of applicants! We had state and national level experts in carbon farming and building decarbonization like Jeff Creque and Leadership Institute fellow Panama Bartholemy, as well as amazing climate justice advocates, faith leaders and a whole bunch of other rocking Daily Actors. Probably the biggest mic drop came when one applicant closed saying she was doing this for the baby in her belly…that was due that day! This is the power of community showing up and stepping up.

From Global to Local to the Garden

Months before, local Pastor Daniel Green and church congregants came by on their annual garden blessing procession. We chatted as they blessed our garden, and I told him about the new Climate Commission. I encouraged him to consider applying to bring a faith perspective. Then at the Forum Daily Acts co-hosted as a part of Climate Action Petaluma, he stood up in front of a packed room and committed to applying.

In such a stormy world, the garden is where I go to refresh, reconnect and make sense, and sometimes get blessed. This happens while weeding, journaling, meditating and being moved by the sighting of a now less frequent Monarch Butterfly. It happens when talking climate with a passersby, from pastors, to any number of friends, neighbors and agency partners. Affirming how this all fits from the global to the garden, the Center for Ecoliteracy notes that nature’s favored pattern is a network capable of self-organizing. And their top three lessons for leaders working in systems change are to foster community and cultivate networks; work at multiple scales and make space for self-organization. Where can you apply these lessons in life and change making?

Creating a Tipping Point

It’s been written that as little as 3.5% of a population can create a tipping point. But it can be less. In Petaluma, a city of near 60,000 people, a 6-person team rallied 100 folks to show up at a city goal-setting session. Another 400 signed a pledge to prioritize Equitable Climate Action. This has rippled out beyond the city limits as more local agencies declare a climate emergency. So while in the garden, I did some quick math… that’s 1 in 10,000 people organizing, 17 in 10,000 people showing up and 1 in 225 people signing up. Way less than 3.5% of the population! With the right effort in the right place at the right time, anything is possible. Now is the time. This is the place. You are the missing ingredient. What’s your piece to contribute? 

For 18 years, Daily Acts has been delivering a positive message, not one based in fear. But if we look at the science and our world with honest eyes and an open heart, fear is a healthy response right now. As Margaret Solomon Klein has written “Only a truth-focused strategy holds the potential for societal transformation on the massive scale that is necessary to protect humanity and the natural world…This truth, while deeply unwelcome, has the potential to be the most powerful, transformative truth of all.”

What do you need to stay awake, engaged and sustained? Some of how our hearts heal and regain their power is talking with others, taking action where we can and getting civically engaged at a range of scales to bigger and better your ripple. While there is much hurt and urgency in our world, it’s incredibly heartening to see this rapidly growing climate movement, both globally and right here in our county, our cities, our neighborhoods, and even our gardens.

What we need is you, showing up, speaking up and stepping up. The most important way you can help Daily Acts continue to do the same is by coming to Ripple the World, being a table leader (interested in being a table leader? Contact marie@dailyacts.org) and bringing other world-changers with the capacity to fuel this vital work. Can’t make it? Please donate generously and encourage others to do the same. I myself have donated an additional $1,000 to Daily Acts this year and am upping my donations to local groups as well as national ones like 350.org and Sunrise Movement. Whether financial or otherwise, what’s your stretch? How will you take heart, take part and take action?

In Immense Gratitude and Hope, I reside,

Trathen Heckman

Executive Director