Commoning and community, a meeting in Eindhoven

On the last day of May, blessed by the weather, WEGO mentor Chizu Sato and I, Nanako Nakamura, visited a farmhouse surrounded by woods and bush in the middle of fields on the outskirts of Eindhoven to discuss the role of surplus in community building and a transformative potential of commoning with a group of food design students from the Design Academy Eindhoven. We were invited by Arne Hendriks, who is an artist, researcher, and founder of the Harahachibu-University. When we got there, the seminar turned out to be in the open air, chickens and dogs running around. Some of the students are living the house and around the area, forming an inspiring permaculture community with their neighbors. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, they opened the farmhouse for collective learning to design food and imagine life in different ways.

The seminar started with eating home-made soup. It was made of ingredients, such as vegetables, fruits, and herbs, brought by students. These ingredients are surplus from their own households and cooking and eating together support the production and reproduction of a food commons. Chizu talked about surplus production, appropriation and distribution in the modern economy and how they are organized differently in capitalist and non-capitalist class processes. The discussions went into prevailing capitalist narratives in relation to planetary boundaries, gendered social relations, social justice, populism, media ethics, all of which influence our consumption choices and decisions in our everyday lives. Commons and its transformative process of commoning were also brought into the discussion as important frameworks to describe the creation of more sustainable and healthy communities.

As an example of commoning, I introduced a case from my research about women’s buckwheat (soba) cultivation on unused rice fields in rural Japan. Due to the political encouragement for rice supply reduction since the 1960s, rice cultivation has been remarkably declined in many rural areas. As a result, increased numbers of unused and abandoned spaces have raised concerns about deteriorating agroecosystem, biodiversity, and rural landscapes. In my case study, these dormant rice fields were utilized by the local women’s for buckwheat cultivation, to make locally produced soba noodles as means of rural revitalization and multi-species survival. This soba commoning demonstrates how these women are interacting with other community members, state actors, consumers, and non-human earth others, e.g., soba plants, rice, fields, surrounding environment, to live well in rural aging and depopulating context. Also, it highlights the process of making a socio-ecologically sustainable community, where physical and emotional struggles are entangled, and challenges are emerging from social, economic, political, climatic, gendered aspects of rural communities.

The seminar closed after sharing insights and challenges, such as finance, shared/unshared ideologies, and harmonization among community members even though we did not come to any conclusion. Sharing my case study and exchanging thoughts was a wonderful experience for me in these difficult times.

Post-credits scene: When we were about to leave, one student came to me and asked me a question whether I have watched Tampopo, the Japanese film. According to her, my talk reminded her of the film. Yes, it is perhaps comparable to my soba case because it depicts relational processes revolving around Ramen noodles in a constellation of relationships, conflicts, emotions of differences with unique human and non-human characters.

Seminar: ‘Imagining Abolition Ecofeminism(s)’ is now online

Giovanna Di Chiro, Professor of Environmental Studies at Swarthmore College and WEGO-ITN partner, spoke on April 29th on an ISS’ Development Research Seminar. She discussed approaches to community-based research and pedagogy that integrate abolition feminisms and anti/de-colonial and environmental justice activism.

It this seminar, Prof. Di Chiro proposed imagining and practicing more just and care-based forms of ‘sustainability’ in the face of the growing, and interconnected crises of poverty, dispossession and climate disruption. She was introduced by WEGO-ITN’s coordinator, Prof. Wendy Harcourt.

You can now watch the talk here.

 

 

Call for contributions for “Spaces of Possibility”- Conference and Exhibition

Our colleagues at RECOMS, a Marie Skłodowska-Curie ITN that started around the same time as WEGO and covers fairly similar topics, are organising an international confex (Conference + Exhibition) in Brussels from the 7th till the 11th of June 2021. The event is titled ‘Spaces of Possibility: communities and places in times of social and environmental uncertainty’ and is open to anyone who is interested in the themes of community-driven transformation, socio-environmental justice and creative methods. The programme will include exciting keynotes, creative workshops, interactive sessions, a policy roundtable and guided tours of the exhibition.

Do you want to be part of this compelling programme by presenting your work, facilitating a workshop or initiating a debate? The call for contributions (presentation & full session proposals) is now open! The thematic tracks are:

  • Systems and structures
  • Representation and justice
  • Material places and embodied practices
  • Sustainability research as co-creative practice

For more info on the themes, deadlines and other practicalities, visit the event’s webpage:
https://recoms.eu/content/recoms-confex

 

COVID-19 NOTE: Please note that the event is planned to be organised in-person adhering to strict safety and health regulations. However, if this will not be possible in light of further development of the pandemic, the conference part of the programme will be held online. The event will under no circumstances be cancelled or postponed.

Meeting and Caring with a group of feminist activists in Indonesia

Cancelled weddings, work challenges, homesickness, menstruation talks, loss of friends to Covid-19. Even with all the hardships, our enthusiasm at the Ruang Baca Puan Collective did not subside to promote activism and cultivate feminist literacy.

Since last year, I have initiated, along with local activists from Java, Kalimantan and Sumatra Islands, the establishment of Ruang Baca Puan Collective’s, as a reading room and literacy collaboration for Indonesian women. On January 23 2021, the Ruang Baca Puan Collective had its first meeting in 2021. We are composed by ten women of different ages, professions, religions, education, and from different island, who are united by activism and feminist literacy.  Unfortunately, two of the members were unable to join the meeting: Fiqoh, a very busy labour union leader, and Sartika, who had to deal with her early pregnancy. The rest, eight of us – four people in Samarinda and Bengalon, East Kalimantan province, one person in North Sumatra province, two other people in Jakarta, a WALHI / Friend of the Earth Indonesia activist and a high school student, and I, myself, in Passau, Germany. Together, we coordinate the Collective, including organising an ecofeminist Literacy Course which will start next month.  It seems the COVID-19 pandemic has created a more shortened space and time through online platforms. The boundaries separating global and local community become thinner and even borderless, as if the air or the landscape that is originally not limited by administration.

The online meeting began with collective “care”. We shared news on what we are going through, so that we are aware and supporting one another, if needed. I use the term ‘care’ not in the shallow meaning when it translates to ‘peduli’  in Indonesian language.  ‘Care’ here is in the context of ‘politics of care’, it is beyond the meaning of “peduli”, which sounds more superficial. It is ‘care’ in a more political sense, for instance, I became an activist because I care for myself (self-care), my community, and nature. 

The collective ‘care’ was a fun and emotional part, there were many stories told. One of the members said, “I haven’t had my period for 8 months.” She then reflected on why her body reacted this way. As it turned out, this was because of her lifestyle that has changed slovenly, irregular eating, eating junk food such as soft drinks, and lack of sleep. Recently, her gout has recurred so her family was worried and took her to the doctor. However, after she changed her lifestyle into a healthier one, her body began to make peace with herself. She was celebrating the return of her menstrual cycle. 

Image: Voni Novita

Another member said that she has grown a keen interest in growing plants since she has to work from home due to the pandemic. We’re shown pictures of her small yard that looks nice and green. She has become increasingly paranoid because COVID-19 is now close to her family’s circle. The collective members who live in East Kalimantan also feel the same way. Interestingly, there are many COVID-19 clusters around coal mining sites, where many people come and go. One of the company contractors of Kaltim Prima Coal, the largest coal mine in Indonesia, is known to have more than 1000 employees affected by COVID-19. Unfortunately, these clusters have not been widely discussed because they don’t want the money machines for the oligarchs to decrease. Despite the workers falling sick, the extraction machines don’t stop. 

The capitalist economic system has always found its way to increase profits in the midst of crisis. I remember the protest against Omnibus Law in Jakarta and around Indonesia in October – November last year which was ratified by the central Government and Parliament in times of pandemic. This law is a legal product  that will make it easier for mining companies to access permits, operate without proper Environmental  Impact Assessment, and even get free royalties. In the meantime, the local communities who live in the area where the natural resources are continuously extracted, have to suffer multiple times. The Mining Advocacy Network (JATAM) in its report last year stated that the local community had been hit by mines, and now were being hit  by a global pandemic.

Another interesting story shared in our meeting is about healing after a failed wedding. One member of the collective told us, “In the last two months my life has been so hard, it’s like a roller coaster ride,” she said. She failed to get married last year, and had to heal not only herself, but also her family. On important note, she and her partner consciously agreed to cancel the wedding even though the invitation had been spread out to the public. At least she managed to calm her family down and made peace with herself. I was glad to hear her story about finding a way to heal her mother by keeping her busy planting ornamental plants at home. “The key is buying her flower pots and providing her flower seeds,” she said. I was even amazed to hear that she decided to attend her cousin’s wedding, who got married for the second time. She has prepared herself to answer the stigma of unmarried women or women who failed to get married. She had expected the conversation to turn out to be, “Your cousin has been married twice, you even failed to have one.” I agree with her, a big smile is the most civilized way of responding to that sentence in a society that considers marriage as an obligation, the end of achievement, promotion to higher degree and noble path to heaven.

Even so, there was a member of the collective whose activities remained unbothered. Her name is Delvi. I met her in Central Kalimantan last year. At that time she was an activist for Women’s Solidarity. Now, she is in Brastagi, North Sumatra. Even when we met online, she was at her mother’s coffee shop in a busy traditional market in Brastagi. Every now and then she would stop the conversation because he had to serve the customers. “There are lots of talks in this coffee shop, from gossip to politics,” she said. Her relationship with customers is very close. “We can even ask for free vegetables or fruits, if their goods are kept in the shop,” she added.

I, in Germany, had a very different story. I am studying Feminist Political Ecology  with the chair of Comparative Development and  Cultural Studies at University of Passau. In the past week we’re required to wear N95 masks on public spaces – any kind of cloth mask is prohibited. All shops including restaurants are closed since before Christmas, and only raw food stores are open. The school’s teaching and learning system is conducted online, although some offices are still open, they are recommended to work from home. As predicted, the winter season has made it difficult for the number COVID-19 cases to fall. Europe is now entering the second wave of COVID-19, including Passau, a city where I live with a population of about 50 thousand people, located on the German-Austrian border.

Even though there are those who failed to get married, had their menstruation stopped for 8 months, unable to return to their hometowns, and lost their close friend because of COVID-19, our collective enthusiasm with the Ruang Baca Puan Collective  does not subside to promote activism and cultivate feminist literacy.

The Ruang Baca Puan Collective  was originally a reading group of Vandana Shiva’s works, which consisted of  environmental justice activist part of  the networking of TKPT, JATAM and JATAM East Kalimantan. Last year, we discussed Vandana Shiva’s books on ecofeminism, including a critique of the essentialization of women’s roles. This discussion then inspired us to share knowledge through the Women Reading Room which was made opened to young girls in summer 2020. There were around 119 participants who registered and only 20 people were selected to take online classes from June to September 2020. Some of the alumnae later joined the Ruang Baca Puan Collective and will organise the first feminist literacy course in the rain season January – May 2021. Last week, they held a book discussion of “Feminism for the 99%, A Manifesto”. We are proud to be able to do it collaboratively and collectively. 

 

What does the Ruang Baca Puan Collective do? Visit our website on www.pejuangtanahair.org   

Covid-19 pandemic and oil spills in the Ecuadorian Amazon: The confluence of two crisis

How can we reframe the current planetary crisis to find ways for decisive and life-changing collective action? The Amazon region of Ecuador, at the center of two crises –Covid-19 and a major oil spill–, but also home to a long history of indigenous resistance, offers some answers.

Navigating two crises

In Ecuador, the intensification of resource extraction and pollution, floods and weather disturbances have hit hardest marginalized populations. Indigenous peoples and people living in the Amazon have continuously suffered an enormous political and economic disadvantage when confronting extractive industries and allied state bodies. The vulnerability of the peoples and territory of the Ecuadorian Amazon region has been even more severely exposed during the Covid-19 lockdown period which began 16 March 2020.

On 7 April 2020, the Trans-Ecuadorian Oil Pipeline System and the Heavy Crude Oil Pipeline, which transport Ecuador’s oil production, collapsed. The pipelines were built along the banks of the Coca River and the collapse resulted in the spillage of an enormous quantity of crude oil into its waters. The Coca river is a key artery in the regional Amazon system. It runs through three national parks that form one of the richest biodiverse areas on Earth, which has been historically preserved by the ways of life of the indigenous peoples who inhabit it.

Read the full article here

Wendy Harcourt is co-author of this blog published on Undisciplined Environments

 

Maine must do better at welcoming diversity

Field Notes —

Island Institute logo

By Rob Snyder, Ph.D.
President, Island Institute
*

We believe that black lives matter and are committed to doing our part to further the conversation along the Maine coast.

You’ve heard it said many times: “Maine is a white state,” or maybe even, “Maine is the whitest state.” Actually, Maine is not a white state. Some 74,000 Mainers are people of color.

When Mainers assert that our population includes a majority of white people, whether through statistical analysis or casual conversation we inadvertently—but inexcusably—risk erasing the voices and struggles of people of color. This further marginalizes Maine’s Native communities and the African immigrant communities that have emerged in Portland and Lewiston. And, as we look to the future, it can signal to people of color that they are not welcome here. 

So how can Mainers become more welcoming and accepting? It starts with each of us learning to see racism for what it is, and seeing how it permeates our viewpoints and behaviors—even those of us who believe we are not racist.

In 2019, the Island Institute began the work of integrating these values into our community development organization. It has meant a new way of doing our work and will include speaking out and taking action when we see racial injustice.

We began by establishing a diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice (DEIJ) taskforce within the organization and hiring professional external support to advise our work. Our DEIJ taskforce is working to bring understanding, skills, and behavioral changes to the Island Institute.

We still have a lot of work to do, but we have made the commitment and we are heading down this road because this work is important to the staff and board of the organization, and because it is highly relevant to communities along Maine’s coast. 

Many communities along the Maine coast are struggling with population decline. What are the causes of that decline? Certainly, the high costs of housing and energy make the coast a tough place to live and do business, among many other technical factors.

In the past, the Island Institute would work to ease these burdens, and this would be counted as success. But what if one of the underlying issues in a community is that they are generally unwelcoming? In the past, the Island Institute would have stayed silent on this issue—we would have considered it too difficult to address. But we have learned that if a community is unwelcoming it may not matter how much effort goes into solving other problems; the long-term outcome will still be population decline.

Can the Island Institute help leaders along the coast who would like their communities to be more welcoming? This remains to be seen, but it is a question we are grappling with. 

And how can we become more welcoming? What would it take for Maine’s island and coastal communities to have the hard conversations, undertake the personal reflection, develop the skills, and adopt the behaviors to become places where difference is celebrated, and people of color are welcomed? We are beginning by doing this work and answering questions within the Island Institute. My hope is that by doing this work we can contribute to a future where the Maine coast celebrates diversity, and in so doing, we would all inherit a brighter, safer, and more prosperous state.

The Island Institute expresses our deep sorrow for the people of color in Maine and around the country who are being persecuted and killed every day. We believe that black lives matter and we are committed to doing our part to further the conversation along the Maine coast.


Rob Snyder is the president of the Island Institute, where he works with island and coastal leaders, in Maine and around the world, to identify innovative approaches to community sustainability. He also works with staff across all programmatic and strategic priority areas to help the Institute identify and address emerging challenges faced by these communities and exchange ideas and experiences to further the sustainability of communities here and elsewhere. Read his full bio here or connect with him on Twitter and Instagram.

From March madness to marathon: seeing possibility within pandemic

Field Notes —

THE SKILLS WE EMBRACE NOW CAN SHAPE A BETTER WORLD

By Rob Snyder, Ph.D.
President, Island Institute

Along the coast, March madness is a state of mind linked to living off diminishing savings from last summer, the uncertainty of livelihoods linked to the next tourism and lobstering seasons, isolation, and bracing for a few final snowstorms. Most years, this lasts through April.

During an average spring, I am concerned about the social fabric of the coast as stresses increase on community, economy, and home life. I worry about the impacts that this time of year can have on people who struggle with mental illness and addiction.

Now add the pandemic. I can’t think of a worse-case scenario for communities that are already experiencing their most difficult time of year.

Our communities are not idyllic. Our communities are imperfect, challenging, and beautiful places. Above all, they are communities. Fortunately, they are resilient communities built on helping each other, even when folks don’t like each other much.

March wasn’t only maddening, it was a month filled with grieving, as we paused the lives we were leading and moved to a new and unknown way of life. This new life would be defined by integrating teaching, daycare, supporting loved ones (at a distance), home offices, isolation, and sometimes all of this at once. At the same time, even those who thought they had steady jobs are now concerned about income and healthcare.

For weeks, we would plan for the next two weeks. As a friend of mine reflected, “I kept sprinting to the end of the week—toward what I thought it would take to get to a new normal, and once I made it to the end of the week, everything changed again. After a few weeks of this, I was exhausted.”

I was living and seeing this exhaustion everywhere. And I concluded that sprinting is the wrong approach when you are running a marathon.

An important shift in mindset started to emerge, driven by data showing that the pandemic would not end soon and reinforced by leadership that couldn’t clearly see an end in sight. Collectively, we began shifting to a marathon runner’s mindset, albeit one with no map and not knowing when the next aid station would appear.

What does it take to successfully integrate all aspects of our lives with this longer term, uncertain future in mind, when so many different aspects of life require navigating all at once?

The good news: I see people being vulnerable and relying on others out of necessity. When you are faced with a complex problem or a series of related problems, it requires thinking from across many domains of expertise. Within days of acknowledging the local impacts of the pandemic, towns began meeting in new ways that cut across all services. School leaders, healthcare officials, town managers, and transportation providers are meeting weekly to trouble shoot new challenges.

What should ease the burden a bit is that it’s not just one person’s job to solve all the problems of the week. These problems are shared across the group, increasing the creativity and resources brought to bear. By sharing the burden, leaders are less likely to burn out.

What can each of us offer to one another during the pandemic? What is happening in your neighborhood or community that can help each of us imagine what might be needed in the short term—the next few weeks—or the longer term—the next three months?

What are you witnessing that you hope never ends? What acts of kindness, generosity, sharing of work, and changes in attitude are evident right now?

How can we become a connected set of people who could quickly assemble and help if extra hands are needed for any number of reasons?

What will we put down and leave behind?

In a recent article in the Financial Times, Arundhati Roy, author of God of Small Things, posed a way of seeing through the pandemic to other possible worlds:

“Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.

“We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.”

I love the vividness of Roy’s challenge. How can we, in the midst of the pandemic, notice and appreciate the best of who we can be, and how we can show up in our communities and bring this forward to a post-pandemic world?

This, to me, is the hope we can find as we navigate the disruptive times ahead. The new world we will inhabit is filled with possibility.

seeing possibility within pandemicRob Snyder, Ph.D.
President
Island Institute

As President of the Island Institute, Rob is responsible for working with island and coastal leaders, in Maine and around the world, to identify innovative approaches to community sustainability. He also works with staff across all programmatic and strategic priority areas to help the Institute identify and address emerging challenges faced by these communities and exchange ideas and experiences to further the sustainability of communities here and elsewhere. Read his full bio here or connect with him on Twitter and Instagram.

A memory from pre-corona times – a visit to Montevideo March 2020

A memory from pre-corona times

Looking at these four photos now, taken when I was visiting Ana Agostino and Constance Dupuis in Montevideo Uruguay March 6-13 it seems a life time, not just two weeks ago. My visit included what today would be an unthinkably risky schedule. Together with Ana and Constance (and our partners) on 7 March we attended the opening of the Plaza Las Pioneras, a collective feminist space mingling with 100s of people in a joyful celebration of reclaiming disused space for feminist arts and culture and politics. On 8 March we were marching with 350,000 people through the centre of Montevideo singing, chanting. I admired all the energy and vision around me. In all these encounters I was constantly being introduced, hugged and kissed. We washed our hands but we were free of the omniscient presence of the Corona virus in our daily life, though it was there in the messages from Italy (where my daughter and others in WEGO were on lockdown) and of increasing worries about what if it were to spread?  

During my visit I went to the Universidad de la República de Uruguay, Montevideo (UdelaR) and the Defensoria de VyV de Montevideo  to discuss the WEGO project and Constance’s project on ageing and to give a talk on Feminist Political Ecology and development dilemmas organised by Javier Taks at the Social Science faculty. More informally, I joined a dialogue with feminists of all ages at the Cotidiano Mujer about feminist political ecology and eco-feminism. I was poised to go on with Ana and Constance to Buenos Aires to meet more feminists in academia and government, when the impact of COVID-19 abruptly hit. Just the day before leaving for Buenos Aires we were informed as I had been in Italy less than two weeks ago, I was not allowed into Argentina, and it rapidly became clear that foreigners were going to be asked to leave Uruguay. 

Now we are in the reality of Corona times it seems incredible how much I could do in that week in Montevideo, and what I took for granted. We could walk, chat, hug, enjoy dinners together, greet and kiss strangers, sit together on crowded buses, visit museums and even go to a Tango concert.

These photos capture those last tranquil moments, as well as the deep friendship and respect I have for Ana Agostino who hosted me. I have known Ana for well over a decade. We share our feminism, our passions and our network of friends overlap. I use her writing on climate justice and post development for my classes, and have been inspired over the years by her on-going commitment to human rights, environmental justice and feminism. I am so pleased she has accepted to be Ombudsperson for WEGO bringing her 5 years of experience of being Ombudsperson at the Defensoria in Montevideo and vice president of Latin America Ombudpersons. 

These photos were taken by Constance in Montevideo and also at La Flores – a seaside area we visited just before I went to the airport. It was here amongst the sea, the flowers and birds that I shared some needed quiet time with Ana and enjoyed this last (for a while)  beautiful sunset of freedom.

Wendy Harcourt

Resilient leadership in times of crisis

Field Notes —

What ‘resilient leadership in times of crisis’ means

Our communities can lead, but their challenges are critical

Island and coastal communities, and the people who care about them near and far, must pull together right now.

Tourism and lobstering, our key economic drivers, are in peril. The islands and coast rely on an annual influx of $4 billion in tourism revenue, earned primarily between June and September. If the pandemic runs its course through October, as some models predict, the financial stability of many families will evaporate.

For the $1 billion lobster industry, national markets and key export countries are struggling, so demand has evaporated. The pandemic has driven lobster prices through the floor, below $3 per pound at the boat. At that price, it doesn’t make sense for fishermen to take their boat off its mooring.

In the midst of this turmoil, North Haven island has garnered national and international press attention by the decision of its board of selectmen to ban non-residents from coming to the island.

One reaction to North Haven’s move is sympathy, with some seeing it as consistent with nations closing borders and enforcing social distancing measures. And so it is not surprising the island community would implement its own measures to accomplish what others are trying to do on an international scale.

But community is experienced personally and specifically, not in the abstractions of pandemic and international politics. At a personal level, North Haven’s decision has amplified concerns among a large number of people who consider Maine home, but are not residents. For seasonal residents who thought they were neighbors and friends, the move to close off the island may seem like distrust and animosity, and could have a long-term detrimental impact on the community’s social fabric. Many who care about the Maine coast, but live elsewhere, are asking if they are still considered a part of the communities they love.

Many of the educational, social, and cultural institutions in island and coastal communities exist because of a partnership between residents who lead local initiatives and the generosity of seasonal residents. Decisions that amplify the “from here, from away” divide undermine the social fabric that has allowed Maine’s island and coastal communities to become guiding lights nationally and internationally for how to live sustainably.

There are good reasons why Maine coastal communities are struggling with responding to those who might come to Maine to wait out the pandemic. Maine’s island communities are at great risk during this pandemic because of the age of their populations. Maine’s island communities have a median age of 48; Maine’s median age is 44.6, making it the nation’s oldest; and the U.S. has a median age of 37.9.

The islands are vulnerable, since the virus has a disproportionate impact on seniors. These are communities of between 50 and 1,200 people with little or no capacity to deal with medical emergencies.

In this context, the concerns expressed by North Haven municipal leaders are understandable, but the message still hurts.

All across Maine, small isolated communities are struggling with how to care for people. When we look to the islands more broadly, we find a more educational and conversational tone during this stressful time. It can be summarized as follows:

Please consider the risk you would expose our community to by coming here. Our community has an aging population that is already difficult to care for, and our resources are stretched. We don’t have the ability to help care for you if you get sick. You will have to go to the mainland. It would be a great help to us if you stayed where you are right now. We appreciate you, and we look forward to seeing you when the pandemic passes.

A robust series of conversations are taking place across the coast as the pandemic worsens. The Island Institute is helping to facilitate these discussions.

Resilient leadership in times of crisis requires generosity and caring, networking, asking for and offering support, and staying informed. Leadership also requires recognizing that island and coastal communities exist in reciprocal relationships with each other. The long-term relationships between island and coastal residents—and those who care about the Maine coast more broadly—are of critical concern, because this will not be the last crisis Maine’s island and coastal communities face.

It is important that we pull together, rather than create divides. Our actions today will speak volumes on how we interact with each other the next time we need the care and support of our neighbors.


Additional information and resources

State reacts to coronavirus challenges with emergency legislation

Island Institute coronavirus resource page


* Island Institute is a partner institute in the WEGO-ITN consortium

How are communities responding to climate crisis, and what can we learn from them?

WEGO coordinator Wendy Harcourt  was interviewed by Erasmus University Rotterdam. Read the full interview.

“We are looking at how communities are responding to climate crisis in order to understand how to link this to a global understanding of resilience”