Hearts in Action, Four Weeks In

Above: Our mind map of a new definition of sustainability.

Talking Truth has hosted four of our weekly workshops, Hearts in Action: Creative Responses to Climate Change! We have practiced art and creative writing; learned about the efforts of environmentalists across the globe to build a dialogue about the climate crisis; and added our own voices to it. We have shared our thoughts, fears, and ideas, and seen them reflected in others sitting beside us.

Hearts in Action is co-hosted with Paperbark Magazine, an environmental humanities publications starting up at UMass.

I have felt my creativity sparked and my boundaries pushed. These weekly meetings have kept me in touch with nature amidst the challenges of a busy college schedule, and having a designated time to pause, reflect, and express myself is one of the most important additions to my college career.

I know that our weekly events will only continue to grow richer, more thoughtful, and more intentional as our experience grows and as we welcome in new people. In only four meetings, we explored:

  • The Golden Record: what would you put on an artifact that will outlast humanity and be our legacy?
  • Definitions of sustainability: what is our personalized and comprehensive definition of the much-used and increasingly vague term, “sustainability”?
  • Performing a water ritual: how can we honor the water in our lives, even while Hurricane Harvey devastates?
  • Creating personal flags: if we were to make a flag touting our beliefs, what would it look like? What would it mean?

My favorite workshop was when we learned about the Golden Record, a fascinating project that launched a “record” of some of Earth’s sounds (and images) into space, with the intention that it would outlast our species and be our legacy. When Emily, an MFA student and one of the facilitators, asked us what we would put on the Golden Record, I was stumped. When humans are gone, what is the essence of humanity that I believe needs to be preserved? The very first instinct I had was to somehow say, “We’re sorry.” But moving beyond that, I was able to enter a space of love for the Earth. I envisioned adding the sound of trickling water, or time lapses of seed and infant growth. By the end of the exercise, I was in tears. So much of our planet Earth is unique and precious. So much of it needs to be preserved – how can you distill it in one artifact?

Hearts in Action will continue to be held every Monday afternoon (through 11/27/17) from 4 – 5 pm in the Science and Engineering Library in the 3rd floor conference room. We would love to see more new faces in the coming weeks!



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