The Revolution Where You Live

Stories from a 12,000-Mile Journey Through a New America

Sarah van Gelder (Author) | Danny Glover (Foreword by)

Publication date: 01/09/2017

The Revolution Where You Live
Discover the Real Revolution Unfolding across America

America faces huge challenges—climate change, social injustice, racist violence, economic insecurity. Journalist Sarah van Gelder suspected that there were solutions, and she went looking for them, not in the centers of power, where people are richly rewarded for their allegiance to the status quo, but off the beaten track, in rural communities, small towns, and neglected urban neighborhoods.

She bought a used pickup truck and camper and set off on a 12,000-mile journey through eighteen states, dozens of cities and towns, and five Indian reservations. From the ranches of Montana to the coalfields of Kentucky to the urban cores of Chicago and Detroit, van Gelder discovered people and communities who are remaking America from the ground up. Join her as she meets the quirky and the committed, the local heroes and the healers who, under the mass media's radar, are getting stuff done. The common thread running through their work was best summed up by a phrase she saw on a mural in Newark: “
We the People LOVE This Place.” That connection we each have to our physical and ecological place, and to our human community, is where we find our power and our best hopes for a new America.

Read more and meet author below

Read An Excerpt

Paperback:
9781626567658

$18.95
(member price: $17.06)
Free shipping on all orders from the BK Publishers store.
Or find a local bookseller with Indiebound.

Other Available Formats and Editions

9781626567665

$18.95
(member price: $13.27)

9781626567672

$18.95
(member price: $13.27)
Bulk Discounts
Rights Information


Featured Books



The Hidden History of Guns and the Second Amendment

Thom Hartmann, the most popular progressive radio host in America and a New York Times bestselling author, looks at the real...

The Making of a Democratic Economy

Our economy is designed by the 1 percent, for the 1 percent. This book offers a compelling vision of an equitable,...

Why We Elect Narcissists and Sociopaths–And How We Can Stop!

Bestselling author, therapist, lawyer, and mediator Bill Eddy describes how dangerous, high-conflict personalities have gained power in governments worldwide—and what citizens...

More About This Product

Overview

Discover the Real Revolution Unfolding across America

America faces huge challenges—climate change, social injustice, racist violence, economic insecurity. Journalist Sarah van Gelder suspected that there were solutions, and she went looking for them, not in the centers of power, where people are richly rewarded for their allegiance to the status quo, but off the beaten track, in rural communities, small towns, and neglected urban neighborhoods.

She bought a used pickup truck and camper and set off on a 12,000-mile journey through eighteen states, dozens of cities and towns, and five Indian reservations. From the ranches of Montana to the coalfields of Kentucky to the urban cores of Chicago and Detroit, van Gelder discovered people and communities who are remaking America from the ground up. Join her as she meets the quirky and the committed, the local heroes and the healers who, under the mass media's radar, are getting stuff done. The common thread running through their work was best summed up by a phrase she saw on a mural in Newark: “
We the People LOVE This Place.” That connection we each have to our physical and ecological place, and to our human community, is where we find our power and our best hopes for a new America.

Back to Top ↑

Meet the Author & Other Product Contributors


Visit Author Page - Sarah van Gelder

Sarah van Gelder is cofounder and editor-at-large of award-winning YES! Magazine, where she writes a bi-weekly column, also called, “The Revolution Where You Live,” and blogs at http://RevolutionWhereYouLive.org. She explores the leading edge of change, writing and speaking internationally on topics ranging from cooperative economics to mass incarceration, from health to sustainable lifestyles. Sarah is a regular guest on public radio and has also appeared on the PBS NewsHour program, Thom Hartmann’s Big Picture, Democracy Now!, The Laura Flanders Show, and Free Speech TV. She is the editor of the books This Changes Everything: Occupy Wall Street and the 99 Percent Movement and Sustainable Happiness: Live Simply, Live Well, Make a Difference.



Foreword by Danny Glover

Danny Glover is an American actor, film director, and political activist.

Back to Top ↑


Excerpt

The Revolution Where You Live

1 Fire, Coal, and Climate in Montana

1It was the height of wildfire season in the West as I took off, a record-breaking year, and the air got smoky as I reached Montana.

A few days into my trip, I woke up at a campground south of Missoula to find a thin layer of black-and-white ash covering my truck and camper and the nearby pine trees. Driving in search of breakfast, I heard on the radio of the death of several firefighters in north-central Washington.

The smell of burning trees had followed me across Washington, Idaho, and into Montana along with the haze and the sting in the eyes and throat. An older couple I met at a coffee shop that morning told me that fires are common, but this fire season started earlier and was more intense than any they could remember.

A storm may be coming through in a few days, a young clerk at a run-down gas station and convenience store told me. Business was slow, and he had time to talk. It could bring winds that would blow the smoke away, he said. But it could also bring lightning strikes and set more fires in these bone-dry pine forests.

We risk passing tipping points where climate change takes on a life of its own, and it will be too late for humans to dial it back. We may have already passed some of these tipping points.

When more forests burn as a result of shifting climate patterns, and the burning releases more carbon, causing additional warming, we see this vicious cycle in action. Likewise, when receding ice cover in the Arctic leaves behind darker ocean waters, those waters absorb, rather than reflect, heat. Scientists have identified more than a dozen of these so-called positive feedback loops.

I thought about the salt waters where I live in Suquamish becoming acidic from the excess carbon, and the sea life that is dying. Then high in the Rockies as I crossed the Continental Divide, I saw evidence of the glaciers shrinking, year by year. For parts of the world that rely on runoff from mountain snow-packs, this is dire. I felt like I was witnessing a planet shift in real time. Instead of climate change being an abstraction of graphs and charts, I was seeing it in the changing waters, breathing it in the smoky air.

Journalists, scientists, policy makers, teachers, and other professionals are supposed to be dispassionate. We are trained to push aside our grief in favor of analysis and unbiased observation. Such practice is useful. But when we stand by as life on our beautiful planet dies, as one miraculous species after the next winks out, this stance turns from a professional calling into a pathology.

Cautiously, as I traveled, I let the lid off my grief.

Coal, from the Otter Creek Valley to China, and what happens in between

In Montana, I was looking for reasons to believe we can turn things around before we hit a climate Armageddon. I started with the people who were resisting plans for a giant new coal mine.

I first learned about the plans for the Otter Creek mine when controversy erupted about the transport of coal from the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming to a proposed new coal export terminal in the Pacific Northwest.

The Gateway Pacific coal export terminal would be the largest in North America. It would be located some 100 miles north of Seattle on the traditional land of the Lummi Tribe. The terminal was designed to handle 54 million metric tons per year, most of which would be coal, according to the Washington State Department of Ecology.1. Mile-and-a-half-long trains and giant ships, many from Asia, would cross waters and lands considered sacred by the Lummi people. SSA Marine, half owned by Goldman Sachs, was pushing the project.

The Lummi Tribe opposed the terminal. If any doubts existed about the strength of their opposition, they were laid to rest in September 2012, when tribal leaders stood on the beach of their homeland and set fire to a large facsimile of a check from port developers they stamped “non-negotiable.”

Lummi tribal members, like most of those in Indian Country, are not wealthy. But the tribe made it clear that money would not buy their support for a project they believed would threaten the clean water needed to support their fisheries and the sanctity of their traditional lands. The tribe has treaty rights to fish in these waters, which gives it the legal standing to block the terminal.

Lummi tribal members aren’t the only ones who would be affected by this massive new coal mine and port project. Large numbers of Bellingham residents also oppose the project, and they elected a slate of county commissioners who were out-spoken opponents to the terminal. The coal would be cheap enough to make it attractive to Asian nations, such as China, where toxic pollution is causing 1.6 million premature deaths a year, according to research cited in The Guardian.2. And it would add still more carbon to the atmosphere, worsening the climate crisis.

Then there are those who live adjacent to the source of this coal, the residents of the Otter Creek Valley in southeast Montana and the neighboring ranchers and members of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe. Arch Coal proposed to strip-mine this area, creating the largest such mine in Montana. The mine would yield 1.2 billion tons of coal over 20 years and be located in what is now a quiet valley of ranches and creeks near the boundaries of the Custer National Forest.

Arch Coal and its partners, including the Burlington Northern Railroad, would build an 86-mile railroad spur to get the coal to the main train line. The new rail line would follow the Tongue River, which borders the Northern Cheyenne Reservation, and cross ranches, many of which have been in the same family for generations.

“The only way the railroad spur can be built is to force it on the ranchers,” Dawson Dunning told me when I sat down with him at a coffee shop in Livingston, Montana, just outside Yellowstone Park. Dunning, age 32, is a member of a family that has operated a ranch in the Otter Creek Valley since 1890. He has a round, open face, blue eyes, and a short beard. Instead of the stereotypical cowboy hat, he wore a baseball cap and shades, and he plans to return to that remote valley to operate the ranch when his father retires. To him, the Otter Creek Valley is home, and he doesn’t want it destroyed.

Images

Dawson Dunning comes from a family of Otter Creek Valley ranchers.

Those ranchers and their organization, the Northern Plains Resource Council, along with the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, the National Wildlife Federation, and the Sierra Club, are at the core of the resistance to the mining project and railroad spur.

In support of this resistance, Lummi carver Jewell Praying Wolf James and his crew carved a totem pole and announced they would offer it as a gift to the Northern Cheyenne Tribe. I decided I would be there when it arrived on the reservation on August 30.

Back to Top ↑

Endorsements

"Sarah van Gelder's The Revolution Where You Live is filled with stories of people she interviewed as she traveled the country listening to their cries and dreams. Readers of these engrossing stories can go along for this memorable ride of reflection and empathy!"
-Ralph Nader, activist, author, and attorney

“I love that this book documents the incredibly powerful and dynamic movements that are taking root around the country. Read it!”
—Mark Ruffalo, actor, director, activist, and film producer

“Looking for hope? Here's where to find it. An inspiring account of the grassroots leaders throughout the United States who are confronting racism, the climate crisis, and poverty.”
—Van Jones, CNN cohost, author, and activist

“Jump into Sarah van Gelder's camper, and you'll see our country anew . . . just the book Americans need right now.”
—Frances Moore Lappé, author of Diet for a Small Planet and cofounder of the Small Planet Institute 

“What the world needs today is a modern Odysseus—one who speaks with the power and love of the feminine, listens from the heart, and acts from compassion. Sarah van Gelder is that hero, a woman who understands that the monsters blocking our paths are our own creations, that the way out of chaos is through soul-felt, community-centered involvement.
The Revolution Where You Live is a song of modern redemption.” 
—John Perkins, New York Times bestselling author of New Confessions of an Economic Hit Man

“What a journey! Sarah van Gelder uncovers the real revolution unfolding across America: leaderless and leader-full, up against it and angry, but still willing to hope. A passionate, powerful account!”
—Bill McKibben, author of Deep Economy and The End of Nature and cofounder of 350.org

“Journalist Sarah van Gelder says we can build the political revolution Bernie Sanders talks about from the bottom up, away from the iron grip of Wall Street and wealthy corporate interests. That's a future we can all believe in.”
—RoseAnn DeMoro, Executive Director, National Nurses United, and National Vice President, AFL-CIO

“Slow food is a local, healthy homemade meal, prepared with a lot of love. Sister Sarah has a similar talent as she shares with us her snail ride across Turtle Island—not as a fable but as independent media evidence that decolonization and the Great Turning are here. We the people
love this place!”
—Pancho Ramos, full-time ServiceSpace volunteer, Oakland, undocumented and unafraid activist and mediator

“This book will keep you warm even as it keeps you riveted, and it will inspire you to see your part in the solutions that our world so desperately needs.”
—Brendan Martin, founder and Director, The Working World

“Buckminster Fuller reminded us that we are facing a civilizational choice between utopia and oblivion. In this intrepid account, Sarah van Gelder renders the realistic utopia possible and reminds us that it is being born, right now, in the heart of the old empire.”
—Alnoor Ladha, Executive Director, The Rules, and Board Member, Greenpeace International USA

“Like the inspiring efforts that she chronicles, Sarah van Gelder's writing is ‘ordinary and extraordinary.' In sharp contrast to mass media blather and clichés of condescension, this book offers hope grounded in real human experience.”
—Norman Solomon, Executive Director, Institute for Public Accuracy, and author of War Made Easy

“People are hungry for solutions, and those that unfold in these beautifully told stories offer hope and ways to build bridges of justice and understanding.”
—LeeAnn Hall, Co–Executive Director, People's Action

“This is a wonderful book—warm, human, direct, meaningful—and it is one that will help you understand why building a new America from the ground up must begin with community.”
—Gar Alperovitz, author of What Then Must We Do?

“In this good book, Sarah van Gelder documents her reprise of Alexis de Tocqueville's 1831 travels in search of democracy. It is a book of answers: homegrown, walking-distance, smart, and heartfelt.”
—Peter Block, author of Community

“Our survival depends today on rediscovering hope as a social force. This is what Sarah van Gelder does in this amazing book, where she shares sources of hope that she collected with love and wisdom.”
—Gustavo Esteva, writer, speaker, and founder of Universidad de la Tierra

“Bravo! Through masterful storytelling, Sarah van Gelder shares a critical insight—that when we connect to the place where we live and work in community, we have the power to overcome the complex challenges of our time.”
—Judy Wicks, cofounder of Business Alliance for Local Living Economies and author of Good Morning, Beautiful Business

“Sarah van Gelder's genius, in the spirit of Wendell Berry, is to celebrate the women, men, and children who cultivate love for their places in all their diversity. This book inspires us to regenerate our connections with each other and to the ecology of our place on earth.”
—Madhu S. Prakash, author and Professor of Education, Penn State College of Education

“Sarah van Gelder has written a beautiful chronicle of people making revolution the old-fashioned way: close to home. Learn from these stories and claim your place in the America that is arriving.”
—Eric Liu, founder of Citizen University and author of You're More Powerful Than You Think

“In
The Revolution Where You Live, Sarah van Gelder offers living hope, grounded not in theory but in the stories of the real communities of resilience and resistance she visits.”
—Tim DeChristopher, climate activist

“The inspiration and lessons we need to follow Joe Hill's exhortation: ‘Don't mourn—organize.'”
—Jim Diers, author of Neighbor Power and former Director, Seattle Department of Neighborhoods

“I've learned to trust Sarah van Gelder, the questions she asks, and the folks she listens to. In
The Revolution Where You Live, her encounters with people reinventing their lives today reveal promises we can believe in.”
—Joanna Macy, activist and author of Coming Back to Life

“Sarah listened to everyday people and tells us their beautiful stories as they take control over their own destinies.” 
—Linda Stout, founder of Spirit in Action and author of Bridging the Class Divide



Back to Top ↑