If you are spending much time these days scrolling the headlines and the social media — and, honestly, who isn’t? — you might understandably be feeling anxious, fearful, stressed — a little hopeless about humanity’s prospects. We are facing a pandemic that, without a serious intervention, is far worse that Covid-19; it’s the virus of fear, the plague of cynicism, the malaise of despair.
But what I have learned is that we hold the antidote to that pandemic right in our hands. The best medicine for fear is the power of hope —or, in Spanish, Esperanza. Not the kind of hope that’s based on a wistful wish, but the kind that’s based on reality — the reality that The Esperanza Project magazine has been bringing to the world for a decade now. The reality that courageous, creative and brilliant people are working at the grassroots, all around the world, in profound and powerful ways, to build the better world we know is possible.
The Esperanza Project’s regenerative brand of journalism is bringing you a different kind of headline, putting the focus on this urgently important work.
Now, as we ground ourselves in our tenth year of publication, we are taking this to the next level. We have launched our long-awaited Patreon campaign on Earth Day 2020 with a special broadcast program featuring 17 of our inspiring collaborators, and now you can watch it and read the highlights here.
While we are undoubtedly facing some of the greatest challenges in human history, we are far from alone. As some leaders seek to isolate us from the global family, Mother Earth in her wisdom has given us a powerful wake-up call as to the absolute irrelevance of borders in the face of her wild power.For those with the privilege to shelter in place and the tools to interconnect with others of good will across the globe — this is an opportunity to use that time to leverage our privilege for the greater good. This is the time we need to tune into that other reality: to recalculate, to get our bearings in this new landscape, and to set a new, more viable, more inclusive course.
I’m Tracy Barnett, the founding editor behind The Esperanza Project. In this magazine we are bringing you the voices of changemakers all across the Americas — the place our predecessors call Turtle Island. We’re seeking out and sharing thought-provoking alternative voices, indigenous voices connected to their ancestral lands, steadfast voices of human rights and environmental defenders on the frontlines from Standing Rock to the Mexican border, from the Amazon to Patagonia. We are sharing the visions and experiences of people who are working on solutions, not just talking about the problems. And we are sharing those messages across borders — geographic, cultural, and psychological —that are very much needing to be shared.
Ten years ago, I strapped on a backpack and made a year-long journey through Latin America in search of hope. That journey changed my outlook on everything. I learned that we in the North ignore our Southern counterparts to our loss and to our peril. We have effectively invisibilized everything below the shoulders of the body of our continent. And at the same time, we’ve shut out the discourse of the majority of our own hemisphere, including the very people our civilization was built on.
I am convinced that instead of walling ourselves off, we should be transcending those borders — like the monarch, and like our ancestors in the days before those borders ever existed. We need each other, now more than ever. We need to learn from each other — and, in fact, our survival depends on it. That’s what The Esperanza Project is about: Bridging the differences across Turtle Island and bringing us back together again, North and South connected — as in the ancient Eagle and Condor prophecies, as it was before the European conquest.
The problems we face are global as well as local, and we will need to join forces internationally to shift toward a culture of life. And we at Esperanza are here to help connect us with each other, to share our stories, and to put things in a can-do, solutions-oriented, social and environmental justice focus. Besides bringing you stories you won’t read anywhere else, what we’re also doing here is creating a community of support for these innovators, storytellers and Earth defenders who believe a better world is possible, that the planet is worth fighting for, and that the next generation of children deserve to inherit a living, breathing and vibrant Earth, still home to the intricate web of life that nurtures us all.
In the months ahead, we will be sharing front-line reports, essays and analyses that will help you see the world in a different way. We’ll be reporting on regenerative agriculture and ecosystem restoration projects in California and Mexico and Ecuador; indigenous resistance movements and cultural revival from Canada to Argentina; citizen initiatives in Chile and Bolivia; and citizen response to the humanitarian crisis on the border. We’ll be interviewing authors and filmmakers and artists, farmers and permaculturists, healers and activists — people with solutions and inspiring stories you will only find in The Esperanza Project.
It’s community that empowers a movement. And without a strong community the obstacles we face — as a magazine, and as a part of a planet in crisis — seem insurmountable. Now that you have joined this community, we invite you to take the next step. Make your own voice heard by telling others what you’ve learned. Send me an email and tell me about yourself, your thoughts, your suggestions, your inspirations, and your stories. Check out the tiers of support in this Patreon campaign — you can do everything from inviting me to a virtual cup of coffee, to making a bigger commitment that will unlock exclusive content while making our continued work possible.
Either way, it costs nothing — and means a whole lot — if you’ll join us on our Patreon campaign and also by checking out our special broadcast program featuring 17 of our inspiring collaborators. Watch it and read the highlights here.
Come see us on our social media pages and leave a comment below our articles or on our 18,000-person strong Facebook page, on Twitter and on Instagram. You can be a part of who we are by giving us your feedback and suggestions, supporting the work of the people we are introducing to you in these pages — and maybe even sharing some stories of your own.
Once again, thanks for being a reader.
Together we can build the kind of world that the next generation deserves.
Tracy L. Barnett
The Esperanza Project
The Esperanza Project