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Tracy L. Barnett
Tracy L. Barnett

Tracy L. Barnett is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, Yes! Magazine, Reuters, Earth Island Journal and USA Today, among others. She is the founding editor of the Esperanza Project. 

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Ecobarrios Program changes lives while changing neighborhoods

Building a culture of sustainability in Mexico City — Rainbow style

Antonio Sánchez Gramiño was always one of those who would shake is head and laugh when he heard people talk about changing the world. It’s not that he didn’t care; he’s always been ecologically minded. It bothered him to see people wasting water and creating trash. It’s just that he thought it was a lost cause.

“I used to call them pendejos (fools),” he told me with a laugh. “Now, I’m one of those pendejos.”

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Ecovillages, Sustainability on June 23, 2021 Continue reading
Conversations with LaDonna and Cheryl

From the Sovereign Sisters Transcripts, in honor of a mighty matriarch

Many thousands this past weekend were hit hard by the news that we had lost a living treasure on Earth, the inimitable and irreplaceable LaDonna Allard. The Lakota historian, water protector and Standing Rock movement founder had been struggling for a long time with brain cancer. And even though those of us who love her […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Indigenous Peoples, Lakota on April 17, 2021 Continue reading
The American Borderlands and the Rights of the Child

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child has been violated on American soil more than any other time in modern history

On Christmas Eve, 2018, in a remote corner of the Texan desert, Esperanza Project editor Tracy Barnett interviewed activists organizing a creative resistance against the detainment of thousands of youths at the now defunct Tornillo Child Detention Center. It was deep in winter and the wind bit at the chain-link fence as she spoke with […]

By Jacob Lyng Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Esperanza Project, Indigenous Peoples, Migration Americas on March 11, 2021 Continue reading
Defending the Birthplace of the Sun

Wixárika People mark a decade of struggle against the extractive industries in the sacred desert of Wirikuta

It’s been a decade now since Mexico experienced its Standing Rock moment.  It was the native Wixárika people—better known  internationally by their Spanish name, the  Huicholes—who galvanized a global movement  with their call for help. In the north-central  state of San Luis Potosí, one of their most  sacred sites—the Birthplace of the Sun—was  being readied for […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Mexico, Mining, Spirituality, Wixarika on January 5, 2021 Continue reading
Finding Light in the Darkness: Esperanza shines through a year of trials

Resilience and Resistance mark the Year of the Pandemic. Here are just a few of the stories.

It was a year that this roving reporter began in a refugee camp, taking inspiration from the asylum seekers who had passed through hell to arrive at our borders, and from the people from both sides of the border who had shown up to accompany and support them. We all sensed it would be a […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Esperanza Project, Social Change on December 29, 2020 Continue reading
Enlightening Our Way Together with Chief Phil

International community comes together to launch a new Global Center of Indigenous Sciences and Ancestral Wisdom

For many thousands who have tuned into his work, Hereditary Chief Phil Lane has been a beacon in a time of powerful transition. His work over the decades to unify the human family through his Four Worlds International Institute has taken him all over the world, and now he is consolidating that work in a […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Indigenous Peoples, Social Change on December 19, 2020 Continue reading
Making Peace, Giving Thanks: From Guadalajara to You

On understanding the potential of this moment, and letting the mystery be.

GUADALAJARA, Jalisco, Mexico — Yesterday I went to the papelería around the corner, owned by my neighbor Alejandra, to pick up a few office supplies. “How are you going to celebrate Día de Acción de Gracias?” she inquired, using the Spanish word for our uniquely United Statesian holiday. I hadn’t thought about it, really. There […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Esperanza Project on November 26, 2020 Continue reading
Election Day of the Living

A Prayer for Peace for ALL Beings as the World Awaits

As I write, Venus is rising in the East on a day that portends so much. According to our traditions here in Mexico and many other places, the spirits of our dead are here among us still. I seize the moment to send up a prayer to all who are listening: Please, share your light […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Social Change on November 5, 2020 Continue reading
Blue October: The month that was, the future that will be

Eight stories of change to bring hope to a tense and troubled time

As I write, a very red Mars is approaching a Blue Moon – the second full moon of the season, and the first blue moon on a Halloween in a long, long time. Astrologers are having a field day with the particular lineup of planets that are traversing our heavens this election season, and while […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Activism, Bolivia, Social Change on October 31, 2020 Continue reading
A Circle of Sovereignty

Sovereign Sisters Gathering overcomes obstacles to shine online

Sovereignty means different things to different people, but perhaps its essence is best displayed in times of challenge. And so it was for the powerful four-day Sovereign Sisters gathering held on the third weekend in August. Despite two of the group’s founders, Cheryl Angel and LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, being sidelined by illness and injury, […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Women's Empowerment on September 2, 2020 Continue reading
Exploring Sovereignty with the Women of Standing Rock

Sovereign Sisters event begins today with live presentations on Zoom

We are inviting all women-folk/femme-folk to join some panels and talking circles by sisters, aunties and grandmas of all nations as we discuss the meaning and practice of sovereignty.

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Activism, Economic Empowerment, Indigenous Peoples, Sustainability, Women's Empowerment on August 21, 2020 Continue reading
Covid, Culture and the Codices

An Interview with Mara'akame José 'Katira' Ramírez

This is what is happening, because the Earth is defending herself. The Earth herself is being cleansed.

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Covid-19, Indigenous Peoples, Wixarika on August 17, 2020 Continue reading
No More Sacrificed Communities

How an Environmental Justice Documentary Is Building Solidarity in the Midst of the Racial and Health Crisis

A soon-to-be-released feature film exemplifies how independent media initiatives can be powerful tools for social and environmental justice organizing. Challenging the isolation and impotence that many are feeling in the face of the current health and racial crises, the internationally acclaimed documentary The Condor & The Eagle and its impact campaign “No More Sacrificed Communities” bring us […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Climate Change, Environment, Indigenous Peoples on June 26, 2020 Continue reading
Spinning a Lifeline in Zapotec lands

The COVID-19 pandemic has hurt communities all over Mexico. But a network of Indigenous artisans is finding a way to survive during the shutdown.

High up in the southern sierra of Mexico’s state of Oaxaca, an innovative nonprofit business inspired by Mohandas Gandhi is helping Indigenous Zapotec families to weather the economic storm that COVID-19 has brought to the Mexican countryside. San Sebastian Rio Hondo, a Zapotec highland village like many others, has traditionally supplemented its agrarian way of […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Covid-19, Economic Empowerment, Indigenous Peoples, Mexico on June 18, 2020 Continue reading
A Little Bit of Gandhi in Oaxaca

Khadi Oaxaca lifts up village life with farm to wardrobe movement

A century after Gandhi’s original Khadi Movement helped Indians to attain economic self-sufficiency and ultimately independence from Great Britain, the movement is having an unlikely revival in indigenous Zapotec communities in rural Mexico. “Khadi” means handspun cloth, and like its original Indian counterpart, Khadi Oaxaca has re-established a farm-to-garment ethic that restores dignity to its […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Economic Empowerment, Mexico, Sustainability on June 15, 2020 Continue reading
From Beads to Seeds at the Huichol Center

40-year-old institution confronts pandemic, economic downturn with permaculture and ingenuity

Last year’s Nobel Peace Prize nomination seemed like the moment Susana Valadez had worked for her whole life. The founder of the Huichol Center for Cultural Survival had spent the past four decades weaving together with painstaking care the components of an organization that provided the Wixárika people with culturally relevant employment and training, a […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Susana Valadez Posted in Covid-19, Indigenous Peoples on May 27, 2020 Continue reading
Personal Permaculture: Toward an Inner Ecology

Permaculture designer, therapist and author Maria Ros applies the principles of nature to human psychology

The Backstory Ten years ago in the Maya Mountains of Belize I attended a permaculture design course with author, public speaker and self-described “Emergency Planetary Technician” Albert Bates and an impressive young colleague, María Ros. María, I learned, is a permaculture designer with a whole other profession: she’s a psychotherapist, and her passion for the […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Permaculture, Self-Care on May 22, 2020 Continue reading
Being the Transformation

From Caterpillar to the Great Migration, Esperanza is finding its way. Let's do this together.

Feed what you want to grow — not what you want to go away.

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Activism, Alternative media, Esperanza Project on April 23, 2020 Continue reading
Esperanza is the Antidote 

We’ve been fighting the deadliest virus of all for a decade now: the epidemic of fear.

We’ve been fighting the deadliest virus of all for a decade now: the epidemic of fear. Join us on Earth Day as we take our regenerative journalism to the next level.

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Alternative media, Esperanza Project on April 21, 2020 Continue reading
From Encampment to Ecovillage at Standing Rock

Sacred Stone's LaDonna Brave Bull Allard: Her call to a lost nation. Part I.

Editor’s Note: Standing Rock movement founder LaDonna Allard left this life on April 10, 2021, after a battle with brain cancer at the age of 64. Mourners from around the world joined hearts on social media for days afterwards. Here we share a telephone interview with LaDonna from August of 2019. When LaDonna Brave Bull […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Climate Change, Ecovillages, Indigenous Peoples, Standing Rock on April 15, 2020 Continue reading
Breathing in the Time of Corona

Can we heed the warning, heal our collective grief and find our way back to equilibrium?

As I write, the church bells across the plaza are clanging a noisy celebration of the rising sun; another day has begun here in Mexico, with the same alegría, the same joy as any other dawn. It’s equinox, and I’m reflecting on equilibrium. That quality that allows us to hold fast onto the delight in […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Ecovillages, Regenerative Agriculture, Sustainability on March 19, 2020 Continue reading
The Children of Our Neglect: 17 Days in Matamoros

Now is the time to break the cycle of violence.

MATAMOROS, Mexico — On the morning of New Year’s Eve, a woman named Angela stood ankle-deep in the Rio Grande, washing clothes — or as they call it on this side of the border, the Rio Bravo. Bravo means fierce in this context: A few paces from where Angela, a Salvadoran asylum seeker, was doing […]

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Migration Americas on February 9, 2020 Continue reading
Grassroots aid workers bring hope and healing across the border

Volunteers deliver relief where major NGOs fear to tread

In the absence of big NGOs, volunteers regularly cross into one of Mexico’s most dangerous cartel zones to support asylum seekers stranded there by U.S. policy.

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Migration Americas on January 14, 2020 Continue reading
10 Stories You Loved In 2019

Indigenous agroforesters and femicide fighters, climate strikers and permaculture disaster responders rose to the top of The Esperanza Project's most-read changemakers of the year

Our Top 10 stories of 2019 reflect the hunger for fresh ideas and different voices — people who are tackling the issues of climate change, environmental destruction, mass migration, food security, femicide and human rights — especially indigenous rights. The popularity of these stories also show that people are ready for younger and alternative visions — and those, as you may have noticed, are our specialty.

By Tracy L. Barnett Posted in Esperanza Project on December 30, 2019 Continue reading

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