by Jill Ryan, Executive Director
The amount of energy it takes to oppose something is astounding. Often, because we want to say yes to protecting the earth that sustains us, we find ourselves in the position of saying no to plans to extract resources, dispose of resources, build infrastructure and more.
In order to prevent burning out and feeling overwhelmed by the projects we are undertaking, I believe it is important to try to reframe our work by using the simple tool of “Yes, And.” Rather than saying no to a proposal for a particular project, we can say Yes, we should undertake that project, And at the same time ensure our resources are protected as well.
For example, rather than opposing a road project because it is routed through important wetlands, we can say: Yes, let’s build that needed road, And move its path so that we also retain our protections from flooding, our ability to treat runoff and our habitat for fish and wildlife! Although we will no doubt still need to participate in work to make that happen, we can do it with the energy created from making something better and protecting something.
While Yes, And won’t work all of the time, it at least gives us a way to frame what we are trying to achieve in a positive light, and it also helps us consider whether there are innovative ways to meet the goal others are trying to achieve while still maintaining our environment.