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Small victories

Firelands on the move for a healthy future grew up in the shadow of “timber wars,” hearing that city environmentalists were to blame for the loss of timber jobs and the growth of poverty. Since then, I have felt trapped between the fires of my own daily crises and the wildfires raging in our forests each summer—but I knew I wasn’t alone.

So, a group of us got together and formed Firelands to build power for a green, healthy economy. This summer, volunteers knocked on doors and had conversations with 215 people in 14 small towns in 7 counties all over Washington.

People put their hands together in a circular pattern.

We asked about the daily fires, the wildfires, and what people would want from a Green New Deal. We talked with farmworkers, loggers, grocery workers, bus drivers and more. We heard overwhelmingly that the cost of living is too damn high, and that people want a Green New Deal—a jobs program that creates living-wage jobs caring for our people and our places. The survey is just the beginning and we’re excited for what comes next. Find out what we learned by listening to people at

Stina Janssen is Co-Director of Firelands. She can be reached at

115 Legion created a space for reimagining

[Olympia has long lacked readily available spaces for people to meet. Last year, a group of people managed to acquire a space downtown. They have turned it into a warm and inviting place for groups to use; a space that invites a reimagining of community abundance. This summary is based on notes from the one-year anniversary gathering.]

A year ago, a group of people opened a low-barrier space at 115 Legion available to hold events, meetings, and to do creative projects as a form of autonomy in action. At a recent gathering, those who use the space defined autonomy as the activities, affects, modes and forms that would increase collective capacity to act, to feel, to do, and to be in the world. This is the value of having free space to learn and think, and to access skills and tools.

The visioning session was rich with ideas, from immediate practical goals to long term fantasies. Those present talked about linking current and future projects. The group hopes to continue sharing space and talking about shared interests; to work with more nonprofits and organizations; to make more regional links with projects in nearby cities or rural areas.

Long term ideas envisioned a media loan center, youth programs, and the distribution of resources like food, medicine, and disaster relief supplies. Some ideas for upcoming events or projects include: Community utopian mapping projects, live Skype dance parties with friends in other cities, a block party, a sustainable funding plan, and purchasing large properties to expand visions and dreams even further!

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