The Immense Power of Your Ripples

Originally posted on by Trathen Heckman

Happy Summer daily actors!

Amidst a bounty of ripening fruit from water-wise and greywater-fed gardens, we are enjoying both the sweet taste of summer and the incredible success of another Community Resilience Challenge with over 20,000 local, regional and national actions, projects and pledges.

In short, you rock and the ripples from our shared actions grows bigger and bigger. So thank you.

One important thing that helps us take heart and take action is knowing that every choice we make matters and makes a ripple.

The words of Robert F. Kennedy possibly capture the power of our ripples better than any other when he said:

“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

Fresh off the success of the Community Resilience Challenge, I heard historic news of the Pope’s moral call to action to address climate change, further filling my heart with hope. Then came heartbreak, with the tragic news of another brutal, race-related killing of nine black Americans at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.

Trying to make sense of everything going on in the world can feel like a lot. Though when our heart breaks, it also grows when we remember that our small ripples of hope are part of a larger current.

What’s amazing and empowering is that your actions are creating powerful positive ripples all the way from your garden to a growing movement across city, county, region, state, country and beyond. Daily Acts’ Stewardship Circle member Francesca Preston recently spoke to how inspired she was by the Challenge, taking action to sun-dry their laundry, start home composting and take on other resource-conserving projects.

While over 20,000 such actions were registered across the land, we were installing greywater systems and setting precedent by transforming turf at the Foothills of Windsor development in partnership with the Homeowners Association and the Town of Windsor, saving tens of thousands of gallons of water. Regionally, we just participated in the launch of the NorCal Community Resilience Network. Further out, we are in conversations with statewide organizations about partnering to spread the Challenge and fill the gap between local, regional and our national partnership with Transition U.S.

Taking your ripples out from here, I’ll be speaking on the first day of the International Permaculture Conference in London this September to share the story of your ripples and to further link this work with other organizations and networks around the globe. So the power of one’s ripples and this larger current of hope isn’t just a sweet metaphor, it’s a tangible reality directly linking you with a global movement that is catalyzing personal and community transformation.

"Lots of amazing and world-changing actions and connections happen in the garden."

As is often the case, I bring it back to my favorite place to reflect, connect and make sense of this beauteous, broken world – in the garden. It’s where I chatted with Ken and Stephanie for’s new Talking Resilience series and this Bohemian article. It’s where I met Tina from Sustainable Contra Costa who, since taking on the Challenge in their community, has been a force of nature, helping register over 10,000 resilience and community-building actions. It’s where we have impromptu cob oven pizza parties with neighbors and where Ella and I snuggled up on Father’s Day while picking mulberries from the hammock. In a garden on the last two Fridays is where Daily Acts held our staff retreat and where we launched the NorCal Community Resilience Network. Lots of amazing and world-changing actions and connections happen in the garden.

As we pass the longest day of the year and cross the halfway point in another trip around the sun, it’s a good time to pause, reflect and connect. What are your harvests from recent months, your moments of joy, gratitude and success? What are your wildly important goals for the months ahead for living your inspiration while regenerating nature and community and inspiring others to do the same?

It’s through the simple, everyday actions of many that we grow a resilient, connected and reverent culture and thus transform our communities. Thank you for adding your ripples to ours.

Trathen will present in the Amazing Communities session at the International Permaculture Conference - see details of his presentation.