Connections for Community Impact: A Different Set of Eyes
A Different Set of Eyes - A Personal Journey of Self Discovery
by Jim Rule
For most of my adult life I have been an educator and engaged in environmental causes mostly at the community and local levels. I have watched with dismay as humans have gradually altered the natural rhythms of the earth. I began to wonder if real and systemic change was possible in a world where the the worth of a nation was based solely upon economic growth.
The inequities across the globe seemed to fracture not only the world's fragile environment but also the fragile human condition. Travels to such countries such as Nepal and Ethiopia during the past decade reinforced the inherent relationship between the environment and those who are most impacted by its demise.
I began to explore the issues of social justice and inclusion as a way of widening my perspectives on serving my community in an ever expanding manner. I was lucky enough to be guided by a friend Sister Margo Ritchie who introduced me to Michelle Baldwin and the ground breaking work that was just emerging at Innovative Works.
From there, my journey led me to the Abe Oudshoorn who listened patiently to my inner directions and who eventually brought me into the company of such positive leaders as James Shelley and Helene Berman and the initiative called the Centre for Research on Health Equity and Social Inclusion (CRHESI) and the Mobilizing Narratives for Policy and Social Change project. I have been fortunate to sit on its Steering Committee and glean the wisdom of the other Committee members.
Now, I find myself examining the issue of poverty through narratives lead by Abe and others. My goal is to gain a deeper understanding of the plight of individuals who live among us but who do not have a ' voice'. The health of the planet depends upon the health of those who inhabit it.
As Jane Goodall once said:
'Only if we understand will we care. Only if we care, will we help. Only if we help shall all be saved'