Combatting Isolation, Building Community: Activism and Life in the Time of COVID 19

About the author: Kate Watters is the executive director of Crude Accountability

This past week, Crude Accountability marked its 17th anniversary, an incredible and joyous occasion, and one I was so proud to announce. I started to write a blog post about this just as the coronavirus began to spiral completely out of control here in the US, and, I’ll be honest, I am finding it difficult to know what to write. I have deleted draft after draft as I seek the right words.

I started writing about shrinking space, danger to environmental defenders, all the things that have changed over the past decade and a half. I tried writing about my outrage at the US administration’s response to COVID 19 and its purchase of more oil for the country’s reserves.

But it all seems really hollow.

What I really am moved to write about is isolation. And combatting it.

Virtual communities are not a replacement for physical proximity and the closeness we feel when we are with each other, but they sure are a healing addition to the physical world we inhabit.

The first weekend in March I went to the Institute for Zen Leadership’s Zen 3 leadership training at the Spring Green Dojo in Wisconsin, where I was reminded that community is something we all have the power to make, nurture, and develop at any time. Whatever our “work,” we have the capacity to bring people together, to build networks and shared experience. The current state of affairs makes nurturing what we have seem more urgent than ever. As we are physically isolated from each other, remembering we are not alone can help us stay sane, and safe.

As defenders, we understand that isolation is a tool used by authoritarians in an effort to break social and political movements. We combat that by standing with each other in solidarity and acting in unity in the face of injustice. As environmentalists, we understand that interconnection is what keeps organisms healthy, growing, and in balance. We build a sustainable future, protecting the earth and each other from toxins. As somatic healers, we know that breath and body and brain are interconnected to keep our spirits, bodies, and minds healthy. We breathe, we move, we come together.

Let’s strengthen and help each other through our connections—virtual as they are—during this time of crisis. Call, text, facetime, comment, share. Try to find something positive in each day. Spread warmth and comfort as we keep each other from isolation, loving each other through to the other side of this thing.

Happy Spring, friends. We are one.

Be well, Kate