Duck Re-Inflating a Deflated Activist

A drawing of a duck holding up an "activist" and blowing into their tummy.

Duck re-inflating a deflated activist. Author Kathleen Dean Moore told us this was the first drawing by artist Bob Haverluck that she saw and that it sparked a connection and drew them together.

A re-inflation of activists is the purpose of Take Heart: Encouragement of Earth’s Weary Lovers, and this is what happened on December 6 as we listened to Kathy and Bob talk about their friendship, their work, and their new book.

“Who is your duck?” Bob asked us to think about who or what it is that fills us up, renews us – friends, heroes, artists, places, activities. It is a great question any time and particularly now, post-COP27 UN Climate Conference, in the middle of COP15 UN Biodiversity Conference, at the beginning of Advent, and during the darkest season of the year in the northern hemisphere.

Why use stories and drawings to encourage the weary activist? Bob talked about the truth that art reveals with a multilayered depth that reaches our hearts. Images and stories often deliver their message in a gentler way, without losing that truth.

A single glance of the cover image reminds us of the never-ending work of Sisyphus from Greek mythology, but at the same time tells us that our work is not mindless rock-pushing, but important loving-the-earth heart work that we are not doing alone. This is a core message Kathy and Bob are bringing to us.

Kathy talked of her classes on environmental ethics. At the beginning of each session, she asks the students to register where from 1 to 10 they would place themselves on the “hope-o-meter” and the class average is usually around 4. When at the end of the semester she asks again, the “hope-o-meter” class average is 6 or 7 – every time. “How is it that after spending a whole semester talking about what’s wrong in the world you are feeling more hopeful?” she asks. The repeated answer: “We are talking about the solutions too and we are doing it together.”

The book has 22 essays and images. The essay that Bob and Kathy read together is the closing one, “Never give up.” It is a list created by two friends to remind themselves why they are not quitting. Here is just a bit of it, “We can’t and therefore don’t have to solve the whole problem alone. We only have to help where and how we can. So many good people are in this fight with us…Yes. Exactly. We do this work because despair is lonely and useless while climate action is full of friendship, satisfaction, and glee…”

It was friendship and satisfaction and glee to gather with Bob and Kathy. Now you to can experience a bit of that by buying their book for yourself, or for your favourite weary earth lover, your duck.

Purchase Take Heart: Encouragement for Earth’s Weary Lovers at CommonWord Bookstore.

Purchase another of Bob Haverluck’s books, The Court Case of the Creatures through KAIROS.

Thanks to Bob’s generosity, the full purchase cost supports KAIROS’ work for peace and justice.

Filed in: Ecological Justice, Regional News, Spirited Reflections

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