We are bearing witness to unprecedented global environmental change. We are called to generate our most creative, thoughtful, and effective response. How will we manifest our hopes and aspirations? Where will we throw the weight of our dreams?
Like each of us, Orion is called to do its very best work for the sake of the future. But what exactly is that work, and how can it be done? Those are the questions the Orion board of directors set out to answer as we wrote the magazine’s new statement of mission.
Orion board member and Potawatomi elder, Robin Kimmerer, has written that if we want to know what our work is, we should ask, what is our gift? The salmon has the gift of rich red flesh, so its work is to feed the people, she says. The robin, with its gift of song, awakens the world.
What are Orion’s gifts? The community of Orion readers and writers, people of hope and conscience: that is the first great gift. A second gift is the gift of astonishing beauty—of the Earth and of its art and literature. The third gift is the challenge of dangerous times; although they seem to be more a curse than a gift, these times present the chance to think again about who we are and how we ought to live, we human beings, and thus the opportunity to participate in what will be the greatest exercise of the human imagination the world has ever seen. And there is this fourth and precious gift: through the magazine, a voice strong enough to be heard over rising winds.
As the Orion board of directors began to write the new mission statement, we saw the work of Orion as a historical necessity. On this glorious Earth, in this perilous time, when we stand to lose it all or redeem a just and even more beautiful planet, Orion has a historic role as a voice of imagination and compassion, action and hope. Here is how we decided to celebrate our gifts and pledge ourselves to the responsibilities they bestow:
Orion magazine invites readers into a community of caring for the planet. Through writing and art that explore the connection between nature and culture, Orion inspires new thinking about how humanity might live on Earth justly, sustainably, and joyously.
Kathleen Dean Moore is a member of Orion’s board of directors. She is the co-editor of Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril. Learn more about Orion’s new mission, and share your thoughts, here.