When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new. —Dalai Lama
As we close out 2022, I want to thank you for all you have done to make the world more sustainable and just through the power of education. We’ve been reflecting on this past year and, on behalf of the entire NAAEE staff, I am honored to share this video recap with you. The holidays are a season of giving—and a season of gratitude—and we couldn’t have done any of our work without all of you!
There’s also a gift we can all give during the holidays and throughout the year that doesn’t cost anything. And that’s the gift of listening—to our friends, family, neighbors, colleagues, and partners—and to those who might not agree with us or share our world view. One thing we have in common is that we’re all eager to be heard and understood.
Listening can make someone feel valued, respected, and supported, and it can help achieve greater understanding. As a community of environmental educators, advocates, scholars, students, and more, it’s in our nature to seek understanding. Listening is fundamental to who we are and also so important as we work to build a more just, equitable, and inclusive movement.
Today, there are so many wonderful resources to help us all build our empathetic listening skills, including this TED Talk from several years ago about how to have better conversations that can enrich our time with family, colleagues, and friends during the holiday season and in the year ahead. It’s inspired me to think about how I can listen actively and be more fully present in both personal and professional spheres.
At NAAEE, our role is to listen and respond in kind to the needs and aspirations of our field. We are continually inspired by you, our amazing community of EE practitioners, supporters, board members, advisory council members, staff, Affiliates, and partners—and are deeply grateful for the energy and innovation you bring to your work every day.
We are also grateful for your support and invite you to make a special year-end gift to NAAEE. Your gift will support and advance our critical work together in the year ahead—as we listen, learn, and take action to cultivate understanding, promote equity and inclusion, and work together to create healthier communities around the world.
I wish you the merriest holiday season, a new year of truly listening to each other, and a hope that 2023 brings us all closer to the world we want.
Listen. People start to heal the moment they feel heard. —Cheryl Richardson