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Dear Friends,

Every two years, the Concord Carlisle Human Rights Council has the honor of bestowing “The Climate for Freedom” award to an organization in our towns that has achieved in advancing human rights at a local level. We recently had a chance to sit down with Sophie Wadsworth, the executive director of The Nature Connection, at their offices in the Emerson Umbrella. It was so heartening to hear in detail how they use animals and items from the natural world to help create bonds between their clients and our society as a whole. The Nature Connection will bring nature to all who need or want a bonding experience. While they use natural objects and gentle animals to create a climate of openness and discovery, it is really the staff and volunteer’s unlimited patience and kindness that helps to sooth and restore their clients. The volunteers are trained never to judge.

So in this poisoned atmosphere created by an unprecedented vitriolic political campaign, can we take lessons from the approach The Nature Connection applies to help us mend the social fabric? Never in our lifetimes have we seen good and honest people view the world from such a diametrically opposed position. By the time of this newsletter’s printing, the election will be over, but that is when people of good will must find a way to reconnect with neighbors of opposing political views. We must all find common ground to address such pressing issues as growing social inequality, climate change, immigration and terrorism. Can we enter these conversations with a spirit of unlimited patience and kindness? Will we be able to create a climate of openness and discovery? Perhaps the best way to start reconnecting with political foes is by taking a walk in Estabrook Woods, around Walden Pond, or simply in a meadow nearby. Surely the fresh air and natural beauty of our backyards can help soothe and restore our battered nerves after this election season. It certainly can’t hurt.

Ronni Olitsky & Rob Morrison
Concord-Carlisle Human Rights Council Co-Chairs