“In the language of forestry and forest ecology, the ‘understory’ is the name given to the life that exists between the forest floor and the tree canopy: the fungi, mosses, lichens, bushes, and saplings that thrive and compete in this mid-zone. Metaphorically, though, the ‘understory’ is also the sum of the entangled, ever-growing narratives, histories, ideas, and words that interweave to give a wood or forest its diverse life in culture.” — Robert Macfarlane

If the ‘understory’ names the sum of the “entangled, ever-growing narratives, histories, ideas, and words” about a wood or forest, in addition to the burgeoning life that teems between the ground and the tree canopy—well, then, we must be part of it. The Understory blog, in other words, highlights not only the natural world but the ongoing work of the climate justice movement to bring people back into balance with it. We want to feature a diversity of the stories and characters that inhabit the activist ecosystem, with the hope that you’ll find your place in it. Oh, and maybe write for us, too.

Editors: Amanda Sorell and Annie Dwyer

Introducing Michael Renaissance

I am focused on building in a world that will sustain the victories we win as a people concerned with social justice. My nieces and nephews will be living in the world we leave for them, and their children’s children’s children will wonder why we did or didn’t do the things to overcome the climate crisis; this is always on my mind.

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River Restoration: A Collaboration

Q&A with Dr. Cleo Woelfle-Erskine: Collaborating with the Duwamish Tribe and Community Groups on River Restoration Cleo Woelfle-Erskine is an Assistant Professor at University of Washington’s School of Marine & Environmental Affairs. We talked by phone to...

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Healing for Activists

It’s hard to prioritize personal well-being in the face of so much to fix in the world. I struggled with it, certainly. I started volunteering with the climate movement in early 2019. In two years, I’ve already pushed myself to the brink of burnout. Despite a keen...

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