“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

Present & Powerful

As a child, I used to lie in a hollow space below a cherry tree that was wound around a mulberry tree, their branches reaching toward the ground and surrounding me on all sides. Inside that secret place, I took my pick of the fruits in the canopy, and I thought of it as a single tree, capable of something greater than the sum of its parts.

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It’s a Way of Life: Rachel Heaton interview

“The biggest thing is having my kids see my work… it’s a way of life. It’s who I am as a Native person…It’s about having a better place for all people. The biggest gift that I have is taking over a bank and wearing my son in a pack and knowing that he sees that.”

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In your heart, you know we’re right

It always seemed a little like Imogene forgot to grow old, unruly white hair notwithstanding. I told her at one point that I wanted to be like her when I grew up, and I still do. She never stopped expecting the best from people, so she never gave up on trying to get it.

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