“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

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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The Cause that Connects Us

The day after election day, feeling fear and dread, I boarded a bus to Pioneer Square, where I met with a group of organizers who shared my worries. Before joining a larger protest for justice, we gathered in a circle and sang together, “count every vote” and “protect...

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Raising Children in a Warming World

“Because I have children, I want to bury my head under a pile of pillows and forget about the world’s woes. But because I have children, for whom I want the world to be better, avoidance and denial are inexcusable.”

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