A Holiday Letter from the Editor

Allow me a bit of navel gazing.

I took over as editor of the XRPDX newsletter in March of this year, only a couple of weeks before the pandemic ruined all of our lives. While I was initially reluctant to take on the responsibility, I quickly decided I wanted to upgrade the newsletter from being a simple community bulletin to being a newsletter—something more like XR Global’s monthly offering. I’d like to think I succeeded in creating something that wasn’t just a platform for news about XRPDX, but a weekly dispatch people would want to read for its own sake.

It’s difficult to overstate just how much working on this newsletter has done for me. Working on it every week gave me structure in an ocean of time stuck in my home. It pushed me into a consistent writing schedule. The professional skills I’ve developed are more valuable than anything I could have gotten out of a classroom. And looking so critically at climate issues, week after week, has fundamentally changed the way I view the climate crisis: not as an issue of governmental apathy but as a deeper question of who gets to hold power in our society. (I look forward to writing about this in the future.)

None of my work here would have been possible without the constant support of Janet Weil, whose sharp proofreading, thoughtful writing and incredible photography have been essential to this newsletter becoming what it is. I’m also indebted to our Action Working Group, especially Diana who provided us with all of our actions of the days, every single week, keeping our oxygen flowing in a very difficult time. And without the XRPDX community, I’m not sure how I would have dealt with two COVID scares, being exposed to a ridiculous amount of tear gas, getting assaulted by police, choking through a wildfire and, most recently, getting hit by a damn car. (Don’t worry, I’m totally fine.)

But more than anything, I’m grateful to our readers and supporters who read our work, gave feedback, did daily actions, fought for racial justice, showed up for Zoom meetings, participated in coalitions with us, showed up for in-person rallies (at personal risk!), and made me feel like 2020 was the year where a better future finally became possible. Our greatest power is our humanity. Each and every one of you carries the energy we’ll need to save this planet.

If you enjoy what you’ve read in our newsletter this year, please forward it to a friend! We’ve also just revamped our website, xrpdx.org, which has an archive of this year’s articles, all tagged up for your reading convenience, and an always up-to-date resources page with links to all the latest science and activism news. We’re also going to be adding a photo gallery showcasing our actions, past, present and future*. I invite you to check us out!

We also became a 501(c)4 non-profit this year, which means we can now formally accept donations! 2021 is the year we kick off our planet’s true make-or-break decade and if we’re going to rise to the challenge, we’ll need your support. (If you can, please consider becoming a monthly donor!)

In the meantime, since everybody but me is doing holiday stuff, we’ve collected our favorite pieces from the past year, along with a bit of my editorial commentary. Please enjoy, and I hope your holidays have been as happy as reasonably possible.

As we say at the end of every issue, “Be strong. We love you.”

*(Posting photos from the future is proving to be technically difficult, but we’re working on it.)

About Austen Lethbridge-Scarl

Austen Lethbridge-Scarl (he/him) is the editor of the XRPDX newsletter. Besides climate issues, he focuses on racial justice, police abolition and antifascism.

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