Reaching out to “Unlikely Partners”

One of the first “viral videos” I can remember, the Story of Stuff, launched by Annie Leonard in 2007 is still going strong with several follow up explainer videos about the problems created by our consumer culture.  This first video, which helped to explain where our stuff comes from and what happens to it when we throw it away, has led to a bestselling book and a successful nonprofit.

Annie Leonard, the clever and creative founder, was recently named executive director of Greenpeace USA and in a recent interview talked about how she would like to help this organization be “more skillful and experimental” in how they communicate. While staying true to the facts and data, she explains that it is important to inspire people by using language that is familiar and accessible, articulating a vision for how things can be better.

At Jesuit Networking, we really liked what Annie had to say about communication and networking across sectors, and we’ll leave you with some of her insight as to why we have to break down barriers and reach out to “unlikely partners” to build a stronger movement for change:

“One big priority is building connections between other organizations not only in the progressive moment, but also beyond it — with organizations whose success is intertwined with our own. The more we look systemically at the problem, we see that issues from economic inequity, to women’s rights, to civil rights, to environmental justice are so interconnected. I think that for many years we’ve obstructed the progress of our collective movement by seeing these issues as different from each other. So I’d like to reach out to what I call “unlikely partners,” to figure out how we can help each other, because it’s just increasingly clear to me that we are all going to succeed or fail together. And if we can work together, we will have a smarter and a stronger overall movement.”


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