Radical Joy Revealed
December 10, 2014

Radical Joy Revealed is a weekly message of inspiration about finding and making beauty in wounded places. We hope you'll enjoy these doorways into places that are both familiar and surprising, and we welcome your suggestions, stories, and photos. Click here to subscribe.

The Seed
of Radical Joy for Hard Times

Fiery steel mill
A steel mill in Sweden. Photo by Uwe Niggemeier

The seed for what would become Radical Joy for Hard Times in 2008 was actually planted two decades earlier.


At the time, RadJoy founder Trebbe Johnson was living in New York, writing scripts and producing soundtracks for multimedia productions. Every year for about five years she worked with a small team of people to create a presentation for IBM about an inspiring person or group of people, and it would be shown at a big event for the company's top salespeople.


In 1987, while poring through periodicals in the New York Public Library in search of ideas, Trebbe read an article about an Oneida Indian engineer, David Powless, who had received a National Science Foundation grant to develop a process for recycling hazardous waste from steel mills. When she interviewed David, he told this story:


After receiving the grant, he drove out to an enormous mound of steel waste at the Kaiser Steel plant in California and scrambled to the top with two empty buckets that he would fill with samples to analyze in his lab. Triumphantly, he declared to the waste, "I will conquer you!"


By the time he got back to his car, however, he knew that this approach was all wrong. "I realized that the waste wasn't an enemy," he said. "It was an orphan, and my job was to bring it back to the circle of life."


Trebbe was intrigued with this new way of thinking about places that are abandoned, damaged, and cast aside. It launched her search for some way that all people could participate in to bring attention, compassion and beauty to such places.

David Powless is now on the honorary Council of Advisors of Radical Joy for Hard Times.



To discover other stories of inspiring people, stories, photos, and ideas, subscribe to
See How the World Made Beauty
for the Earth

On June 20 people around the world will go to wounded places to share their stories of what the places mean to them, spend time getting to know the places as they are now, and make a simple act of beauty there: a bird created out of materials found on site. Join the world in making beauty for the Earth for the 6th annual Global Earth Exchange.

To see the photos of the 2014 Global Earth Exchange, visit our website. To read the stories click on the little "pins" on our world map.
Radical Joy for Hard Times is a global community dedicated to finding and making beauty in wounded places. Reconnecting with these places, sharing our stories of loss and despair, and making acts of beauty there, we transform the land, reconnect people and the places that nourish them, and empower ourselves to make a difference in the way we live on Earth.
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2014 Radical Joy for Hard Times | | trebbe@radicaljoyforhardtimes.org |