Meet a Progressive: Repairing the World with Eve Gutman
It's time to get back to highlighting progressives working to build a more just and sustainable world.
One of the things I love about journalism is all the amazing people I get to interview, know, and learn from. Eve Gutman, an environmental activist and research assistant with the Earth Quaker Action Team is the latest addition to my list. I knew I wanted to write about the #ClimateEmergency we find ourselves in, especially in light of the COP26 talks, but I wanted to localize it and highlight nonviolent, grassroots progressive activism. You can read my column about EQAT’s Vanguard’s Very Big Problem campaign that Eve is helping organize, “Vanguard Group must stop financing the planet’s destruction,” in the Bucks County Courier Times and The Intelligencer.
Now get to the know Eve a little better.
What inspired you to start working for progressive social change?
Growing up Jewish, I was taught about the core value of tikkun olam, or repairing the world. I had great examples of living out that value in diverse ways from the adults in my life. Thanks to them, I saw that it was possible to live a life in service of justice, sustainability, and love. As I’ve embarked on my own path of working for progressive social change, I’ve continued to meet such inspiring people who time and time again confirm that engaging in this work gives such rich meaning to our lives.
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What do you identify as the top issues progressives must confront nationally and globally?
For me, climate change is the top issue that all of us must confront. It’ll affect all of our lives so profoundly—while also disproportionately harming already marginalized low-income and Black and Brown communities—and it’ll require commitment from all of us to get on a path towards a livable future.
At the same time, there are so many other vital issues worth confronting wholeheartedly, like dismantling racism, wealth inequality, and sexism/homophobia/transphobia. The upside is that there are countless ways to engage with making this world more just and humane.
What types of organizing and projects are you working on right now?
I’m working with Earth Quaker Action Team and the Sunrise Project on the Vanguard’s Very Big Problem campaign, an effort to get Vanguard, the world’s biggest investor in coal and one of the two biggest investors in oil and gas, to deal with its climate problem and invest for a livable future.
I also volunteer with Your Empowered Sexuality (YES!), an organization that provides intersectional, consent-based, shame-free sexuality education to people of all ages.
How can folks get engaged and involved?
I believe that there’s not only one right way to get involved and contribute to the causes you care about, so I think whichever way works for you is the right way! Protesting, teaching, getting out the vote, fundraising, lobbying -- it all helps.
If you’re feeling called to join the movement of people holding financial institutions accountable for their role in funding the climate crisis, we’d love to have you join the Vanguard’s Very Big Problem campaign! If you’re in southeastern Pennsylvania, you can sign up here: https://www.eqat.org/subscribe and if you’re anywhere else, you can sign up here: http://www.vanguardsverybigproblem.com
Wherever you bank, get your insurance, or invest your savings, write them a note and let them know that you don’t want your money being lent to, insuring, or invested in fossil fuel companies. If you’re a Vanguard customer in particular, please let us know, so we can keep you informed of special opportunities to take action collectively as Vanguard customers. You can read more about that here: https://www.eqat.org/vanguard_investors_don_t_move_your_money_yet
Which journalists, writers, podcasts, and publications do you turn to for information and inspiration?
I am a devoted NPR fan, turning to WHYY for their local and national news and the El Hilo podcast by Radio Ambulante Estudios for news from across Latin America. For inspiration, I’ve been listening to the Poetry Unbound podcast by On Being Studios and reading the writings of the Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh. I’ve also been reading Political Protest & Cultural Revolution: Nonviolent Direct Action in the 1970s and 1980s by Barbara Epstein and, once I finish that, I’m excited to read A Line in the Tar Sands: Struggles for Environmental Justice edited by Toban Black, Stephen D’Arcy, Tony Weis, and Joshua Kahn Russell.
Meet Other Progressives
Thanks for reading! I look forward to your feedback and suggestions. And most importantly, keep organizing!