The Blue Green Alliance is a new strategic partnership between The United Steelworkers and the Sierra Club that aims to “lead a national effort to fight for Good Jobs, A Clean Environment, and a Safer World.” Recently, I heard Carl Pope, Executive Director of the Sierra Club and David Foster, Executive Director of BGA (formerly with United Steelworkers) talk about this promising new effort.
Pope opened by saying he feels like he is “skiing an avalanche” these days because events in the world are moving so fast in regards to global warming. Both he and David Foster spoke of the need, and the challenge, of being pro-active, rather than reactive, in such an environment. They then linked being pro-active with being collaborative, with building strategic alliances that can lead to new conversations, new thinking, and new action. They ended by talking about how trusting relationships built over time--such as between The Sierra Club and The United Steelworkers--are key to being able to do “heavy lifting.”
These comments linking social change to being proactive, to fostering collaborative dialogue and action, to building trusting relationships, have stuck with me. Certainly, they resonate with a lot of the work TWI’s grantees are doing and what I’d like to think is the approach TWI brings to its support of them. And that got me to thinking: maybe we should drop the language of grantmaker/grantee and start talking about each other as allies instead.