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What’s “grounded”?

grounded |ˈɡroundid|

adjective

  1. balanced, sensible, down-to-earth
  2. rooted, established
  3. aware, knowledgeable, present in one’s life
  4. [of carbon] stored safely in the ground

We live in unsettling times. There are enough things to worry about to fill one regular-sized human head so that nothing else can fit in. There are plenty of distractions to go around. It’s easier than ever before, it seems, to get swept away in the currents of information, ever-faster communications, and the whole madly spinning global economy.

Project Grounded was named to celebrate the opposite impulse: finding the firm ground beneath our feet, slowing down a little, putting down roots. Pausing to recognize the solidity that comes from connecting deeply with that which sustains our lives — the food we eat, the clothes we wear, the objects we use daily, the relationships we cultivate, the place where we live. We want to feel literally down-to-earth: be aware, be sensible, be informed. We also want to feel rooted, to get to know and celebrate and love the place where we live.

But there’s also another layer of meaning to “grounded”: to ground something is to put have it established in the ground, in the soil. Project Grounded seeks to facilitate lifestyles that are grounded, in the sense that the things you eat and wear and use come from the ground, preferably from somewhere near you, and were produced in a way that does not deplete that ground but replenishes it. We also research, and make available to you our findings about these “grounded” products that also ground carbon — i.e. pull it from the atmosphere and sequester it in the soil — thus contributing to climate change solutions.

These meanings are interwoven with each other:

Grounded material aspects of our lives + grounded carbon = grounded people

Some of these global causes of worry, such as climate change, can provoke vast, chaotic imaginings of a looming catastrophe, which sparks in us a response of fear and helplessness. What we need to change is that response mechanism. We need to grow into people who are grounded enough that they can look at what’s happening right now, and assess pragmatically: what are the pathways and solutions available to us? “Grounded” here means courageous: the ability to resist the trigger that would send an ungrounded person spinning off to another state of fear, hopelessness, and denial.

The work that’s needed, then, is not only engineering or farming differently, not only activism, not only changing policies. There’s also an inner work that’s required of each of us. We need to take responsibility to grow into grounded individuals, grounded citizens, and then work from that place to develop solutions.

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