‘Radically imagining what the future could look like’

Hey there,

Hope you are holding up OK, wherever you are. The news seems to keep getting more bleak and surreal (really not sure the murder hornets were necessary). But while it sometimes feels as if we’re endlessly tumbling down the rabbit hole, I take comfort in the fact that smart people everywhere are thinking about what comes next, from medical researchers working on vaccines to municipal leaders reinventing public spaces.

I had the chance to speak with one of those smart people recently. You can read more about Nick Tilsen and his work below, but one thing he said really stuck with me: “Do we want to go back to the old, the way that things were, just pre-COVID? Or is this a world that we’ve been trying to architect and build that’s more connected to our values?”

Like Tilsen, we at Fix are all about building a better world. What’s one thing you think would help ensure a sustainable and equitable recovery? Let me know your thoughts. And if you know anyone else who might appreciate this newsletter, please send it their way.

— Chip, Grist and Fix founder

P.S. Fix is hiring! We’re looking for a creative and entrepreneurial storyteller and leader to fill the role of Editorial Director. This is a unique opportunity to help shape the story of a future that works for all — please drop me a note with any leads and help us spread the word!

1. Your new hero

Grist / Willi White

As an organizer, nonprofit founder, and “accidental social entrepreneur,” Nick Tilsen has dedicated his career to advocating for indigenous communities. Tilsen, a citizen of the Oglala Lakota Nation who was named a 2019 Grist 50 Fixer, is the president and CEO of NDN Collective, an organization dedicated to building indigenous power and creating sustainable solutions.

NDN recently launched a COVID-19 recovery fund, with the goal of raising $5 million to cover immediate needs and $5 million for longer-term climate-resilience efforts. The organization’s overarching goals range from shifting the culture of philanthropy to supporting storytellers who help us imagine and interpret the future coming into being. In this urgent moment, says Tilsen, “we’re pivoting, as humanity, and we’re radically imagining what the future could look like.”

Read more about Tilsen and his work in this week’s interview.

2. Your pick-me-up

  • The mayors are on it, you guys. Mayors from Africa, Asia, Europe, and the U.S. have formed a global task force to work toward a sustainable economic recovery. As Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala put it in a virtual meeting that kicked off the effort, “How we structure our recovery efforts will define our cities for decades to come.”

3. Your weekend plans

Fill the cookie jar.

vkbhat / Getty Images

As we transition from one world to the next, there are some things we won’t want to leave behind. My best friend from growing up, Sharon, and her wife Jessie have perfected an oatmeal-chocolate-chip-cookie recipe that has become a weekly staple (OK, a daily staple) in our pandemic household. Might not be the most original thing, but this is what my kids and I will be baking for Mother’s Day and also sharing with neighbors (at a distance).

Pro tips from Sharon: Try varying the amounts and types of chips, and also refrigerating the dough and browning the cookie tops for enhanced flavor.

This story was originally published by Grist with the headline ‘Radically imagining what the future could look like’ on May 9, 2020.