By Michael Caduto
The article that was scheduled for this weekly column was going to provide an update about Sustainable Woodstock’s work strengthening communities, caring for the planet and striving to make the world a better place for future generations. The article would have described the programs and initiatives that Sustainable Woodstock’s staff, Board members, volunteers, community partners and supporters are engaged in to these ends. But in the course of time, extraordinary events grip our consciences with such force and veracity that they compel a human response. This essay is dedicated to the people of Ukraine. Nothing could more palpably reaffirm the truth that we are all connected than the ache we feel in our hearts over the violence being perpetrated upon them.
How do you tell a child that their home is gone? Some 4.3 million Ukrainians have fled the country since Russian troops invaded on February 24, 2022. According to the United Nations, over 10 million Ukrainians have been forced from their homes. No one is certain of the exact number of civilians who have been injured and killed, but the UN’s recent estimate of nearly 3,500 casualties is known to be an underestimate. All for the aims of nationalistic hegemony on a magnitude and scale that we all hoped to have seen the last of with World War II.
Our minds reel. We cannot look away. Our hearts break over the destruction of individuals and their communities, as well as the natural world and the historic beauty of the land that Ukrainians call home. Every day we experience on a deeper level how violence perpetrated in distant lands impacts people, communities and environments around the world, including our own.
So we pause from the routine rhythms of our lives. We have a deeper sense of appreciation for the everyday blessings which are so easily taken for granted. And we hope and pray that the people of Ukraine will find peace someday.
Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division