The Sociopolitical Challenge: Exploring Sustainability

Four Winds Journal Fall 2018 Call for Submissions

Four Winds Journal’s Spring 2018 issue introduced a few of the many facets of sustainability.  We touched briefly on human/animal relationships, our relationship with Nature, our relationships with each other.  However, sustainability is necessary—and possible to achieve—in every aspect of our lives.   Our Fall issue will explore ways in which we, as Americans, can build and maintain a more equitable and universally supportive society than what is currently in place.

There is an old Spanish dicho, a saying:  Panza llena, corazon contento.  “Full belly, happy heart.”  It’s a way of expressing the crucial importance of a sustainable society—one in which our sources of food, shelter, right livelihood, and personal safety are accepted as given.  In this atmosphere, people can support their families and themselves without worry or undue effort.  There is room and time for intimate relationship, for creativity, for play, for connection with Nature and with Spirit.  Without this, we are lost—wandering from job to job, place to place, constantly “reinventing” ourselves in hopes that somewhere, somehow, we will feel calm enough to settle into the simple process of living our lives.  But it doesn’t happen.  Not in much of Western society, and particularly not here in America.  We are suffering from dysfunction in almost every aspect of our lives:  Looking at indicators of social stability in advanced democracies, “including poverty, inequality, education, social mobility, health, environment, militarization, democracy, and more… we are at or near the bottom….  When big problems emerge across the entire spectrum of national life, it cannot be due to small reasons….  The crisis now unfolding across our country amounts to a systemic crisis.” (The Next System Project Statement on Systemic Crisis,  retrieved 6/6/2018)

Systemic crisis requires a systemic solution.  America’s current sociopolitical system does not support the individual, the family, the community, or the planet.  Instead it is focused on the growth of corporations, the GDP, and the projection of national power.  This simply does not work.  Previous “solutions” to the problem won’t work either—they were created by the mindset that has brought us to this place—and attempting to repeat that which does not work is a definition of insanity.  Instead, we must find a whole new way to heal our society.

Rather than continuing the endless arguments on utopia versus dystopia,  Four Winds Journal’s Fall issue will explore the real challenges that we face in resolving the systemic dysfunction in American society, and how we might begin to benefit from thinking “out of the box” in order to arrive at a truly sustainable society here in this country.  Drawing on the wisdom and experience of international and local researchers, educators, activists, scientists, indigenous leaders, students, and others, we will share insights and suggestions for healthy change that we can implement at a grassroots level.

However, let us not be misled.  This will not be an easy journey or a short one.  We’re possibly looking at several decades of focused attention, collaboration, and experimentation.  Such an endeavor will require tremendous courage and determination to “keep on keeping on,” despite the resistance that inevitably accompanies great change in any society.  As Aslan in The Narnia Chronicles says, “Onwards and upwards!”

We are currently accepting submissions of short articles, art work, poetry, and fiction on the theme of sociopolitical sustainability, in whatever way you see this topic.  Be sure to visit our Submission Guidelines page for details on how to submit your work.  Please send your submissions or questions via email to:

The Editors, Four Winds Journal,

Please note:  the deadline for submission is August 31, 2018.  The Journal will be released on or shortly before October 15, 2018.  A printed version of the Journal will become available in early November.  Participating authors and artists will receive a free copy of the printed version.  Others may purchase printed copies through our website, and we are taking advance orders at this time.  Click here to order your printed copy.


Photo credit: VMcKay (The Women’s March, 2016)