Author imagines a way forward amid environmental upheaval

June 19, 2024 | News | Volume 28 Issue 8
Aaron Epp |
‘This is a book about how to be people of hope,’ says Leah Reesor-Keller. Supplied photo.

A new book offers practices for leaders and communities to foster healthier cultures during a time of ecological devastation. 


In Tending Tomorrow: Courageous Change for People and Planet, Leah Reesor-Keller shares her own journey of meaning-making amid environmental and social upheaval with the hope that readers will use it to make sense of their own experiences, values and beliefs.


“It’s kind of about climate change, but it’s actually a book about leadership, community-building, organizations and culture shift,” the Kitchener, Ontario-based author said by video call last month.


Reesor-Keller was the executive minister for Mennonite Church Eastern Canada from 2020-22, and is currently the interim executive director at KAIROS Canada, an ecumenical organization that works toward ecological justice and human rights.


Over the last 18 years, she has worked with churches and nonprofits in Canada, Haiti, Jamaica and Nepal.


She draws on those experiences throughout Tending Tomorrow.


A book by U.S. activist Adrienne Maree Brown, Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds, influenced Reesor-Keller. It got her thinking about how the components of different organizations, including churches and charities, come together to create change.


“I started looking back at my own life and culture and faith tradition and trying to go back to the roots and imagine a different way forward,” she said.


“So [the book is] less what should we do and more [about exploring] what are the pieces that are leading us to make the decisions that we do, and act and value the way that we do, and what might need to be different.”


The idea that the climate crisis is a leadership crisis resonates with Reesor-Keller.


“We have a lot of solutions. We have a lot of technical fixes,” she said. “We know we have to move away from fossil fuels. We know we need to live a lifestyle of less consumption. So, to me the interesting thing is how are we going to construct culture, societies [and] a world where that is possible. I think churches, faith communities, theology can play such an important part in setting up the foundations.


An early potential title for the book, which Reesor-Keller dedicated to her two children, was Gritty Hope.


“This is a book about how to be people of hope, even as there are many challenges around us,” she said. “My biggest hope is that this book helps people hold on to hope and move out of despair or apathy into looking to make the changes that they can that are in front of them.”


Reesor-Keller is eager for people read the book with others and talk about it using the study guide that’s included.


“Because the themes of the book are interconnection, resilience [and] interdependence, that means it’s not about what one person does by themselves,” she said. “It’s about what people do together.”


Tending Tomorrow will be in bookstores on June 25. For details, visit

‘This is a book about how to be people of hope,’ says Leah Reesor-Keller. Supplied photo.

Share this page: Twitter Instagram

Add new comment

Canadian Mennonite invites comments and encourages constructive discussion about our content. Actual full names (first and last) are required. Comments are moderated and may be edited. They will not appear online until approved and will be posted during business hours. Some comments may be reproduced in print.