Post by: Sara
Our usual farmers market schtick centers around photo petitioning and sign up sheets for environmental groups both existing and potential (and passing out Boloco ping pong balls). In Winchester we took it to the next level: a way to involve everyone, whatever their passion.
We invited each passer by to chat with us about what Climate Summer is and what that person’s involvement with climate change action has been. Each person had different concerns. There were those who feel that political action is the key. We asked them to photo petition. There were some who saw a solution in local action. We were conveniently set up next to the Sustainable Winchester table, where Alan Field was signing folks up to participate in Cool Winchester, a carbon footprint reducing program. Those in the local camp all seemed excited to talk with Alan. Some people wanted to learn more, or to talk more. We invited them to our movie night that evening, where we screened a film and then held a discussion. When we struggled to make a connection, “are you a biker?” tended to work well. We could then tell them about our bike ride this upcoming Thursday (see the website for more details!). For those who didn’t want to ride, or already committed to another event, or knew Caroline, or just seemed awesome, we plugged Western Mass’ Climate Vigil. Finally, for those in a rush or those who were interested in nothing we had to offer, we sent them off with our business card.
On the cynical side, you could call what we did a great application of the hard ask: “Can you make it to this? No? Well, how about this?” I, however, would argue that it was really in keeping with the mission of Climate Summer. As climate change is a phenomenon that has never before happened, we do not know for certain what we can expect or what the best solution is to combat it. We do know that we need to take action from many different levels and that we must all get involved. And as activists, we know that it is when people take action in accordance with their passions that can make truly great changes. On a small scale, we engaged people around their passions and helped people connect with other passionate people. It felt sort of like fitting piece of a puzzle together. These people and these ideas and these actions fit with each other and it was just a matter of piecing them together.