Final Destination: Brookline

Posted by: Kara

We knew that Brookline would be a whirlwind week. But we could not have imagined just how rewarding it would be.

When we arrived in Brookline, we held a community organizing workshop for members of Climate Change Action Brookline (CCAB), a local organization working to reduce Brookline’s carbon output. Our workshop was a huge success: Not only did we offer CCAB ideas about how to strengthen their growing efforts to create Eco Teams, sign residents up for NSTAR Green (a program where residents can purchase their electricity through wind, rather than coal, oil, or natural gas), and continue other local initiatives, but we also forged relationships that only grew stronger throughout the week as we canvassed with them and worked at the Brookline Farmer’s Market.

We also had the opportunity to meet with Represetative Frank Smizik, Chair of the Massachusetts House Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change, and share some of our stories from our 8 weeks cycling throughout the state. As he said, it is critical that we each let our local legislators know how much we care about the health of our planet.

At the Massachusetts State House

On Thursday, we were thrilled to host our own event: a Climate Vigil at a park directly off of the busy Harvard Street in downtown Brookline. We sought to explore the emotional side of climate change, the fears and hopes we all have but seldom take the time to share. We spent the early part of the week collecting cardboard, paint and markers to make gravestones symbolizing some of the things we fear to lose to climate change. One read “Peace,” others, “New England Winters,” “Stable Economy,” and “New Orleans.” The largest gravestone summarized it all with Katie’s clever line: “Climate Change is a Grave Situation.”

Setting the mood for our climate vigil

Vigil Part 1: Our Fears.

We led about 40 attendees in an honest discussion of our fears of what we will lose to climate change, before leading everyone in a hopeful, powerful march to Coolidge Corner where we lit candles and articulated our hopes for the future. Rabbi Emma Kippley-Ogman from Congregation Kehillath Israel and Marla Marcum, director of our program, began the event with a poignant prayer and poem.

Amid the gravestones, depicting things we fear to lose to climate change

Vigil Part II: March to Coolidge Corner.

We led the growing group in a march down Coolidge Corner to physically separate us from our fears and to move toward the hope we see for the future.

March to Coolidge Corner

You can see just how joyous our march was:

Vigil Part III: Our Hopes.

We ended the evening with each person lighting a candle as she articulated something hopeful about the future. Caroline led us in a call to action and Ed, a member of CCAB we had canvassed with earlier in the week, led us in song . After triumphant cheering, we embraced, blew out our candles, and made our way to J.P. Licks for a delicious, ice-cream end to the night.

Candlelight vigil at Coolidge Corner, where we shared our hopes for the future

I want to leave you with a video from a presentation we did at a local camp. After we spoke to campers ages 6-9 about climate change and what they can do (some common themes: bike more, use lights less, air-dry clothing), we led them in THE cheer of the grassroots climate movement. Sit back, relax . . . and maybe even take some action of your own.

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