Isn’t Climate Change Nice?

Post By: Bryna Cofrin-Shaw
People are nice. Very, very nice. This is not, by any means, the lesson I thought I’d learn from Climate Summer, but the more amazing favors, meals, floors, and cheers we receive, the more I’m convinced that you can’t underestimate the kindness of strangers. The New Hampshire’s first town was Nashua, where we were featured in The Telegraph. It was our first media hit and I was excited to see that the online article had comments, then immediately disappointed to find comments such as “Biking for a lie!”. New Hampshire is fairly conservative as far as New England goes, and I admit I was worried we’d be spending all of our time fighting climate change dismissers. Now that we’re in our final New Hampshire town, I am happy to say that while we’ve had a few interesting, heated discussions with naysayers, much of our time has been spent being flooded with encouragement and kindness, by contacts and strangers alike. I won’t go into the details of the homemade granola and ice cream and hugs we received as we arrived in Milford, lest I make other teams jealous, but let’s just say it was fantastic. We’re only making our own dinner once this week!

Biking across New Hampshire!

It’s so exciting to see people’s reactions to us. I’m always surprised when people are impressed by what we’re doing! It’s hard to see the big picture or the magnitude of our work this summer while we’re still living it, but I’m sure it will hit me once I leave. I learned early on that networking and relationships were an important part of our work, but until now I’ve underestimated the importance of community in the climate movement. The more time I spend at organic farms, schools, and homes the more I see that “local community” is not just about the miles (or lack there of) it takes to put food on the table. It’s about talking to your farmer as you pick up produce, bringing your kids to help out in the garden, inviting your neighbors over to enjoy that summer squash as well. It’s about biking to work, not just to save a gallon of gas, but to see the world, as you pass through it.

Team New Hampshire hula hoops at the Hanover Farmer’s Market

Everyone seems to have a different idea about what the solution to Climate Change is. Top down policy changes. Bottom-up grassroots activism. Technology. Farms. How about we just be nice to each other? Be nice to the land. Be nice to your neighbors. Be nice to the tops of mountains. Senators, be nice to your constituents. Farmers, be nice to your cattle. Judges, be nice to Tim DeChristopher. That kind of nice. The environmental movement we’ve witnessed is a wonderful microcosm of the world I’d like to see in my lifetime, a world that is connected, caring, and committed. If everyone were as kind and generous as the people we’ve come across, I wouldn’t be quite so worried about the future of this world.

I concede that this entire post may have been the most simplistic and naively optimistic thing I’ve ever written about climate change. But what if it isn’t; what if being kind human beings is all that’s required of us?
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3 Responses to Isn’t Climate Change Nice?

  1. Peter Trolio says:

    Great blog, Bryna. Simplistic? No way! Not only have you learned the importance of community and being “nice” to one another – you’ve passed that on to so many people in your work this summer. Thanks for what you’re doing and helping us connect just a bit more.

  2. michaelconley says:

    I think that you are right, Brynna! Think globally and act locally — like helping the people right next to you! Sat Nam! 🙂

  3. amyconley says:

    i love your final comment/question, that’s beautiful! It’s been great to have you in Milford… keep on keeping on!

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