Lessons of Empathy from Milford

Post by: Ben Trolio, Community Outreach Coordinator, Team New Hampshire

At the caf, getting a lovely lunch at the High Mowing school

Delectable food, the New Hampshire Green Coalition and a close knit community.  The combination of these three things during our week in Milford produced the type of experiences that will motivate me far past the end of this program.  From watering ten types of potatoes with Brad the potato master of the organic Nomadic Farms to explaining our program in front of a church packed with open minds, the New Hampshire Green Coalition had mapped out the perfect week for us.  On our last day, our team of sloths sat around the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Milford. The perfect ending to our packed week.  If you had talked to me during the early part of that lazy Sunday afternoon, I would have told you that our week of events could not get any better.   An hour later I would be proven dead wrong.

I meandered into the white walled room where the rest of our team is sitting. I have been summoned by Van and now I wanted to know why he had disturbed my peace on Sunday, MY DAY OFF.  Van was clutching the phone like it was a piece of garlic (Van arguably loves garlic way more than he loves talking or smiling or laughing) and was speaking animatedly. Now, I had been bitten by a bug named curiosity.   Van gushed “We would love to skype with Bill” and with those words my loftiest hope was confirmed.  We would be picking the brain of Bill Mckibben, one of the most prolific voices of the climate movement. Are you jealous yet?

Sunday brunch with Gail Denemark and the other members of the NH Green Coalition

In the aftermath of our wonderful conversation with Bill Mckibben, I was struck by some major revelations.   Ironically enough, these thoughts had nothing to do with the epic knowledge and words that Bill had just dropped on our collective heads.   The shining highlight of my day was the fact that Gail Denemark, a member of the New Hampshire Green Coalition had gone completely out of her way to set up our meeting with Bill Mckibben.  This single thoughtful act was representative of our entire week in Milford. The tremendous amount of hard work and care that the New Hampshire Green Coalition put into our week made our group feel wanted.  These actions inspired me to not only be a better activist but to treat people as if they were related by blood.  If our movement treated humanity the way our group was treated last week, we would see a stronger movement, we would have way too many friends and we would smile way too much.

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3 Responses to Lessons of Empathy from Milford

  1. Peter Hayes says:

    To Ben and the whole team … it’s been great following you through this awesome experience. I’m sure you’ve all grown in many ways … personally and professionally. Hope to see you soon to hear some stories. Enjoy your time off before school starts up. All the best … Uncle Peter

  2. Peter K Martel says:

    Hi Folks,
    Just wanted to tell you I was quite impressed with your wisdom, energy, enthusiasm and spirit. I am quite new to NH Green so didn’t have as much time as I would have liked to be involved, but I hope you all found the entire experience to be worthwhile and inspire the world to be the change.
    Good luck,


  3. I join everyone of NH Green Coalition in saying that it was such a terrific experience hosting the NH team of Climate Summer. It was so great to get to know all of you and learn of your dreams for the future. It became abundantly clear as we sat around that table on Sunday morning – each taking a turn to say what the week meant to us – that the experience benefitted all of us in a variety of ways…. From connecting us with others who are working hard in this movement, to the subtler joy of making new friends and underscoring that there are fantastic people everywhere – and we only need to reach out to get this movement MOVING!

    I hope that we continue to stay in touch and find ever more ways to build on the connections we forged.

    What a summer you all have had! I hope you have time for some R & R, and for the past 9 weeks experiences to seep in and help foment your impassioned drive (er, bike) for a better future.

    Best to you all!


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