Posted by Peter Trolio
I was so pleased when Kristin Jackson of the Maine Climate Summer Team asked if I’d be willing to do a guest blog. I’ve shared with others numerous times that the way to get people to help is to personally tap them on the shoulder, often one person at a time. So thanks for the tap, Kristin! By the way, the training on self-mediation at Camp Wilmot only happened because Craig and Marla personally tapped me on the shoulder. My hope is that the work that all of you are doing right now in Climate Summer is allowing you to personally invite others to be part of the larger community of advocates for a sustainable future.
I’ve been trying to keep up with your blog posts, but you’ve all been so prolific, it’s been a bit difficult. However, all of what you’ve written including the effect of agricultural subsidies on small farmers, belting out hymns at a church service, the merits of goat rearing, dealing with the USDA over raw milk, opening yourselves up to others, and even dealing with cravings, is educating me even more about the important work you’re all doing. The bottom line in almost all of it was summarized in a blog post by the Maine team and that is “the power of working together.” And if there’s anything to remember from the training we did at Camp Wilmot that will serve you well in working with each other and with the people from the communities you visit, it’s to be an active listener. And that goes especially for people who may not see things your way. Truly listening is the best way to find a connection, even when someone thinks you’re “living in a dream world” – remember that story?
In Bill McKibben’s latest book, Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet (and that’s the way he spells Eaarth, since it truly has already become a new planet), he says that we need to “get smaller and less centralized, to focus not on growth but on maintenance, on a controlled decline from the perilous heights to which we’ve climbed.” Just as importantly, he goes on to state, “It’s also about liberation – the slow but reasonably steady process of valuing more and more people. Valuing people from all around the world, men and women, people who think and love and look different.” And finally, he says, “We can no longer afford to ignore our neighbors; they’ll be the key to our survival.” I know that the good work you’re all doing is making a difference in a smaller and less centralized way, and that you are all working with your newly discovered neighbors along the road. Thanks for bringing us all with you!