Posted by Sara Mitsinikos
According to the United Nations, 2012 has been named the International Year of the Co-op. July 7th was International Day of the Co-op, and we could not have been in a better place to celebrate it. In fact, we were in the only place celebrating: Portland, Maine. In recognition of the Year of the Co-op, a trio of bikers had embarked on a two-month long journey from Miami to Portland, with this day as the ending point. The trek, sponsored by Cabot Cheese, celebrated co-ops and showed appreciation for farmers. We got the opportunity to meet them outside their finishing point in scenic Payson Park, and bike the last stretch alongside the group. Even though we only biked a quarter of a mile with them, the reception we got and the sense of community was so prominent that it made us feel like we had been with them the whole way. It was as if Payson Park was filled with neighbors and friends, rather than strangers.
As we toured the booths of free samples and photo opportunities, it was so easy to forget the problems plaguing this world. For example, lobster rolls— a featured sandwich at the festival and a summer staple in Maine— are threatened by lobster shell disease, which is caused by rising temperatures. Issues aside, something that I won’t be able to forget is the happiness and connectivity of that day. I felt that my involvement wasn’t only to fight climate change, but also to celebrate community. In other words, I didn’t feel like I was fighting or struggling, as I sometimes do when I think of the battle against climate change that we are facing. But the Green Movement is more than a battle; it also connects people. People are brought together by their shared appreciation of the environment and of each other’s efforts. I realized that by joining Climate Summer I didn’t just join the fight against climate change, I joined a community.