Written by Amanda Crawford-Staub, Outreach Coordinator, Team Maine
Team Maine loves music. Laura Lea has found herself at a piano in almost every church we’ve stayed and I can recognize whose music is playing in the hall given the genre. We have also given ourselves rapper names….
Most recently though a few of us parodied the song Engine Driver, turning it into Climate Rider. We know the Decemberists are impressed.
The same week we were lucky to meet Matthew Heintz, an activist who is using his passion for music to oppose the East to West highway project in Maine. Matthew had the entire room laughing and nodding their heads in agreement as he sang about Mainers wanting nothing to do with the threatening industrial project.
Matthew’s song brought a different energy to a room that was so ready to discuss a serious matter. His songs were funny but I wondered how effective they were at sending a message. Did people find music to be just as credible as a power point or pamphlet? Was it just as effective?
Karen Ireland, a Belfast community member, helped me realize the answer is yes. In a discussion about the occupy movement I made a comment about generation gaps within different movements. Karen expressed that sometimes frustration comes when older generations, not just activists, insist upon routines. “Perhaps issues have not evolved as we wish because we have been resistant to change how we approach them.”
This summer has taught me a lot about respecting tradition. This is inclusive of traditions passed from one farmer to the next, community traditions of boating in the bay, and many customs in between. By the same token, however, I have learned that sometimes it is important to question what has always been. Climate Summer has introduced me to some of the most interesting and out of the box individuals, campaigns, and practices and each of them both challenge and excite me.
Matthew’s music may not have been what some considered traditional for a community meeting but I think it really spoke to some. If anything it has encouraged me to remember that there are many ways to connect with a person. Art, music, and humor are all potentially powerful. Moving forward I feel encouraged to welcome creativity and change. As Henry Ford has said, “If you always do what you’ve always done you will always get what you’ve always got.”