When we were walking around downtown Portland about a week ago looking for a venue to hold our Climate Café, I was expecting to need all my persuasive skills to convince a manager to let us use their space. As students, we are often unfairly seen as less credible in the eyes of business managers. In addition, our event is directly related to climate change, a subject that can sometimes be politically charged.
The first café we tried proved a little difficult, as expected. The space was small, the manager needed to ask his superior and he wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about our event. We kept on going though, determined to find the right café.
We soon found ourselves in front of another one, this one very different from the first.
When we entered the café, crisp and natural in its decor, I knew it would be the place. More than the observable advantages of necessities such as capacity, tables and location, this smoothie café seemed to embrace the values that we ourselves were looking to share. I remembered just a few seconds earlier, noting the sign above the entrance that read: Roost House of Juice – organic, local, sustainable. All of these values fit right in with our work with Climate Summer.
The moment I started giving our pitch to the co-founder, Jeanette, I couldn’t help but smiling. Her friendliness was a sweet treat after a few stressful days on the road and she seemed to be following our request even while vivaciously juicing some vegetables. She was interested in the event from the very beginning, and when she told us that the Roost sees itself as a community space, I was reassured that this was the right place for us.
From the locally-grown organic vegetables they use for their menu to the black and white photographs from a local artist displayed on the walls, the Roost truly reflects its values of sustainability and community. Appropriately, these two ideas complement each other and reflect the values of the Climate Summer program. I was both ecstatic and relieved to find out that we could use the space for our event. It just felt right being there. A homey atmosphere permeated the café. And as the saying goes: home is not a place, it is a feeling.
This image of people sharing communal values is one that this movement greatly needs. There are plenty of people who are interested in social movements these days, and many are allies of the movement to solve the climate crisis. Our goal is to stimulate these people to act on those values and realize that this issue impacts ALL social movements. Without a stable climate, nothing is certain.
Imagine if every customer that went to Roost in search of organic and local food options could see how those values apply to this movement. Even more, imagine if we could all go beyond that and see climate justice as not just “a” social movement, but rather “our” social movement.