Pride, Privilege, and People Power

Dense clouds of fog conceal the nearest mountaintop from my view as I sit in the games cabin at Camp Wilmot in rural New Hampshire. I’m not here for the lake, though I’ve been pleasantly astonished by the gentle hissing of the rain on its surface while swimming, and I’m not here for the food, though I’ve dined on delicious servings of tofu, rice, beans, vegetables, eggs, and warm, home-baked bread. I’m not even here for the nature, though chirping birds and rustling leafy branches have lent a placid and warm soundtrack to my time here. I’m here in this beautifully simple place with some of the most amazing people that I will ever get to know – the Climate Summer riders of 2014.

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We are a group of students and young people gathered together to resist the expansion of natural gas in Massachusetts and fight the destructive and cruel injustice of our warming climate. Far from the rising tides that have torn lives from the shores and towns of the Philippines, we sit and discuss the finer points of our personal stories as we strive to sound sincere enough to our imagined audiences. Far from the drying lands of California and Texas, where people compete with oil and gas companies for water that they need to drink and grow food, we play team-building games and laugh at how silly it is that someone would deny climate change. We’ve danced in the barn and played card games while gas is torn out of the grounds of my home state of Pennsylvania, leaking methane and a slew of undisclosed carcinogens into the air and water of those living near the wells.

I think for a moment that maybe we’re doing this wrong, that maybe we shouldn’t be here. That our trainings and our comfortable (though sometimes cold and damp) cabins are only distancing us from the grim reality of fossil fuel production in the world. And then I recall the message, the fundamental moral, that has been emphasized and repeated frequently throughout our time here – that human communities are beautiful and powerful, that we can in fact win against these threatening evils, and we can do so together. The community that has been growing here at Camp Wilmot is not doing so in isolation. Rather, we are readying ourselves for struggles against natural gas pipelines and power plants as we face climate change and the injustice of toxic energy extraction with the bold empathy and courage that only a deep connection to each other and the people of the world can muster. We are strong together, we are smart together, and together we are ready to ride.
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follow us on twitter @climatesummer to see what we’re up to this summer!

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