I am so proud of my team for hosting our first event this past Tuesday, July 1st. We held the event at St. Francis Church down the hill near a newly constructed bridge that crosses beautiful wetlands that the Kinder Morgan natural gas pipeline is planned to come through. The reasons we are opposing the pipeline is because it will be subsidized by a electric utility bill, it will go through state parks/conservation land, and is expected to be exported to Europe. We worked hard to get people out to our event; going door to door in neighborhoods that would be affected by the pipeline infrastructure. All of this would not have been possible without the help of Rich Cowen, Julie and Bob Jette who are a part of the Dracut/Tyngsboro Pipeline Awareness group. I think we had a great turnout of ten people, many of them who were new faces to the pipeline opposition and were eager to help us.
We started off by having everyone introduce himself or herself and say what they enjoyed about Dracut. There were people from all walks of life at the event, including someone who constructs pipelines for a living, homeowners, and youth who were concerned about their future. Nicholas spoke about his experience of seeing a pipeline be constructed in his backyard in Michigan. Afterwards, I explained the value of storytelling when trying to spread awareness about an important like the construction of the pipeline. From listening to the different stories of people at the event, a key takeaway was that when we can unite over shared values in story telling, issues like the proposed pipeline transcend all other differences.
Thus far in Massachusetts, the number of people I have met who share an appreciation for nature and who have openly welcomed us into their community has moved me. Dracut was the first town I had spent a significant time in Massachusetts and I was blown away by everyone’s hospitality. I have to thank Julie, Bob and Chip for having us for dinner and always making sure we were taking care of when we were in town. A big thanks to Rich for showing us the compressor station when we first got in town and helping us get connected with people, to Joyce for supplying our team with yummy treats and to the nice man at the grocery store who donated to our “ice-cream fund”. It has been a pleasure getting to know you all and I am very excited to see you again when we come back to town early August.Our plan is to host another event on August 8th or 9th in Dracut that will bring people together from the different communities we bike to this summer so we can all share our stories, setbacks, and successes in our opposition of the pipeline. Our time spent in Dracut and Lowell has certainly been memorable because of all the committed and caring folks we met along the way!