Over the past few weeks, Team East’s adventures have included a lot of wrong turns, bike mechanical issues, thunderstorms, and ke-kawing (our team’s form of communication while on the road). Despite everything that goes wrong, I’m amazed by my teammates’ ability to remain calm and stay positive. After we went 20 miles the wrong way on our first day, I couldn’t believe how relaxed everyone was. They all just accepted it and turned their bikes around. Meanwhile I tried to keep a calm front while on the inside I was stressing like crazy. I learned a meaningful lesson from my teammates that day. I learned that things will always go wrong and there is nothing you can really do about that. Therefore, it’s better to just turn your bike around and keep on pedaling.
On one of our rides, it rained the entire time. I thought to myself, “great, this is going to be awful.” But then it turned out to be one of my favorite rides ever. I didn’t mind when I got a flat or when we had to fix Nicholas’ chain twice. It didn’t even bother me that I was soaked from head to toe. Being able to ride through the shimmering, green forests with the sound of rain all around brought a genuine since of peace inside of me. And now, I love biking in the rain, especially when it’s with my incredible solid and supportive team.
I look at humanity, specifically in the United States, and how much we complain about everything. Then I wonder what could come from everyone being just a little bit more positive. Would problems go away? Most likely not, but I like to think that people would get less caught up in their own issues to focus on the bigger picture.
In the spring of this year, 22 college students set aside their own issues and problems and decided to dedicate their summer to the bigger picture. By being here at Climate Summer,we are showing that young people like ourselves have a unique opportunity to let go of the aspects of life that can consume us when we are older- such as paying bills and supporting our families- in order to do something that will impact communities outside of our own. We are very fortunate to not have to sweat the small stuff. This is not to say that someone who is not a college student can’t join in the movement. I have met so many people who are doing everything in their ability to stop this pipeline. The way they do this is by keeping positive and keeping calm when they hit a bump. I am in no place to say that you should drop what you’re doing to dedicate your time to stopping the pipeline but I do think that upon personal reflection, you might find there is always space to work on what you are passionate about.
It’s time we ditched the umbrellas, got our shoes a little muddy, and welcomed the rainstorms.