I thought I had posted something earlier this week but it isn't here...
The Down East has been busy; we are preparing to get people to DC for November 6th; having weekly General Assemblies in solidarity with the occupy movement to address issues facing Mount Dessert Island; and some of COA's activist got to know each other a bit better this week.
The group Margaret, Katie and I started this year, Climate Energy and Community Action (CECA) has been meeting irregularly on an as-need-be basis which has worked fairly well. Our last couple of meetings have been on bringing those who are socially conscious on campus, whether they are “doing something” or not, together. The nebulous structure of COA and it's lack of a medium for sharing societal concerns, much less making people aware of ongoing projects effectively has left everyone thinking that more is going on here than any of us know. The students who came to the first couple of CECA meetings wanted to work on that. That wasn't what Katie, Margaret and I had in mind; we wanted, and still want to eventually, do climate based education and actions in Bar Harbor. The students who came to our meetings questioned this: 'How can we unite and educate a wider community to do anything if our campus is not united or educated?'
The point was well taken. CECA decided to start getting people together with a potluck. 17 or so COA kids came, ate good food, took turns to talk about what they cared about, and went on tangents for over three hours. Margaret spoke about having emotional connectivity with place and organizing in the places we love as she had working in Appalachia around MTR and in Tennessee around fracking. Katie, sort of in contrast, talked about her love for the ocean and ocean conservation and how living in Ann Arbor, far from the ocean and not directly connected to its issues was frustrating and hard to work around. I rambled about Tar Sands. Most people there hadn't heard of them. Others spoke about UN conferences, the infamous juice machine on campus, food systems, permaculture and wellness, women's access to reproductive health services around the planet and a host of other important issues.
There was talk of next steps, having one demand or goal to work towards, regular potlucks and what CECA's next steps will be. People really enjoyed themselves and learned a lot but didn't want another group or regular meeting to attend. I think CECA will continue to be primarily directed by whoever comes to it's meetings. We may continue to try to get students more involved with all the great things already going on on campus. There is a conversation to be had between us three organizers as well as with the group about where we want to see CECA go and what our roles are or should be from here.
Margaret and I agreed over lunch yesterday that getting people down to DC this November will be the next big thing on our horizons. Andy has organized getting a bus and she is the contact person to be in touch with. There are 55 seats left and each seat is a hundred dollars for the round trip. Earlier this week the powerful video below was released by the Tar Sands Action organizers that preaches to the choir but is filled with the gospel of what I believe this movement is all about.
I hope everyone is well. Can't wait to hear what you all have been up to,