Thursday, June 18, 2009

Staying up-beat on Cape Cod

I have not posted for awhile, but I feel a comeback. Lately I've been so touched by Sanaz's updates all the way from Iran, where her family's from, and where people are still protesting the results of the presidential election. Please read them!

I'm on Cape Cod with a program called Mass Climate Summer; we are biking around the state trying to unite people who want to get more involved in the climate change movement. We go door to door for about 3.5 hours a day, as well as deliver an unbelievable symposium called Awakening the Dreamer, which is meant to awaken people to the possibility of a new existance on this planet, one that is environmentally sustainable, socially just, and spiritually fulfilling. Our first symposium will be held this Saturday afternoon at the Barnstable library.

I don't get paid for this "internship," but I am given food and housing (at churches and personal homes). The most frustrating aspect of the program, besides the lack of clean clothing I can carry in my backpack at one given moment, is that people so far have been uninterested in taking a bigger step in the climate change movement. I can get people to sign the petition we bring around that demands Congress Repower America with 100% clean electricity in the next decade, but the majority that sign do not want to do anything besides this. While I understand that people have their own lives and passions that they direct their energies to, I am surprised that more people have not been receptive to conversations about energy conservation or anything of the like. I have more luck talking with them about their dogs, which gets on my nerves because I don't feel like I am making good use of my time.

Another aspect of this whole thing that I've been thinking about is the message of the petition, which as I said before calls for 100% clean electricity in the next decade, i.e. the federal government needs to find solutions to enable the country to switch from burning coal and oil for electricity to utilizing renewable energy sources such as hydro power, wind power, geothermal, and solar/photovoltaic. A lady at a door told me that she'd sign my petition, but that it would "never happen." Clearly that's not the attitude one should have if he is looking for change, but I've been wondering whether the demands of the petition should be more easily attainable. People who disagree with me might cite the example of the fall of apartheid in South Africa to argue that swift change is possible. While I agree that swift change can happen, I don't think that getting 30 signatures per day will really help make this happen. I have been honest with my groupmates about my skepticism because I wanted their opinion. They do not like canvassing either, but don't seem to be affected by the same feeling of misappropriating their time. We talked about canvassing on the beach, but the weather has not been great yet, and someone said he did not want to disturb people. I countered the latter by saying that it would not be a great disturbance to calmly approach sunbathers (isn't it a bit more invasive to approach people at their doors?).

I will stay as positive as I can without forcing it. Either way, I have been enjoying living and getting to know new people, biking around the Cape and watching its beautiful sunsets, and meeting the few people that have something incredibly special that they unknowingly share with everyone they meet.

1 comment:

Kristen Gehrman said...

Good to have you back. I know you are passionate about the environment, but don't let other people's apathy get you down. I say be swept away with your experience, not burdaned by the job.

What is canvassing?