Thank you to Tony and Anne Ferrara and Rob Shetterly for sharing information about Climate Action Net on the Blue Hill Peninsula.
Please visit their website to get involved at https://www.climateactionnet.org/
The Connection Project: Overview
Often a CAN project
- begins with a dream,
- follows up with a plan and
- ends with the
The Connection Project is no exception. It is based on the assumption that an organized community is better situated to respond to the stresses of climate disruption than a community without structure, without communication networks and without internal familiarity. The initial stage of the organizational model involves bringing together small groups of folks with a common characteristic to share their views about our climate crisis and to identify any activity which can increase our community’s resilience. Later, these groups representing different sectors of the community, will be brought together as described in the Connection Plan.
Some projects, such as the Climate Open-Mic at Tinderhearth, involved dozens of volunteers to implement, while The Climate Convergence Conference at GSA engaged almost one-hundred volunteers. We are “going to the well again” and asking for your participation. It would involve choosing one or more groups (Environmental, 3rdAct/Elder, Faith/Spiritual, Arts, Social Services, Health Practices, Educators, and Youth) and being an active member in expressing your views and listening deeply to others. Once the groups find their focus and direction, they will be invited to participate in a joint conversation and share their ideas about possible actions.
Be part of this exciting project to minimize the instability to our community that climate disruption will cause. Go to the Connection Project: Implementation and join one or more groups. Let’s get organized!
THE CLIMATE CONNECTION PLAN
Climate Action Net is embarking on a new project in conjunction with Rob Shetterly and Americans Who Tell the Truth. It is a complicated initiative which is thus far meeting with surprising and encouraging responses. The project involves creating groups aligned with the different sectors of the community (such as environmentalists, artists, social service providers, spiritual/faith leaders, local food producers, elders and youth). Each self-organizing group, using its unique perspective and gifts, will identify what it can contribute to…
- raising climate awareness
- increasing local resilience
- organizing for action
The next stage of the project is to bring the silos together in a conversation orchestrated by Dennis Kiley, the director of the Eco-Psychology Initiative. Employing the eco-systems lens, which emphasizes diversity and interconnectedness, sufficient synergy can be created to bring our climate crisis center stage in a community Climate Awareness Day, replete with teach-ins, science presentations, art, music, rallies, etc.
Every attempt will be made to include individuals affiliated with organizations central to its respective sectors. For example, the environmental group will hopefully include individuals associated with marine protection organizations, conservation groups, and climate science educators.
Progress is being made in forming the groups, for example, the “Food Provider Group” is receiving a robust response from local farmers who appreciate the severity of the climate emergency and are invested in ensuring that our towns have local food security. The “Faith Group” is well on its way with Christian ministers, Buddhists, Quakers and non-denominational seekers pondering how their pathways might inspire, challenge and model what justice, compassion and caring for the Earth might look like at this critical time. Artists in all categories – graphic, performance, crafts, and virtual – are needed to take their rightful and creative place in this initiative, and environmentalists are being sought to constitute their group.
This could be the evolutionary moment of the fierce urgency of NOW. The community may be in readiness. The climate-induced grief and anxiety, coupled with love and compassion for our beautiful home, could be the beginning of a great turning from despair and apathy to hope and collective action.
Let us not look behind us for answers. They do not live there. We must imagine ourselves forward, envision the world we want to create, and feel the new reality in every cell of our beings in order to bring it about – for it is our feelings, our passion and our compassion that will propel us toward the future we desire, toward a healthy and positive relationship with the Earth. What might the world we want to live in look like?
THE CONNECTION PROJECT DREAM
IMAGINE a locale that is beautiful and bountiful…
IMAGINE a place where the people are friendly and helpful…
IMAGINE a culture that is intellectually stimulating…
IMAGINE a space where music enthralls and art inspires…
IMAGINE towns where livelihoods vary from land to the sea…
IMAGINE land that is growing healthy and affordable food…
IMAGINE a society with a multitude of people devoted to the common good…
IMAGINE the poor, the homeless, the mentally ill, the abused, the addicted who are compassionately served by these individuals and organizations…
IMAGINE a community becoming aware of a future climate that can turn this blessed creation into an unhealthy, hostile and dangerous dystopia…
Wait a minute, we don’t have to imagine these things, this is our home!
But let us also:
IMAGINE these many and diverse folks and groups coming together to address our climate emergency with their unique perspectives, voices and skills…
IMAGINE this populous (both young and old) breaking through the barrier of despair into action…
IMAGINE residents organizing to make every municipality, school, and business part of the solution to our climate crisis…
IMAGINE the building of needed physical and social infrastructure to forestall and minimize the disruption caused by climate instability…
IMAGINE building a just and equitable world worthy of our love…
IMAGINE loving this world so much that we work tirelessly to protect it…
The Connection Project: Implementation
CAN’s climate initiative, the Connection Project, involves forming a variety of affinity groups representing different sectors of our community. The purpose of these several groups is to raise climate awareness and action and to increase community resilience. It is an ambitious project, but this is the time for such efforts, and all are invited to join in and make it happen.
Below are listed several groups reflective of different sectors in our community. Choose the one that best matches your interests and your role in our community. If none of the groups resonate with you, but you still want to be part of this initiative, create a group that you would like to lead. In response, you will receive an email inviting you to a Zoom meeting in which more information about the Connection Project will be supplied in order for the group’s direction to emerge.
Learn more about each group’s focus
- Environmentalists and Lovers of a Healthy Earth
- Third Act (Elders)
- Social Services/Complementary Health
- Other (create your own group when you Join)
Environmentalists and Lovers of a Healthy Earth
Many individuals in our community identify themselves as environmentalists — a category that would include all those involved in marine protection, conservation, trash/recycling concerns, pesticide restrictions, etc. Many such individuals are associated with formal and ad hoc groups that address such issues.
All categories of environmentalists listed above share the same characteristic: love of Nature. This love is the wellspring of energy which propels them to protect the Earth. The ecological perspective of ecosystems in constant communication with each other only further enhances this caring.
Calling All Seniors
Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, is creating a national climate organization targeting elders, grandparents and retirees. It is named Third Act as in the third phase of life (60+). Complete information about this initiative is available at Third Act. He describes elders as having the awareness of the seriousness of our climate situation, as well as the fragility of our democracy. They also have the resources and experience to support the efforts of our young climate activists and those standing up for our democratic way of life.
A multigenerational effort is required for successful climate policy. We have borrowed too recklessly from the carbon budget of future generations, but we can help carry the burden that we have created for the young by participating in Third Act. Its current focus is encouraging divestment from corporations which create excessive amounts of fossil fuel emissions.
The refrain in a poem by Drew Dellinger is “What did you do once you knew?” What did you do when the “seasons began to fail” or when climate instability threatened to transform our nurturing world into a perilous one? The elder in the poem cannot sleep “because my great, great grandchildren ask me in my dreams, what did you do once you knew?”
Clearly, each elder aware of the climate crisis must be prepared to answer this question when our offspring hold us accountable.
This group will, in part, explore how a spiritual perspective can help to address feelings of grief and despair associated with our compassion for each other, future generations and all of Earth in this time of climate instability. The group will explore such ideas as contained in the below quote.
Our very suffering now, our condensed presence on this common nest that we have largely fouled, will soon be the one thing that we finally share in common. It might well be the one thing that will bring us together politically and religiously. The earth and its life systems, on which we all entirely depend might soon become the very things that will convert us to a simple lifestyle, to necessary community, and to an inherent and universal sense of reverence for the Holy. Richard Rohr
Artists Needed to Make the Revolution Irresistible
Calling artists of all stripes (written, graphic, performing, digital and craft artists) to enlist your services for a healthy planet and a community more resilient to climate disruption. Art has often been in the forefront of social change. Its ability to ‘give pause’ and ‘move people’ deeply is exactly what is required at this time, i.e., move people from grave concern of the climate peril to constructive collective action.
The Art Group is being formed to support the overall work of the Connection Project and to bolster the impact of every other action group. Art is a leaven. There is not much in this world that cannot be warmed up, lit up, nourished, or spotlighted by a little color, a bit of theater or poetry or music or song. These have the tendency to catch us unawares, speak to the heart, and suggest to the imagination new ways to get from “here” to “there.” No one who wants to join need be an artist by profession. There is plenty of creativity in all of us.
— We are indebted to Lee Chrisholm of Freeport CAN for the creative prose of this invitation.
Social Services/Complementary Health
“If we are going to save the world from the threat of global warming, we need to create a world worth saving. If we are not serving our children, the poor, and the excluded, we are not addressing the climate crisis. If fundamental human rights and material needs are not met, efforts to stem the crisis will fail.” — Paul Hawken
This invitation to the health care sector of our local community is to those who serve the physical, emotional and psychological needs of our neighbors, as well as to those who respond to the immediate needs of folks in crisis. It is clearly directed toward those who also appreciate the existential threat posed by continued human behavior which is degrading Earth’s life systems.
This affinity group will include teachers, librarians, counselors, parents and mentors.
In a survey of Maine teachers, the most frequently requested assistance was help with Climate Education. There is a bill before the state legislature, LD 1902, which will make funds available to accomplish this. It is not a mandate that requires content to be included in your classroom, but grants made available to schools and districts that choose to upgrade their Climate Education.
Current thinking in Climate Education includes but goes beyond the Physical Sciences to also identifying what is being done to mitigate the impact of climate disruption by the many climate action organizations. It is a blessing that education is transitioning from a passive model of observing and understanding to a more dynamic model of understanding and action. It simply doesn’t make sense for educators to prepare our youth for success and achievement in a future that may not materialize unless our youth are actively engaged in its creation.
The Youth Group is comprised of high school and college students, most of whom are associated with CAN or members of high school Ecology Clubs. CAN has been committed to encouraging youthful engagement of the climate crisis since its inception through its Climate Empowerment Project, which includes working closely with CAN Climate Interns.In the words of one of CAN’s interns and a member of the Youth affinity group:
As a young person, I feel keenly aware that I will witness many of the increasingly devastating effects of climate change during my lifetime. Like many, I feel an urgency to contribute to climate action. I hope that by impressing on others the immediacy of our problem, I can influence them to join the efforts to fight climate change. Henry Penfold DIS HS Climate Intern
A young person has a very different view of the future from an adult or elder, and this unique perspective must be included for the different generations to be united and successful in protecting the Earth.