Yesterday, I ended up finding the energy to make it to the concluding rally of the Energy Exodus. Due to some last-minute Facebook connecting, I even managed to find a ride.
And I’m so glad I did.
As David Roberts says in his brilliant essay, Hope and Fellowship (which deserves its own post):
When we ask for hope, then, I think we’re just asking for fellowship. The weight of climate change, like any weight, is easier to bear with others. And if there’s anything I’ve learned in these last 10 years, it’s that there are many, many others. They are out there, men and women of extraordinary imagination, courage, and perseverance, pouring themselves into this fight for a better future.
And that’s exactly what I got from the Energy Exodus. Hope, in the form of fellowship with everyone from children to grandmothers. Hope, in the form of dancing.
There was even a dog. Not a golden retriever, but still pretty cute.
I can’t even explain how good it feels to be with other people who understand the seriousness of climate change–the catastrophic, future-threatening, no-choice-but-to-act seriousness–and still maintain a sense of humor and joy.
One of the biggest highlights was Melodeego‘s performance, and the dancing that ensued. Melodeego is band with a social and environmental justice bent–and a set of bikes that power their equipment. They’re the ones behind the incredibly powerful song Digging Us a Hole, which is constantly stuck in my head. And when they get a crowd going, it’s pretty awesome.
A group of people, mostly students, started dancing during their performance. I couldn’t help but join in.
It was good, fist-pumping, booty-shaking fun. It was silly. It was solidarity.
We sung along, chanting: “We will rise up, rise up, rise up. We will rise up.”
After the rally, my friend Nikki mentioned that she wished there had been more dancing. I couldn’t agree more. As Emma Goldman famously sort of said, “If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.”
Another highlight was the hitting of a golden-calf pinata that symbolized fracking. It was so fun watching all the kids hitting it until it broke and then excitedly scooping up the candy.
The multi-generational aspect of the event was wonderful: from 8-year old Julian, who spoke about his ideas for turning the Brayton Point coal plant into a museum, to the Mothers Out Front, a group of mothers and grandmothers devoted to preserving a livable planet for the children.
As for other forms of diversity…it definitely could have been better. To be honest, I’ve been pretty uncomfortable with the whiteness of the climate activism I’ve seen here in Massachusetts. From everything I’ve read and seen online, the worldwide climate justice movement is extremely diverse–so why are our events so white-dominated? What can we do to make our spaces more inclusive, more welcoming to everyone? And what can I do, as someone who isn’t involved deeply enough to do much event planning or cross-movement outreach–someone who doesn’t have the time or energy right now for deep, hands-on, soul-searching, border-breaking-down activism?
I don’t have the answers. Even exploring the questions would take a whole other post. But I have to at least start asking.