Sunday, January 22, 2012

Green Bowdoin Alliance

Happy start of the semester! I’d like to say a word from Bowdoin College, and explain our system that we’ve begun this year. We reformatted the clubs from last year and are still working out the kinks, but I think it’s on the right track.

The club is called Green Bowdoin Alliance and underneath that umbrella there are sub-groups with various focuses. We also have partner groups on campus with slightly different aims or a different domain – like the Bowdoin Organic Garden, Green Global Initiatives (a club that brings green career related speakers to campus), and the EcoReps (which are actually paid students organized by the Bowdoin Sustainability Coordinator). Under GBA thus far, we have sub-groups focused on student behavior, facilities, dining, and politics. Each of these groups has their own leader, and then the whole Green Bowdoin Alliance has a leader and a team of specialists to answer questions about funding, run meetings, and send out enthusiastic emails. We started out having a few general meetings and letting the sub-groups decide when to meet on their own, but that seemed to be too hard to organize, and we’ve decided to hold bi-monthly general meetings and split up into groups within the meeting. This will hopefully encourage participation and give the sub-groups time to talk to each other, as many of their proposed issues and campaigns are related.

Much of last semester was taken up by organization, but there are a few specifics we worked on: posting a fact campaign to encourage recycling; tabling to reduce tray use, with an added emphasis to reduce meat consumption; and learning more about Maine’s political environment. A group of us went to the Tar Sands Action Campaign in D.C. in November (a bit of an organization mess, but we ended up going at the last minute; and it was successful in convincing Obama to say no to the XL pipeline, according to the latest news!).

Now that this explanatory post is over, I hope to continue to post about events and future plans. Good luck with the semester!

Green Bowdoin Alliance, Bowdoin College

Friday, October 21, 2011

Coming Together Down East

Hey all,

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,

Monday, October 10, 2011

Goals moving forward

After an incredibly successful weekend of generating ideas about environmental action in on our campuses and beyond, people volunteered for specific jobs and they are listed below. There are also goals pertaining to everyone- let's really buckle down in the next few weeks and make sure to keep us all informed via this blog! Good luck!

Specific Jobs:

Lucas: joining email lists for sierra club etc.--> sustainmianenow
            Staying on top of bills and state legislation this fallà update to blog
            Keeping track of what hearings etc. are coming up in January

Katie: update blog about international policy/COP plans
            Update blog after COP

Annie: -check in with all schools about Climate Action Plans, how each school uses
 energy and how plan to reduce
            -keep in touch with Unity and Farmington

Margaret: -check in with powershift organizers about bus/ logistics
-       get in touch with Andy about bus down
-Orno/ USouthern Maine/  St. Josephs

Shannon/rest of Bowdoin: - look into how many interested in going to DC on
November 6th
            -look into vans
            -look into van cert./ drivers

Avery: -get in touch with University of New England

Goals for everyone:

- Keep the blog going!!

-       - connect with administration/ faculty committees on the environmentà create dialog
-       - make sure to pass on leadership successfullyà deligate successfully, inform new members of potential future leadership
-      -  organize garden initiatives- get more people involved in campus gardens
-       - Tar Sands education/ campus awarenessà try to recruit for Nov. 6th
o   Tar sands petition
-      -  bi-weekly posts- COA and Bates post this week
-       - Ted Ames—sustainable fisheries
-       - Keep others informed about speakers/events at our schools
-       - Continued outreach to other Maine schools
-       - February Meet-up