Last night, a bunch of us from Summer of Solutions met up with folks from the Will Steger Foundation and the Trek to ReEnergize America. The Trek is a bike trip of riders from around the country who are traveling from Seattle, WA to Washington, DC to bring attention to the need for strong action on climate change and energy security.
The approach that these riders are taking turns out to be extremely similar to the outcome of a recent SoS workshop that Timothy led on community organizing. We have all come to the conclusion that the most vital aspect of organizing is this: to listen. The riders aren’t going into communities spreading fear about “global warming”, because for most Americans, there is already enough to worry about these days. Instead, we benefit more from listening to the concerns within a community and the actions that communities are already taking to address the concerns they have. Perhaps not surprisingly, our end goals are fairly similar — we all want to lower our energy costs, ensure that we (and our neighbors) have family-supporting careers, and thrive in communities that are healthy and connected. Talking less and listening more is a strategy we are all striving for.
I realized how much the Trek is something I would love to be a part of. While I can’t change my summer plans at this point, I am going to bike with the Trek today, along with some other SoS folks, to Stillwater, MN, where we will enjoy a folk concert, and before back to the Twin Cities (~50 miles round trip). I can’t wait to hear more stories from the Trek (and make a few of our own) along the way.