Sitting outside of our (soon to be evicted) community house in Omaha, Nebraska I reflect on the Omaha Summer of Solutions.
By some accounts our program could be perceived as a failure. We didn’t mobilize a million, a thousand, or even a hundred to demand clean energy investments in Nebraska and we didn’t shut down a coal plant (yet). We lost volunteers and participants every month and by July we didn’t have anything substantial to put on paper and say we accomplished. But on closer examination we achieved much more than other campaigns that I have been apart of can claim.
When we measure deliverables people like numbers and stats to prove that something concrete was generated. But in Omaha this summer we helped people learn how to support, sustain + believe in themselves. Just sitting on the porch and talking to people became a political activity. We gave people plants, told them how much sun and water they needed and the let them “do it themselves.” We connected people with a free weatherization program for their homes and tore up part of our front lawn to plant tomatoes and tomatillos to provide an example of how mono-chromatic ground cover can be changed to add “spice” to life. It’s not what we did it’s what we inspired other to do and if you ask me there is not enough of that in the “youth climate movement.”
The summer was too short, but I feel like I helped change people’s lives, and if that isn’t powerful I don’t know what is.
We were not as effective as we could have been but we learned a lot about ourselves and will surely grow from this experience. We have become more powerful people and created a stronger community while doing that.
This is an invitation to join us in creating the space for communities to grow and strengthen by creating solutions to the problems our society has given us. It will not be what you expect, it will not be perfect but Summer of Solutions will change your life and the life of those around you. Solutions are not something you create in a summer, two summers, or a million. They are something we help craft over a lifetime. I urge you to be solutionary in everything you do. Strive for the solutions that will really transform our society into something you will be proud to be apart of.
“be the fairytales you wish to read.” – from a wall in our house
From Omaha with Love,
Tyler Magnuson Omaha Summer of Solutions
My name is Serena, and I was a part of Fayetteville’s SoS program this past summer. It was our first year, and I related to almost everything you said. It’s frustrating to not have the numbers and stats to spout whenever necessary, but I think it’s much more meaningful and much more sustainable success to be personally and deeply riled.
I hope all is well in Omaha and that good vibes are still a-flowin’. I’d love to learn more about your program sometime.
All the best,