I was looking at some webinars shared by a faith-based organization regarding school equity and I saw “Global Climate Justice Teach-in” from Bard Graduate Programs in Sustainability was on the list. Only half an hour? I put it on my calendar, sure that when the time came, I would ignore it and do work that was required. But lo and behold, the day came, I had time, and I had the inclination to do more regarding climate crisis than I have been, which is mainly wringing my hands. So, action. I was one of 4 or 5 on the call, which began with a presenter quoting Uncle Brother (my great uncle), AKA Thomas Berry. “I’m in,” I thought. Another presenter said, “I know you think you don’t have time. But the time is now!” He was right. No one in my area was leading a teach-in, so I thought, “Why not me?”
So I started putting together a program. I happen to know Bonnaroo’s former director of sustainability (she’s my sister). Another person I know happens to have been to the arctic with climate scientists in order to deploy sensors that collect data for his SCULPTURE INSTALLATIONS. Cool. Very cool. Literally. But not literally as cool as it used to be. 😦
So then I got in touch with some student activists, who helped me with the planning and the program. They reached out to help with promotion. Another professor helped out as well, crucially helping me understand that a one-hour program was better than a three-hour program. Indeed it was! A local environmental news organization, Hellbender Press, ran a story.
Last minute, I got an energy nonprofit, The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, to join. Their executive director complemented the program well with some policy talk.
So it was a good program! If I do say so myself. You should watch it. Tierney Bradley, a Cherokee student activist, led the call with a land acknowledgement. We have to have indigenous people leading the climate justice movement, so she kicked off the meeting. My sister talked about her transition from a focus on energy inputs and carbon footprint to prioritizing healthy communities. As she said, “Who cares if you’re carbon neutral if there are gross inequities?” My friend Cy showed some video of the scientific art he does and answered questions. The student activists and other participants asked good questions, and the director of SACE helped us understand how some folks like him are working on preventing fossil fuel expansion. Here’s the link: Knoxville Area Worldwide Climate Justice Teach-in