This fall, we partnered with the Mad River Valley libraries to run a climate and ecology book club. Each month, we select a book related to an aspect of climate or ecology, and our library partners ensure that the book is made available to participants for check-out. We’ve also been lucky to have Rick at the Tempest Bookshop offer a discount to book club members who choose to purchase the selected book.
So far, we’ve hosted a book discussion at the Warren Library and Joslin Memorial Library and read “Braiding Sweetgrass” by Robin Wall Kimmerer and “Migrations” by Charlotte McConaughy. Both discussions have been well-received by the community, with over 20 attendees actively discussing the values of reciprocity, respect, and gratitude for our natural world - values that culminate from an understanding that we are not the only species on the planet. At our last book discussion, I was struck by a particular conversation about compromises we make in our quest to live sustainably. This was triggered by a discussion about the main character in “Migrations” who offers up the location of the last fish in the sea to fishermen as payment for a chance to follow and study the migratory patterns of the last Arctic terns on their fishing vessel.
Living in rural Vermont, we make a similar compromise when we drive. Even though driving might be a leading source of greenhouse emissions, it is also necessary for most of us. However, we can choose to drive and compromise by consciously limiting our greenhouse effect in other ways - limiting driving frequency, carpooling, driving an electric vehicle, composting, etc. Having a safe space where we can talk about the challenges we run into when trying to live intentionally, and hearing how others navigate this challenge has been an unexpected learning experience for me, and hopefully for the group.
We’re very thankful to our community partners for leaning in and helping us kick-start these community engagement opportunities. We plan to continue hosting these monthly events as they seem to effectively raise awareness about climate change and the world around us and inspire people to take action to protect our environment.
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