Connecting Through Storytelling: Hosts Reflect
Another Climate Café has gone underway, and the hosts were pleased to see new faces of the community there to contribute to the conversation. Below are some reflections from the Café hosts from the Café on the 10th of February. Enjoy!
Every single Climate Café I attend gives me a new perspective. I always leave feeling like I’ve gained knowledge, insight, and understanding of the society and world around me. Listening to others share their experiences with extreme weather and storms- ranging from 20 years ago to 3 years ago- I felt like I made a real connection between the past and present. It became clear to me the impact climate change has had on weather and storms over the past few years. Inter-generational conversation is always immensely eye opening to me, and inspires me to continue the effort I put in and actions I take to protect our planet. Connecting with people older and younger than myself provides me with insight to the bigger picture, and I am so grateful to Climate Cafés for fostering that connection.
My name is Simone Allen and I’m a junior at the Pingree School. At my table Olivia, Tessa, and I discussed with Tessa’s grandmother and another attendee. We discussed how to face climate change in New England. In particular, experiencing weather extremities much more frequently. We also talked about how you or your family’s preparation can include taking care of others; maybe neighbors, families, and homeless people. Finally one of the most important things we talked about was remembering medical supplies and cash, for people now are so heavily dependent on ATM’s, what if they shut off? Also, the Ipswich team had an example of a “go bag” for you/family member's cars in the back of the room on display. In it was water, easily preparable food, blankets, back up batteries for your phone or radio.
This Climate Café was really inspiring to me because it was the first one that the Ipswich team, of roughly six girls, had put together themselves. Planning a Café is a really lengthy process and can be challenging at times, but this group pulled it off really well! The opening speakers spoke on storms from the past few centuries that have impacted our communities the most, and as these storms get more frequent it was eye opening to learn what has happened in the past when our communities were not prepared for these storms. The Ipswich team scripted a really clever skit to describe the difference between weather and climate. Following that we broke off into our groups to have our table conversations. My group consisted of two other Café girls, a concerned local women, and a local grandfather who brought his granddaughter from Maine along with him. Our diverse group fostered a unique conversation and we all agreed that having a good relationship with your neighbors will help in times of extreme weather. Gaining different perspectives from my group members I left feeling more connected with my community and inspired to have conversations with my neighbors. I am looking forward to the next Storm Café on the 2nd of March which will touch more on rain gardens and how they can help manage stormwater runoff.
This past Sunday at the Ipswich storm-preparedness café, I had the opportunity to contribute to the problem-solving and understanding of what to do during the growlingly intense New England storms. I also got the chance to participate as a follower this time instead of typically leading a group, which was very eye opening because it demonstrated both the positive and negative ways people react to the cafe setup, question, and overall guidance that the student provides. Being lead by another student this time allowed me to learn better ways to engage your table and generate meaningful conversation, avoiding the typical “fluff” that never seems to end. In regards to what my table talked about, we focused on the types of plans people should have before a huge storm occurs- ranging from how to pump water out of your basement, to knowing your neighbor and checking in on them, to how the city should evacuate older community members to get them to safety. We also stressed the importance of having a proactive mindset for the changing climate instead of reacting to the vigorous damage that some of these storms bring. Overall, this café was yet again a learning experience for all the different people in our local community to come together and express their knowledge, concern, insight, and hope while constantly improving our empathy and connections as humans. In the end, connection and teamwork is what is going to make huge leaps to change the future.