From Edina to Cancun by Way of Capitol Hill
By Jonathan Pearson on Friday, November 19th, 2010
“DC needs our help,” says Edina Minnesota RPCV Paul Thompson (Malaysia 70-73), who we caught up with on Friday along with 18 year old Canadian colleague Malkolm Boothroyd. They are part of a group calling itself “350 Solutions Revolution”. The group is biking across the nation to film and document what local communities are doing to better the climate and promote more sustainable living practices. The final destination is Cancun and the upcoming United Nations Climate Summit. But this past week, the group made a stop in our nation’s capital to meet with lawmakers and advocate for positive change to protect our climate.
“We don’t have enough time to wait for two more years. We need to make sure that the politicians know that these (positive community actions) are happening now,” says Thompson. The group of bikers held meetings with various congressional offices and met face-to-face with Senators Mark Udall and Amy Klobuchar, Congressman Dennis Kucinich and Congressman Eric Paulsen. “In one sense there’s a lot of gloom, but in another sense you have to remember that people are making an effort to come to Washington to talk about the issues they care about,” adds Boothroyd. “I’m hoping that people will think beyond the next election cycle. It gives us a shot at inheriting a planet that’s as peaceful and prosperous as the one that we have now.”
Thompson and Boothroyd say they came across some very interesting and innovative solutions to better the climate. Alternative sources of energy at many stops along the way. A local community in Chicago, turning an abandoned meat packing plant into a verticle farm. Communities in Detroit that are growing local gardens in sites hard hit by the auto industry and engaging young single mothers in programs that provide education, childcare and healthy eating. Thompson says “If we are going to make a difference we have to organize our blocks, our neighborhoods, work with city councils and school boards to institute sustainable practices where we live and then communicate that message to our government.”
Special thanks to Norah Mutuma who co-authored this blog post.