To the Editor:
A little more than half way through the Global Climate Strike week and here I am, still reflecting and recharging from last Friday’s rally and strike in Norway. More than 100 people from the Western Foothills attended, and nearly 20 people of all ages spoke and performed at the event – sharing their perspective on the global climate crisis, and rallying in support of this youth lead climate movement.
The entire week leading up to that day was an emotional roller coaster. I went through intense feelings of sadness, anger, joy, hopefulness, and excitement. At times, organizing something like this, especially in this area of rural Maine, felt like stepping into the unknown and fighting against all odds. The Monday before the strike I remember fixating on the thought of being the only one in Longley Square, yelling about the urgency of climate change and our future to an absent audience.
This brought me to tears. However, after recognizing how overwhelming this issue is, how widespread the its impact is, how emotionally attached to my future dreams I am (as others surely are too), and how it is a deep privilege to do this work in a place where the potential to grow seems hopeful, I knew I couldn’t stop… even if I was the only one standing there in Longley Square on Friday.
I asked Scott, my friend and colleague, how he manages to continue this fight for our future, after all these years, against what can seem like a whole world of difference and pushback. He shared an inspiring story with me, which helped, but really all the evidence I needed was knowing he was still there, still fighting for this dream, this positive climate future, and that he’d continue to be there, “every step of the way.”
After this day, everything started to come together. And in the days leading up to the strike, dozens of people reached out personally to get involved and to be heard. I have so much gratitude for all of you.
When the 20th finally came, I could feel the energy of everyone. A heightened vibration. There was peace in knowing that people all over the world were coming together for the one thing that undisputedly connects us all. It was also over 70º F that day, showing us exactly what true warming feels like. I rushed to the the strike in Portland, that morning. We gathered with thousands of people in front of the city hall, sharing songs, stories, chants, and artwork. The moment I remember most about standing in that sea of people were the bees. There were bees, one by one, buzzing and weaving through this sea of people… almost as if they were there to thank us for finally waking up to the fact that we’re not only killing them, or the Earth, we’re killing ourselves. Bringing this energy back to Norway was a gift.
In a way, the rally in Norway was isolated. It was an affirmation to ourselves – the like-minded people of this community, those who already believe, who have already made a change in their life, who have taken the effort to learn more about the state of our global climate – that we’re not alone in this work. When the rally finally emerged into the streets, as a march though Downtown Norway, we made the most impact. We broke the bubble.
This was our strike against the never ending mob of fossil fueled vehicles that flood this street daily. This was our chance to touch those who had some excuse to not strike that day. Two tiny electric vehicles flanked our thread of people power, keeping us safe, and reminding the great big trucks just what they’re up against (a small, but mighty power, growing more and more every day). We stopped what was close to five minutes of traffic that would normally fly through Main Street without a second thought, backing it up from the hospital to the lake.
On a small scale, this was an important day in Norway. This was the beginning of our fight for a positive climate future, for our community to serve as an example for others like us around Maine, New England, and the Nation, and for our resilience as one global community.
Karlë Woods

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