GBCAN at Summerfolk

August 18-22, 2023

Seven GBCAN volunteers staffed an information booth at Summerfolk’s Community Village. Big thanks to Joyce Hall, Bob Knapp, Joachim Ostertag, Tammy Patrick, Ann Schneider, Anne Seymour, and Danuta Valleau! Thanks also to Megan Myles of Grey County who joined us to promote the Grey County Climate Action Plan!

The Community Village was located near a music venue where the music was often loud enough to make conversation a bit of a strain but of course drew people to the area.  

The photos below show our tent with its colourful displays and many ways to engage. The climate wheel is a big draw for kids who just want to make it spin, keeping their parents at the table to browse and chat. Also for kids: colouring sheets provided by Tammy of M’Wikwedong, consisting of line drawings of the seven animals of the Grandfather Teachings, and a bean bag toss. We collected 40 signatures on a petition to the Ontario Legislature to include renewables in their energy plan.

It’s always an eye-opening experience to chat with citizens. Here’s a snapshot of some of the conversations:

A man who critiqued our tent from a sustainability point of view, taking a dim view of our plasticized information sheets and galvanized tent poles.  We acknowledged his point and joked that next time we would erect a tent made of natural materials!

A woman whose social circle included people who had been convinced that anthropogenic climate change was a scam and wanted to know how to talk to them. We were able to direct her to our information wall where climate-related websites and books were listed for her to photograph on her cell phone.

A woman who wasn’t going to change her habits until the 1% stopped flying around the world in private jets. We told her Ford’s energy plan made us feel discouraged as well. She signed the petition.

A German student who was residing locally and volunteering at Summerfolk. She was interested in everything and chatted for a while with Tammy about the Grandfather teachings.

Two university students about to start post graduate work: one in environmental law and the other in medicine. We were able to connect them to CELA (the Canadian Environmental Law Association) and CAPE (Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment.)

The GBCAN is grateful to Summerfolk for the opportunity to participate and discuss climate change with participants. We will work with the organizers to find ways to make our presence even more effective next year!

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