I’m positive I speak for everyone at Boston College when I say: Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!  I’m so grateful to be a part of this group.  Enjoy the break.

 

Rebecca

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“All ethics so far evolved rest upon a single premise: that the individual is a member of a community of interdependent parts.  The land ethic simply enlarges the boundaries of the community to include soils, waters, plants, and animals, or collectively: the land…  In short, a land ethic changes the role of Homo sapiens from conqueror of the land-community to plain member and citizen of it.  It implies respect for his fellow-members, and also respect of the community”   –Aldo Leopold

And there I was, looking over the vast expanse of the White Mountains in New Hampshire under a cloudless sky—the sun in all its radiance reflecting off the white snow-covered mountaintops.  The winter air was cold I could see my breath and hear the snow crunching under my feet.  The air smelled of fresh pine.

I saw animals, and everything natural around me—all dynamically interconnected to the infinite flows of life… But I suddenly realized it wasn’t just plants and animals…I was a part of this complex web of life.

Standing there I thought about the impact of every movement I made, every step I took.  I began to understand my ability stop human threats to the ecology that makes our world environments so spectacular and diverse.

This past Sunday on the Boston Common I thought back to this experience in the mountains. I thought about the power that each and every one of us really does have to make an immense change—to leave the places/communities/environments that we call home a better place.

Each time I am in the presence of fellow members of the leadership campaign I realize how extraordinary each and every one of these leaders truly is: they are not simply one of the billions of people on this earth who is going through the motions; they are all stewards for their communities and their environment, dedicated to a future where humans will live with nature—as a part of ebbs and flows of all things living.  The movement began with a few students and now includes hundreds of people from over 20 colleges, universities, and communities who maintain a moral commitment to the days that lie ahead.  They work tirelessly for a shared vision and commitment to what will come.  And they don’t just talk about and hope for a better future…they make it happen…they don’t simply sit idly by while the state of the climate and environment worsens.  They give flight to their vision for a better future in all that they do each day.

This is a vision that seeks to forgo destructive traditions while drastically redefining a way of living collectively on this earth.  It is a vision that describes a common hope and dream of literally writing a new of history of our lived experience—a history that is based on a respect for the land and for all inhabitants of that land.

Certainly this is no easy feat.  There will be nights that chill our bones to the very core and try to drain our spirit. At some point we will undoubtedly have to make some difficult sacrifices. Those who oppose us will question our beliefs, causing us to wonder about everything we know to be true.

In the midst of all of this, we may find ourselves in disagreements amongst each other.  We may wish we had done something differently.  We may sometimes struggle to act with excitement and enthusiasm.

But, as long as we remain devoted to our vision, committed to our common cause, and dedicated in courageous faith, nothing will stop us from reaching the kind of future that all the people of this world deserve.

“Surely there never was a fight better worth making than the one in which we are engaged…If we can wake the people to what the fight really means we shall win” –Teddy Roosevelt

Matt DelSesto

BC ‘12

The dilemma this past week was how we were going to advertise for the sleepout with James Hansen.  Ideas were tossed around but nothing ever seemed attention-grabbing enough.  Then the answer appeared, as it always or maybe never does, on Facebook.  A girl who lived on my floor last year dressed up for Halloween with a bunch of her friends as NASA astronauts.  They had the suits, helmets, the whole nine yards.  So there it was.  What if we dressed up as astronauts and passed out fliers in the quad?  That’d get people’s attention.  (Yes we know James Hansen was here as a private citizen.  Doesn’t change the fact that his job title gets people’s attention.)  Unfortunately, we couldn’t get the suits, but the helmets were surprisingly easy to borrow.  Thanks Aydan!  Also, some of the guys from the best improv group on campus, The CCE, donned the helmets and did some slow motion moon bouncing for us.  So here we are, passing out fliers and screaming.  These are probably the most flattering pictures ever taken of me, Emily, and Katie.  I’m all for humiliation in the name of climate activism.

emily

katieworst picture of me evercce guysmore cce guys

-Rebecca

Turning 19 years old, I would have never thought that I’d be given happy birthday wishes from a sergeant recording my identification for trespassing. Last night on our second night sleeping out on the Boston Common, twelve officers rolled up to our campsite in seven vehicles. The knowledge of many of the cops was shocking. From listening to the discussions members of the Leadership Campaign were having with the officers; they knew a good amount of information about climate change and renewable energy. One refereed to the citizens on Nantucket as crazy, another out right said he supported our cause and had looked us up on Google. For safety and consistency of enforcing park rules, the officers did have the right to stop by our sleep out site. But the truth that we had support from the police in what we were doing further shows that our cause is legitimate and that our actions are necessary. It also shows that the issues we are facing effect everyone and the need for change are felt by a great number of people.
As students our level of personal activism is extremely important. It is our time to lead so humanity can live in a safe environment. As students of the Leadership Campaign each one of us has taken the initial steps (or leaps) into becoming strong leaders and can continue to challenge ourselves to become great together. Yesterday, looking around me, I could see not only growth in myself in becoming a better leader but in everyone. In the group meeting, as individuals talked with passion about the cause, empowering smiles were painted on the faces of becoming leaders. When Matt rose to talk about his experience thus far with the Leadership Campaign I almost had a tear. When recruiting Matt to the campaign in a one-on-one my first impressions were that he was a little shy and not entirely sure about what the group was about. He didn’t know all the science but wanted to learn. Matt also said he had limited time because of his squash team commitments but would help out where he could. In the following weeks he rose quickly into a campus leadership position. As recruitment coordinator, I became empowered and motivated by Matt’s emails even as the one who originally recruited him.  His actions were proactive and did not need instruction. Matt had become a strong leader. By the time he rose to speak with passion I was not entirely shocked but his words had an extreme effect on me. Making eye contact with Nick from BU, both of us could not help but smile with enormous grins. This was real. Like Matt, we are all real students rising to meet real problems. Sure we might not know everything going in, but we are learning, and doing a really good job at it. By supporting and empowering each other we can make a difference. Knowing what was going on in Nicks mind from across the crowd of people convinced me, if I was not already convinced, that we are in this together. My hope is that our ability, as college students from such a variety of schools, to come together and feel such strong feelings in unison and to rise so quickly into lead, can become inspiration for our elected leaders to do the same. If we can show them that we can rise with speed to work together to make change, they can to. And maybe smile in the process.

 

Katie Chin

Materials Coordinator/BC Coordinator

“Why did you sleep out in Boston Common the other night?”  It’s a question I get asked often.  Of course I explain about the Leadership Campaign and our bill and Governor Patrick and Copenhagen.  I explain about 350ppm and the rising water levels and everything else the scientists say.  Most of them are impressed at our level of commitment, but whether or not they’re impressed with our cause is another matter entirely.  Now that I think about it, I wonder if my own mother really gets why I’m doing what I’m doing.  I think she just knows it’s important because I say it is.  The key to continuing momentum and building support is to make it a human issue.  Take away the science and figures and legislators in suits.  I think back to why I got involved.  It wasn’t about the science (Lord knows I’m not a science person).  It was about people and everyday life as I know it.

I sleep out for the homeless; their growing numbers and the extreme conditions they’ll have to contend with if we continue on the path we’re on now.homeless

I sleep out for the barrier reefs, their beauty slowly being destroyed by changes in the ocean.

great barrier reef

I sleep out for families who never wanted a beach home but got one anyway.

D170-0370-04.jpgI sleep out for my peers.  The world has enough problems that are harder to solve than climate change, like eradicting violence and hate.  Why not solve the things we have solutions for?  We don’t deserve to inherit a broken world.

friends after nhI sleep out for my future children, and everyone else’s children.  I did it so they could kick through the leaves on an autumn day and build snowmen at Christmas time and splash through puddles in the spring and play in sprinklers in the summer.  The way it is supposed to be.

The next time someone asks me, “Why are you sleeping out in Boston Common?”  I’ll tell them these things.

Maybe if I make it real for them, we’ll see some new faces each week pitching a tent.

Every single one of you inspires me.  I sleep out for you as well.

-Rebecca

After six months of preparation for the big SO, I don’t think I considered the impact actually sleeping out would have on my own investment in the climate crisis. Powershift ’09 in Washington, I took part in a GreenPeace coal protest because I was attracted to the chanting and sign-waving. However, it snowed on the day of the protest, and I soon split off from the anti-coal march, and escaped to someplace warm. Looking across the semi-permanent setup of tents and clusters of “leaders,” our evident solidarity struck me; Katie sat on a curb and simultaneously took notes as a legal observer and studied for her 11:00 midterm the following day. Jay strummed his guitar and sang folk tunes reminiscent of some sit-ins and activist events we hope to emulate. Tarps served as dining tables for SOers and platforms for vegan meals of fake chicken and noodles. Eddie provided apples and bread for the SO and before going to bed, campus and state leaders huddled together and reaffirmed our mission: WE are the ones who are going to bring this climate crisis and lapse in leadership of our policymakers to an end.

Although Katie, Rebecca, Matt and I tramped to the Common without a tent, Craig and Adam offered up the extra spaces in their personal tents without hesitation. Though Matt, Rebecca, and I camped in our site coordinator, Adam’s, tent, Adam offered to take the undesirable 2:00-4:00am watch shift, and sacrificed the experience of transferring his nightly 8-hours of sleep from his bed to the cold, public Common. When Rebecca and I left the grounds around 6:00 am to make it back to our morning classes, we spotted him and other volunteers huddled around a warm grate in the Common. This scene: the sprawl of tents and guerilla messaging banners, the shivering guards of our SO site, reminded me of where billions of people may have to find themselves in the absence of climate action before the end of the century.

Watching the clips from the news that covered our action last night, I could not feel prouder seeing Nick sitting in his tent on my computer screen and teams of LC students assembling tents together.

While BC has had difficulty recruiting, I’m optimistic to take this Sunday night experience and share it with future SOers on my campus…and I love the slogan BU came up with–

WAKE UP! SLEEP OUT.

-Emily, BC 2012