How does a community organizer cultivate and captivate a room full of energy without sharing physical space? What draws people in when gathering and sharing a meal just isn’t possible? If there is one thing organizing during a pandemic has taught me it is that we need each other. I love organizing because I love building community by working toward a shared vision and I’ve learned that while the vision is what gets people in the door, the fulfillment in working together to achieve it is what makes a community thrive.
Drawdown a Climate Solution Series is a volunteer-led community program originally organized by our Central Peninsula Community Action Studio. It has since grown to include the Homer chapter, bringing people together with the shared goal of enacting community led, middle-out climate solutions. Following a process of researching, localizing and voting we organize and implement solutions that affect our local institutions, that many people can play a role in and that can be implemented in a year. Enacting solutions to reverse global warming is not just hopefulness. It is hope grounded in data with achievable solutions.
What makes the program strong is how we get there: First, we build relationships, we get to know our neighbors and what binds us together. We don’t love Alaska solely for the mountains or the sea, we love it for the people and in a time where we’re encouraged to stay relatively isolated, Drawdown has been an enriching and vital source of community connection. Then we learn with and from each other. There is opportunity to build climate solutions and resiliency in every sector of our communities and we all have our unique roles and experiences to share. While we narrow down the solutions we want to work on together – we learn from all the experts in the room. Throughout project implementation, folks offer unique skills and passions to the collective, enhancing a shared sense of belonging and purpose. Finally, we celebrate! Taking time to honor our accomplishments and our commitment to working towards environmental wellness draws out a sense of connecting to something bigger and deepens our social and spiritual wellness.
Inletkeeper is commonly thought of as an environmental organization, but as a Community Organizer for Inletkeeper I can say with clarity that at the heart of our organization is people. Environmental wellness cannot be separated from community wellness. Working alongside Inletkeeper volunteers is some of the most gratifying, life-giving work I’ve experienced. Inletkeeper is what it is because so many people like you have walked through our doors to build strong, resilient communities together. I’m wrapping up 2021 with an immense appreciation for each and every person who has supported us with time, energy and monetary contributions and am leaving the door open.
Together, we are centering our solutions to the climate crisis in the desire to reduce further harm to our ecosystems, avoid more suffering for Alaskans, and build resilient local economies and just communities for future generations. Our climate solutions for the watershed include increasing access to renewable energy, supporting carbon-reducing community actions, protecting cold-water refugia for salmon resiliency and building a strong local food economy.