World enviro-day draws scant Boulder crowd
Bob Wells | Oct 11, 2010
What must be deemed a small but resolute crowd gathered Sunday, Oct. 10, for Boulder’s part of a worldwide environmental-action day convened by the group 350.org headed by environmental author and activist Bill McKibben.Despite fairly massive pre-publicity, the crowd that gathered shortly noon at the University Memorial Center on the CU campus numbered perhaps 120, equally divided between the 20-something-and-younger (many of whom had marched from a morning workshop at Naropa University) and some resolute older activists, who included Rep. Jared Polis, City of Boulder environmental pointperson Jonathan Koehn and key organizers of the event Micah Parkin and Chelsea Hodge.
What was lacking was widespread citizen participation. The event drew a smaller crowd than 350.org’s “Day of Climate Action” gathering last Oct. 24 at the Municipal Building and perhaps fewer people than Bill McKibben’s fiery speech in a downtown Boulder church this past April 27.Where was the adult population of Boulder? Major organizational work had gone into preparing for Boulder’s part of what was billed as the “10-10-10 Global Work Party” comprising 7,300 events in 188 countries including China, Russia, Iraq and Bangladesh.
About 15 local activist groups staffed tables, the Supermassive dance troupe performed, Elephant Journal publisher Waylon Lewis emceed and 40 different presentations and small panel discussions ensued all afternoon, followed by a dance party at the St. Julien that evening.
Our own path through the day featured attendance at a very serious exploration of “Know Your Enemy: The Tools of Disconnection and How to Reconnect with the Natural Community,” conducted by Jason Coughlin, followed by an even grimmer assessment of earth’s environmental future and humans’ denial thereof, titled “Forsaking the Destruction of Earth, Embracing a New Human Species,” led by now-Boulderite psychotherapist Carolyn Baker. Both presenters had formulas for waking up the populace and swinging into big-time remedial action, both of which left me unconvinced and uncheered.A talk that evening, loosely associated with the event and held at the Unitarian Universalist Church in South Boulder, featured noted author David Wann, co-author of the best-selling book, “Affluenza.” His was an only slightly more hopeful assessment of where we stand and what to do about it. (Wann’s latest book, “The New Normal,” due out in December, proposes ways society can get more sustainable.)
For our part, though, we felt sobered by the scant attention given the day’s event by Boulder’s allegedly environmentally concerned citizenry. It was even a rainy day!
But perhaps that’s where we’re at just now: busy on a Sunday afternoon, too busy to devote the day to learning more about what we might do about the emerging climate-change disaster.
Perhaps others have some ideas about why more people didn’t come. I could use some cheering up on that front — if cheer there be.
More event pictures
All photos: Boulder Reporter