Applicants often ask us to describe a typical day on Climate Summer. This is a hard question -- there is no typical day, or week, or summer! But if you're trying to decide if Climate Summer is right for you, this blog post from Climate Summer 2014 rider Rachel Eckles might help:
One Day in the Life of a Climate Summer Rider
7:30 – Wake up and help make breakfast, typically oatmeal or scrambled eggs. Over breakfast we’ll talk about what we’re doing that day and what has to get done. Whoever didn’t make breakfast then does the dishes.
9:00 – Go find some Internet. While staying in Winchendon, we got to stay in a log cabin on the woods of MJ Galat’s property. It was such a beautiful spot and so relaxing but there was no wifi. So we would walk up to MJ’s home and hog some of hers for a little while. There’s a lot of office work we have to do for Climate Summer such as checking emails, making calls, writing community reports, updating contact lists, and planning for events. For me, a lot of this involves writing press releases and media advisories, which I then send out, and call reporters about. Meanwhile, Nicholas, our social media coordinator, will be posting the latest blog or making a meme to post on our social media platforms. Jana, our community outreach coordinator, will be checking emails and making sure housing is all set for our next town and Tuula, our team leader, will be working to check on plans for today and the next day. Zalo, our video coordinator, will be working on his computer to edit the latest video. We’ll then all work together to plan our final event. Our Movement Building Workshop in Lowell has been a lot of work to plan but we’re feeling confident as it comes up this Sunday thanks to all the hard work we have put into it.
11:00 – Lunch prep. Since we buy all of our food from scratch to save money, a lot of time is spent cooking. We have to evenly distribute the chores so not everyone is cooking all the time. For lunch we’ll have some cut up veggies, apples or peaches, rice, and lentils. You can’t ever go wrong with lentils.
12:00 – Lunch time! We put away our computers, go back to the cabin, and eat our delicious food on the porch. We’ll talk about what still needs to get done and often start getting silly after having been so busy for the past few hours.
1:00 – We try to make sure to get some down time every day and after lunch is usually a good time. Activities vary from just hanging out to napping to going on a hike.
2:00 – We get on our bikes and head out to visit a local farm. We always have to account for travel time, as it takes a little longer to get places on your bike, so we usually allot 30 minutes. Today, we visit Noonday farm, a farm that donates all of its produce to local food banks. I love getting to visit these farms and hear from the unique people who run them. We’ve visited a lot of farms this summer, mostly because we all love what they do, but also because they are the model of living sustainably. Getting to see the way they live is a reminder to us that living off the land can done.
4:00 – We head over to the local farmer’s market and usually run into at least one vendor we know (after having been to so many this summer). There, we will set up a table or tie our posters to our bikes and sit in the grass. We talk to people and ask if they know about the pipeline and then also ask if they will fill out one of our postcards, which say “No Gas Tariff.”
5:30 – We help serve at the Community Dinner at the Unitarian Universalist Church and someone asks, “are you the climate riders?” making us feel much more important than we are. While we have not stayed at any of these churches, we have enjoyed helping with their weekly dinners. They’re a great way to meet people and give back to the community who has been so generous towards us. And then, we get to eat with them, and the food is always amazing.
7:00 – We give a presentation to the community about our program, the pipeline, and what they can do to help. We have this presentation down to a science. This day, our audience was many from the dinner as well as our host family and a few other people involved in the pipeline fight. Our audience varies a lot so we have to make sure that our “ask” for how they can help is something the feel comfortable doing.
8:30 – We bike on back home, chugging through those hills so we can be back sooner.
9:00 – Our hosts show us how awesome they are. The next day was Nicholas’ birthday and mine and so MJ made us a delicious, vegan birthday cake that night. After eating, we hang because trying to do work after 9 just never works out. At MJ’s, they had a fire pit outside, so a few times we all sat around together roasting marshmallows and getting to know each other. She has one daughter, Casey, who is going into her first year at UMass Amherst and twins, Marissa and Matthew, who are in high school. Getting to talk to some younger folks was a fun change for us.
Still curious about what it's like to be a Climate Summer rider? You might want to check out some of these other blog posts from previous summers:
To read about a typical travel day: "Rain, Rain, Go Away" by Georgette Sordellini
To read about a day with a bit of everything: "Lovely Adventures in Amesbury" by Shreya Thatai
To read about another day with a bit of everything: "Steps to Conquering a Fear" by Hallie Kenyon