A Midsummer’s Update!

Not to be that person (the one at family gatherings who exclaims “you’re getting old so fast! Time flies!”), but indulge me for a few more sentences. I can’t believe it’s already the middle of July, and we’re just about to hit the halfway point in the Energy Challenge internship. It really has gone by fast, especially because it’s my last summer before I go away to college. I feel much more confident in myself than previously, because I’ve been able to pick up some more hours and attend community events from Marion to Fall River. I’ve gotten upwards of twenty leads for two weeks straight, and I hope to keep the streak alive for a third next week, something that virtually never happened last summer.

Perhaps the most meaningful experience happened just yesterday, when my task was to sign people up at a mobile food bank. I’ve volunteered at food pantries before, but I had never spoken to the people any more than just the average pleasantries. In this case, we were told to walk the line of people and sign them up. I arrived at 7:30, and there were already people in line for the 9:30 start time, something I understood after the start time rolled around and the snaking line was several people deep and the temperature only rising. We were in good company, people from the nearby Coalition for Social Justice were signing individuals up to vote and informing them about one of the ballot referendum questions (one that would instate a policy that guaranteed an hour of paid sick leave for every thirty hours worked).Obviously, the Energy Challenge isn’t always able to perform outreach towards every demographic, and canvassing the Mobile Food Bank was an opportunity to reach people who absolutely have the right to take advantage of the benefits offered by MassSave, but may not always know how to receive them. I would have never been able to attend this event last summer, because I didn’t have my license, and I’m glad that even though I have the same(ish) job, it’s a new experience.

As for my sustainability goal: it goes well! As previously mentioned, my purple reusable mug is pretty much glued to my side. However, I did feel an unbeatable yen for an iced coffee on a particularly hot and humid summer day last week, so I got one. At least the coffee was fair-trade and organic, but that did not change the fundamental fact that it was “wrapped in plastic”, as one of my co-workers articulated the phenomena of single-usage drink devices. I also drank from some plastic water bottles at a friend’s house, just because it was the only option, but it was still kind of infuriating. It should not be so hard anymore to bring a water dispenser instead of plastic bottles. In cases like these, I find it really hard not to keep my mouth shut about the issues. My friends and family have always known that I am knowledgeable about humanity’s impact on climate change, and perhaps an overzealous younger me helped to deafen their ears and minds about their role in it (trust me, it’s possible).  More blogging to come on this particular topic.




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