By Susan Secord, Boulder chapter
Thanks to warm summer weather and high Covid vaccination rates in the Boulder County area, Boulder and Longmont CCLers have been reaching out to the public again — tabling at outside events. And they’re really enjoying being able to engage in one-on-one conversations about CCL’s solution to the climate crisis.
Led by the indomitable Ginny Black, the Boulder County Tabling Group has tabled at three Longmont Farmers Markets, the ArtWalk on Main Street (Longmont’s 150th birthday celebration), an Electric Vehicle Fair, the Be Involved Fair and the No-Excuses Tour stop (both on the CU Boulder Campus), and the Hear the Call event sponsored by Colorado Jewish Climate Action. Volunteers also marched in the Broomfield Days Parade.
Covid, of course, is still present and the Delta variant has created new challenges. As the summer progressed, the protocols for the venues also evolved from being relaxed and sometimes mask-free in July to, more recently, wearing masks again in some settings. Keeping our volunteers safe is a top priority for CCL; volunteers are asked to follow event protocols while adding whatever other measures they need to feel safe. Some volunteers prefer to sit behind the table at a safer social distance, while others feel comfortable reaching out into moving crowds. And not all experienced volunteers are ready to venture into public spaces yet; in fact, according to Ginny, the number of volunteers is down a bit. But, she says, “We balance the ‘joy’ of being able to reach out in person with the controlled risk of Covid exposure. I think we realize that this may be the ‘new norm’ and that we need to learn to negotiate it.”
Every tabling event draws a unique audience, and volunteers strive to build respectful relationships with everyone who visits their tables. For experienced tablers, this often comes naturally, and they enjoy it. As Longmont volunteer Adam Reed says, “It’s always fun to present effective climate solutions, not just dire news, to the general public.” One of Adam’s memorable moments at the Farmers’ Market was when he spoke with a city council member who was initially skeptical of the policy CCL is advocating, but who ended up signing up for our email list after they had a conversation about CCL’s respectful approach to addressing big problems like climate change.
Less experienced volunteers sometimes find their first times tabling to be a challenge. For some, talking with strangers just doesn’t come easily, but their commitment to solving the climate crisis pushes them beyond their comfort zones. Also when table visitors have questions about policy details, newer volunteers understandably find it hard to recall those details “on their feet.” Ginny always tries to pair newer volunteers with more experienced CCLers who can assist in these situations. CCL handouts and graphics available online really help, and volunteers make suggestions that are great contributions. For example, an En-ROADS display, created by Moira Hill, compares three scenarios of different temperature rises; these graphics make it much easier to explain why carbon pricing is essential, and how it’s one of the strongest tools we have to keep global heating below 2degC.
Each event also has its special highlights.
At the Longmont ArtWalk, the CCL team created an art activity for children. They put a roll of white paper, crayons and markers on a separate table, and asked the kids to respond to the question “How would you like to see the climate change?” One CCLer wrote the question on the white paper and made a starter drawing, and then the activity took off. It became a true kid magnet! While the kids drew, volunteers talked with their parents about CCL and carbon pricing. The banner grew to about six feet long, and the Longmont chapter plans to display it at other outreach events. The volunteers felt the drawing added a positive and empowering note to their booth. Longmont member Mary Headley commented, “It was heartening to see how much kids are already conscious about the environmental problems we’re facing and their understanding about potential solutions. Hopefully, they will be able to effect some of these changes!”
Hear the Call, a climate action event sponsored by Colorado Jewish Climate Action, drew folks who are committed to climate action, so the audience was open to CCL’s message and eager to get involved. Denver volunteer Christina Johnson reported, “The highlight of this event was handing out the flyers with the QR code link for people to call their representatives. Multiple people told me they were going to do it right now, and I saw them go sit down at a table and pick up their phones and call.” Christina also “loved seeing how CCL has a universal message and a mission that is so important for all of humanity, and how that translates to different groups participating in ways that reflect their culture and values.” Ginny Black said, “A meaningful spiritual element was added to our tabling experience as this call to climate action was woven into the coming holiday, Rosh Hashanah, complete with the sounding of the Shofar.”
At the Broomfield Days parade, Stephen Moses led a small, but mighty team composed of Jim Hooton and Bryce Bjork in the 1.5 mile parade route in front of at least two thousand viewers. While the CCL banner might not have been as exciting as the Broomfield High marching band, the team was met with many cheers and waves along the route. They handed out a small flyer asking recipients to email President Biden.
Ginny has led the Boulder County Tabling Group for several years because she feels outreach to the community is essential to CCL’s mission, and tabling is generally a very positive experience. “We have interesting conversations, even if people don’t entirely agree with us. Those that are concerned about the climate express how happy they are to see us out there. We listen to those that do not agree, and sometimes we are able to find common ground.” Adam Reed is equally enthusiastic. He says, “Try tabling! Get outside and listen to what folks think about addressing climate change. After all, as Katherine Hayhoe says, one of the best ways we can make progress is to simply use our voice and talk about climate change with others.”
Learn how to table the CCL way: CCL’s Tabling and Clipboarding training.
Join the Boulder County Tabling Group, or get tips for your local chapter — contact Ginny Black.
CCL quick links: