DAY 4, 5/16: Morning shift with Bike to Work Day
Weather: Gray, humid, cool, very windy.
Number of people: 13 stoppers, 3 walk-bys
Number of hecklers: 0!
Number of climate deniers: 1
Pages of notes: 7
Conversations between people previously unknown to one another: 1
Number of people who asked (and received) permission to take a picture: 1
Number of people who recognized and commented on the Peanuts reference: 2
Money raised for Environmental Justice League of RI: $3.01
I got my first denier today, but he didn’t make me feel as bad as the people who recognize the direness of climate change!
The booth is … not good in the wind. Some sort of redesign may be indicated.
Today was the first day I cried on my shift.
Guy 1: I get anxiety because I think I’m gonna have anxiety. There’s people that do need medicine, but–
Guy 2: Riverside’s gonna be under the water. That whole beach is getting sucked into the bay. It’s the effect of global warming.
Guy 1 [gets organism card]: Oh, weeping willow! We got a lot of those in Riverside.
I can’t go to the beach without–I can’t walk by trash without picking it up. No matter where I go, I have to clean the whole street. I keep my car in Burrillville at my parents’ because it’s such a pain to drive and park here, I haven’t used it in three months. I work at [a men’s clothing store] and I got together with the guys I work with–suits come in these boxes and they were just throwing them away, and then when we had to ship something we had to use a new box. Now we use a new sticker on an old box. The company doesn’t care about the ecology, but we’re saving them a lot of money.
On the news, the ozone layer, all the chemicals from the buildings are breaking it down. And you can definitely feel the seasons are changing. And people are getting sick. It’s not just here, it’s all around the world.
We had a farm in Philadelphia, but we moved up here because we figured in 20 years it’s going to be colder up here. We don’t own a car–I feel like we lose a lot socially but that’s the one big thing we do. But no matter what you do, the weather’s gonna pick anybody. It’s not going to spare the communities that do the most. Everybody’s worried but nobody’s pissed off. I think because we’re not desperate enough, we’re still comfortable. And we’re the largest source of the reason it’s happening. It’s still a question up in the air in the media–they say one out of four Americans don’t believe in climate change instead of saying three out of four do … I don’t think we have the infrastructure for what new world might happen. So much relies on fossil fuels and electricity. Clean water, sewage — if people have a plan, they’re not making it transparent to the layperson.
Him: I’m worried about her health, she doesn’t get out a lot
Her: You never wanna leave the house! Don’t blame me! I guess I’m kinda worried about … this is my worry session, take a walk. [He starts to walk.] Don’t leave me!
You wanna write it?
[She writes, “I’m worried about getting depressed again.”]
The state of RI and the city are super into subsidizing cars, parking garages; they have these half-baked plans for a bike lane combined with a bus lane, I call it the leper lane for people who aren’t in a car. These half-baked people–they drive to work every day and they’re making policy. And the oceans are gonna acidify and kill everything.
You laugh when you say that, like it’s a joke, but do you believe it? Or what?
I believe it. I go between it’s so bad I don’t even know if I can do anything about this, and trying to put enough blinders on to do what I can. Insects and parasites moving but trees can’t move fast enough, so whole forests are just dying. We’re just done, can’t breathe. When I’m optimistic I hope people will be forced to change their ways, but when I’m pessimistic I think people with money will just keep going and people without money will be the ones who have the problems, maybe die … I sort of think the world will move on, but I don’t know if people will.
Worried about only having summer, only having winter — worried about the animals, it starts killing plants, then that kills the animals … The climate affects everything. Environment means everything … I wish there was something I could do.
What do you think people can do?
You have to go back in a time tunnel to the ’60s and ’70s. People banding together as a collective. In order to change something, you have to have numbers. Weekly trips to DC, people get together to buy tickets — I would be there in a heartbeat. One thing I’m good at is getting people together. Call me if you wanna try to get some people together.
Check back later for notes from my normal shift and today’s poem!