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Puppets to point at gas leaks



@amandadrane
Sunday, June 26, 2016

NORTHAMPTON — Three environmental groups will take to the streets of Northampton July 2 to draw awareness to 91 places where they say natural gas is leaking. 

The event, called “The World We Love – A Celebration of Interdependence,” is a collaboration between 2DegreesatGreenNeighbors.Earth, Pioneer Valley Mothers Out Front and Climate Action NOW. Beginning at noon, those participating will march — with giant puppets in hand — from points north, south, east and west and converge on the front steps of the First Churches on Main Street. 

Since it’s not possible to bring an actual whale to the event, giant puppets will go a long way toward helping onlookers imagine the real thing, organizers said.

“Puppetry makes it possible for us to feel what it might be like to be something other than human,” said Beth Fairservis, an organizer with Climate Action NOW and artistic director for the event. 

Beginning at 1 p.m., a play written by Fairservis’ theater students with her help, will narrate the dismantling of the power the “oil man” has over a fire-breathing dragon.

The event also will feature music by the Expandable Brass Band, Stephen Katz, David Roitman and Sarah Pirtle. Following the play, participants will march around the city, marking gas leaks with flags as they go. 

Organizers call the leaks dangerous, unhealthy and expensive for ratepayers who see their gas wasted. 

“Fire has gotten into all of the other elements and at this point we’re at a critical point in human history where we have to decide to move away from fire as our main way of being on the planet,” said Fairservis, adding that she is involving the children because it is their future planet their action targets for protection. “I also feel like one of the ways people are going to open up their hearts to the reality of it is when they see the children know what’s going on.” 

Those interested in helping build puppets from 10 to 3 p.m. Saturday, or in joining the puppet camp for children participating in the event, which runs Monday through Friday, may call Fairservis at (413) 387-9330. 

Those wishing to join the day of the event, July 2, should meet at one of four places at noon: Hungry Ghost, Forbes Library lawn, Fitzwilly’s parking lot or behind Thorne’s Marketplace. 

Amanda Drane can be contacted at adrane@gazettenet.com.