‘Inter-Dependence Day’ celebration an artistic call for climate action

  • People of all ages march to First Churches to celebrate sustainability and draw attention to gas leaks in the city during “The World We Love — A Celebration of Interdependence” event Saturday in Northampton. four groups of performers donned vivid handmade costumes coming from points north, south, east and west, to represent the four elements.

For the Gazette
Published: 6/21/2017 9:09:02 PM

NORTHAMPTON — Giant puppets, activists and a variety of performers will march through Northampton for the second annual “Inter-Dependence Day” celebration from 2 to 4 p.m. July 1 to encourage residents and businesses to reduce their energy consumption.

The event started last year as a way to begin the conversation about climate change and local gas leaks, but Beth Fairservis, co-organizer of the march, said the need to address climate change is more pressing now than ever in light of the 2016 election. 

“Last year we didn’t know we’d have an administration that would be trying to deny what we’re trying to say,” she said “It’s dire that we take personal responsibility for climate change.”

The event will begin when four groups of people walk from the cardinal directions to meet at the Memorial Hall lawn for a performance of a new play, “The World We Love is in Our Hands.” It was written by Fairservis, her husband and her son. 

Hungry Ghost Bread, the Forbes Library lawn, the County Courthouse lawn and Thornes Marketplace will be the four starting places. Members of the public are invited to join at any location.

Each of the four groups represents a different element, and puppets of animals that live in each element will walk with their respective groups. Human brains will be with the fire group to draw attention to how humanity’s relationship with fire is contributing to climate change. 

The play discusses how humanity’s burning of fossil fuels affects the other creatures and the environment.  After the performance, event participants will spread out across Northampton to talk to residents and business owners about how they can reduce their energy consumption.

Fairservis said she wants to use a play instead of traditional speakers to discuss climate change because it moves away from what she sees as the talking “at” people dynamic present in other public events. 

“It’s time to change the way we communicate into one that is more communal,” she said. 

Karen Ribeiro works with Climate Action Now and the Pioneer Valley chapter of Mothers Out Front, groups collaborating on the event. She said she finds the play to be moving and thinks others will, too. 

“The concept of climate change is so personal that you need performance art and theater to make it accessible,” Ribeiro said. 

Fairservis said people can’t delay action to mitigate climate change and believes citizens taking action themselves is the fastest way to get the United States to address the issue.  

“We can’t wait until we have all the right people in office,” Fairservis said. “It really has to come from individuals.”

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