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Interdependence Day celebrates Northampton as climate change leader 

  • Dora Borrero of Amherst, left, Erik Burcroff of Plainfield and Dennis Carr of Cummington control a 12-foot-tall burning man puppet July 7, 2018 during the third annual Interdependence Day at Pulaski Park in Northampton. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Star Mott of San Francisco, Calif., left, Davio Danielson of Haydenville and Deborah Watrous, also of Haydenville, all representing the air element, plan their march to Pulaski Park July 7, 2018 during the third annual Interdependence Day in Northampton. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Deborah Watrous of Haydenville, representing the air element, performs July 7, 2018 during the third annual Interdependence Day at Pulaski Park in Northampton. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Activists representing the water element, including Mariam Massaro of Worthington, center, march to Pulaski Park July 7, 2018 during the third annual Interdependence Day in Northampton. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • A "Declaration of Interdependence" is unveiled July 7, 2018 during the third annual Interdependence Day at Pulaski Park in Northampton. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Beth McCoy of Amherst, representing the water element, performs with other climate activists July 7, 2018 during the third annual Interdependence Day at Pulaski Park in Northampton. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Mariam Massaro of Worthington, representing the water element, center, performs with other climate activists July 7, 2018 during the third annual Interdependence Day at Pulaski Park in Northampton. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Artistic director Beth Fairservis, right, thanks Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz for his commitment to the fight against climate change July 7, 2018 after presenting him and the city with a certificate of appreciation during the third annual Interdependence Day at Pulaski Park in Northampton. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Climate activists gather July 7, 2018 for the third annual Interdependence Day at Pulaski Park in Northampton. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Beth Adams of Leverett, representing the water element, performs with other climate activists July 7, 2018 during the third annual Interdependence Day at Pulaski Park in Northampton. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • A 12-foot-tall burning man puppet is brought down by climate activists Dora Borrero of Amherst, left, Tristan Riabo of Jacksonville, Fla., Maya Apfelbaum of Northampton and Erik Burcroff of Plainfield July 7, 2018 during the third annual Interdependence Day at Pulaski Park in Northampton. GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY



Staff Writer
Sunday, July 08, 2018

NORTHAMPTON — Donning colorful costumes dedicated to the classical elements of fire, water, earth and air, participants in the third annual Interdependence Day paraded through the city streets and arrived at Pulaski Park to declare that “We are all one under the sun.”

On Saturday, a message of unity rang out from participants as they read their Declaration of Interdependence in a call to citizens of the world to take an active role in fighting climate change, as part of a collaborative event between MuZen Theater and Climate Action Now.

Both Beth Fairservis and husband Stephen Katz of MuZen were producers of “Circle Up for the Earth,” a performance at Pulaski about the four elements and the current imbalances in the world. They also presented Mayor David Narkewicz a certificate in recognition of the city’s commitment to reducing energy use and moving toward 100 percent renewable energy sources.

Parade members arriving from the four cardinal directions were greeted by Katz’s cello playing, his son Olin’s tambourine tapping, and Molly Scott’s drum beating, along with 60 attendees looking on with curiosity at the singing and dancing of puppeteers, stilt walkers, a polar bear and Fairservis as the Loving Action Dragon.

“Let us celebrate our interdependence!” declared Fairservis during the performance, with the ringing of a bell for emphasis. “We are all one on this Earth! This is the Order of the Loving Action Dragon. This gathering is a council of those who are seeking to be in harmony and balance with all beings.”

Council members had traveled from their gathering places of Hungry Ghost Bakery on State Street in the north, the Hampshire County Courthouse in the east, behind Thornes Marketplace in the south, and Forbes Library in the west to symbolize the coming together of the four elements.

Fairservis said “Humans are the fire keepers, but we are not tending to the fire well.”

“Our excessive use of fire has created an imbalance with the other elements and with all life on earth,” she said. “It is time for us to learn to live with the fire within us so we can live with the fire outside of us.”

The Loving Action Dragon award was presented to the city of Northampton and to Narkewicz in recognition of his commitment to addressing climate change “for the sake of all beings,” Fairservis said.

Accepting his award Narkewicz said, “We do have a climate emergency and I am proud that our city has been one of the leaders, not only in the state but across the nation, in trying to be out front trying to address it.”

He touted initiatives such the city pooling resources with Amherst and Pelham to boost renewable energy in those communities, the new regional bike share program, the city’s preservation of 25 percent of open space and wildlife corridors, and the city’s launch of a new climate regeneration plan.

“Let us all work together on this climate emergency,” Narkewicz said.

Climate Action Now encouraged event attendees to take steps toward reducing energy use as well as contacting their state and local representatives and making sure people vote in elections this fall.

Steps include home audits, grassroots advocating on climate change issues and voting in the September primary and November election.

Tina Ingmann of Climate Action Now praised Northampton for being a leader in fighting climate change and said the organization’s leaders wanted to highlight that by presenting the mayor with an award. The group was instrumental in passing a resolution that calls on the city to weigh all its decisions with the goal of achieving 100 percent renewable energy.

“There is mitigating climate change and there is adapting to it, and we have to do both,” Ingmann said. “But the mitigating is the part that is sometimes skipped, and that’s where we have to totally stop burning fossil fuels.”

Olin, 12, said for the past three years Interdependence Day has been a special event for his family and that it has brought a lot of people together.

“It’s just a great thing that we can do and have so many people come and have fun,” he said. “I hope people feel that climate change is not something to be sad about or just sulk about. (I hope they) feel happy in a way by helping out and I want them to feel like ‘I can help.’”

Luis Fieldman can be reached at lfieldman@gazettenet.com.