TheSameBoat.us came about when I joined with other members in the Hudson Valley Community to educate ourselves and others about proposal for a Politically Sponsored, Tax Payer Funded, Corporate Water Grab in our region. When a National bottling company set sights on a lake in the town of Woodstock, which serves as the water supply for the City of Kingston.
Driven by an aversion to my own NIMBY response to a situation in my back yard, I was forced to recognize the realities of climate change and the interdependence of all things. It was like waking up from a long sleep.
This blog is not a hub for any movement, but for me, it is a place to express my own personal feelings while working with other individuals and organizations. I would love to see collaborators writing here. (if you would like to join me, please feel free to contact me about possibly becoming a writer on thesameboat.us)
Having never really been involved in a citizen action to protect our collective commons, it was completely new territory. I recognized almost immediately, that it wasn’t just my back yard and my back yard is your front yard and one man’s upstream is another man’s down…
This was not just about my little lake, or my little town, or even our region, or the state… For me, it was a call to rise in the face of the ever expanding sprawl that results when citizen complacency faces the ignorance meets arrogance style of our government.
Suddenly, I was going to town board meetings and immersing myself in civic engagement.
The first use of my voice on the issue was out of turn in a moderated Q&A at a Conservation Advisory Council Meeting with the Superintendent of the Kingston Water Board.
I couldn’t help myself with her response to a question asked about battling litigation of contracts with Big Water Business (@26:39)
And again, @45:34 regarding what in the case of a drought… It was a ludicrously unsatisfactory answer. The Moderator moves to try and ask it in another way. And the next question unsatisfactory again stirs murmurs. In that moment, I recognized that there was no way that I could stay silent on this issue (@48:00) and speak out of turn again.
Because I turn heads in such a way, it became apparent that I would need to find a way to use my voice wisely.
Thankfully, I was fortunate enough to offer some event planning help to Rebecca Martin, founder of kingstoncitizens.org, who had swiftly mobilized a team of (coincidentally) women who set to form committees to breakout and strategize for the facilitation of a transparent governmental process. Working with Kingston Citizens gave me a new perspective on Civic Engagement. I still have a long way to go, but the next use of my voice in a Town Meeting came from a different place (@ 22:24 below). There is nothing more valuable than the gift of mentorship and the example of grace and understanding.
It was a blessing to find true partnership and to be supported and to support others who were truly dedicated to the cause.
Once the word got out, more and more people began to step up and use their voices––an incredible impromptu task force of citizens and environmental groups came together to focus on the protection of the water in the Hudson Valley region.
I later found myself, with the support of my beloved and a couple of friends, delivering a petition to Governor Cuomo and Picketing an Economic Development CFA Grant Award Ceremony. Totally out of my range of experience, and apparently it is extremely rare for anyone to petition a Mid Hudson Regional Economic Development Council event.
That day, the regional economic development council did NOT award Niagara Bottling Company 10.8 million dollars that they had come expecting.
Life has taken a drastic turn in focus. I am driven by the desire to learn more, educate myself about Climate Change, economic development policy, new strategies for restoration of the infrastructures in our municipalities and honorable governance of our natural resources, civil liberties and freedom of creative expression. And the way to do that seems to be to connect with others working toward the protection of our Collective Commons. It is my aim to attend the Climate Talks in December in Paris.
With Love and Appreciation for the opportunity to stand up and be heard and prayers for peace in all hearts, because we are all in the same boat,
Current projects I am working on include,
- Woodstock Earth Day Festival: The first annual Earth Day gathering celebrates GrassRoots, focuses on Civic Engagement & Governmental Transparency, Restorative Economic Development
- The Same Boat Radio: A weekly radio show on a new community station (104.1) in testing here in Woodstock.
- Kingston Citizens: Events Committee Chair
- Conscious Campus, As a Regional Sales Representative, I am also working part-time to bring transformative speakers and artists to college campuses and corporate events.