Wolfville’s Climate Action Circle
While it may have been the United Nations Secretary General who called climate change “the defining issue of our time,” the sentiment definitely resonates locally in Wolfville. The town has a strong culture of civic engagement and environmental sustainability. Still, it is always a pleasant surprise to see the community room at the Wolfville Farmer’s Market fill up every Monday night at 7pm, with folks arriving to attend the weekly Climate Action Circle meeting.
Wolfville’s Climate Action Circle is the brainchild of Emily LeGrand, a long-time resident of the Annapolis Valley. As the end of the last decade approached, with only 10 years left to meet the greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets set out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Emily realized that if she wanted an opportunity to come together with members of her community to take action on climate change, she was going to have to create it herself.
Every week, between 50 and 60 residents of Wolfville and the Annapolis Valley sit together in a large circle while Emily “holds space.” They are welcomed and thanked for their contribution; they are reminded about both the reason why, and the spirit in which, they come together; they share news and usually a few laughs. Then they break apart into smaller circles, with faces by now becoming familiar, to discuss ideas and makes plans to address a range of challenges including food security, renewable energy, and endangered forests: challenges about they might feel powerless as individuals, but together they have the strength to face.
As time winds down, the large circle reconvenes. Each group shares something with the whole: offering information or an opportunity, requesting feedback or assistance. Once the meeting formally wraps up, people often stick around for half an hour or more. They stay not only to help put the community room back in order but also, I think, to keep the feelings of connection and community alive for a few moments longer, before heading back out into the night, a bit more hopeful perhaps than when they arrived.
The Climate Action Circle meets every Monday from 7-9pm in the community room at the Wolfville Farmers Market. Everyone is welcome.