Written by Courtney Foster*
As a 2016 summer fellow, I had neither a background in organizing, nor in climate justice work. I had spent my previous two summers working in a biogeochemistry laboratory, and although I gained valuable experience there, I was excited to work in a community built on interpersonal relationships. Via coursework, I learned about environmental and climate justice issues, but I had yet to apply myself to fighting against them. My summer with the Better Future Project allowed me to delve deeply into learning about these problems and their effects on marginalized communities and set me on a new path, one where I would strive to center these struggles in the work I would do in the future.
Returning as a senior fellow this year, I hoped to pass down some of my knowledge about climate justice and campaigning, but most of all, I wanted to do everything I could to ensure that this summer's fellows could have an equally transformative experience. However, my role as "supervisor" quickly fades into the background when I see that I’m just as much a learner as I am a teacher. The countless discussions with the other fellows have furthered my knowledge about justice, and my commitment to working for it. In addition, I have become more organized and better equipped to prepare and map out long-term projects, not just for myself, but for a team. These skills will serve me in all aspects of my life.
Change-making is not without its dull moments and its confusion, its drudgery and its messy array of twists and turns. However, I've come to see that with a sustained and concerted effort, change can happen for those who stick with it throughout the process. That's a lesson I'll take with me wherever I go, and perhaps the summer fellows will too.
*This week’s blog post is written by Courtney Foster, a rising senior at Bates College, who participated in BFP’s Climate Summer Program last July. Courtney returned this year to advise and guide as a senior fellow. “My Experience in the Climate Movement” is the first of three guest blog posts that will be highlighted over the next couple of weeks.