During the third week of October, Rogér Knoren from the Pachamama Alliance visited the Washington D.C. area following the Drawdown Learn conference at the Omega Institute in New York. Under Lore Rosenthal’s leadership, the DC Metro Pachamama Alliance continues to reach new people with the Reversing Global Warming: Introduction to Drawdown presentation and 5-session Drawdown Solutions: Getting into Action workshop. Over 800 people have participated locally to date.
Most Drawdown presentations lead to new invitations to present, and the project has expanded well beyond the immediate Washington, D.C., area into Northern Virginia, east to Annapolis, Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay, and as far north as Baltimore. Rogér’s visit was an opportunity to meet in person for the first time. Because of the large area, and the traffic congestion common in the evening, we decided to hold two meetings, one in Maryland and the other in Northern Virginia, in locations so that most people could reach them in around 30 minutes or less.
Our agenda was to get to know each other, learn about the work of the Pachamama Alliance, hear from Rogér about the Drawdown Learn conference, and invite people to organize into interest groups. Because we had reached most of the people through the Drawdown courses, many were not familiar with the history of the Pachamama Alliance and its other programs.
We wanted to create an opportunity for people to connect more deeply with the Pachamama Alliance, and also to connect with others in the area who are interested in the same Drawdown solutions. We are developing a database of Drawdown-related projects in the area focusing on opportunities for involvement and action, especially at the community level. A communications interest group will work on a monthly e-newsletter and other communications to connect and inspire, and several people expressed interest in becoming Drawdown Ambassadors to present the Drawdown courses to even more people.
Another interest group came together around the idea of having more gatherings for people to connect and support each other, including things like music, dance, and nature walks. As we continue to increase the population reached with the Drawdown message, and graduates of the 5 session course move into action, there will be more and more opportunities for people to participate in the work of Drawdown, and community-building will help sustain the effort and may be the single most important thing we do.
Holding the meetings reinforced two things simultaneously—it is challenging to get people together for a face to face meeting when they’re dispersed around a major city, and it is very worthwhile to do so. We even had a few people come who hadn’t yet attended a Drawdown event and weren’t on our list. People benefit from being in community with others concerned about climate change, and the meetings brought out that positive energy.