Friday, February 5, 2021

What an Organizer Does

I'm a born organizer...actually, no I'm not. I make myself hyper-aware of the little details that need to be done to make a vision a reality because I'm actually not innately aware of them. When I have a vision, I don't automatically see all of the steps needed to get there, which is why I have to work so hard to make them happen.

Earlier this week I put an event for Jewish Climate Action Network, Massachusetts chapter (JCAN-MA), in conjunction with the National Wildlife Federation for their Sacred Grounds program. This is how we got there:

  • A year and a half ago I asked one of my sons what he wanted to study
  • Among other things, he says "the science of climate change"
  • I find a bunch of books, including one by Judith Schwartz called Cows Save the Planet that talks about the potential of regenerative agriculture. (I'd been exposed to the concept before, but never in that detail.)
  • We read another book of Schwartz's, Water in Plain Sight.
  • I see this as a great complement to the work JCAN-MA is doing with heating/cooling/transportation, and propose it as a team.
  • People like the idea.
  • I organize one webinar on victory gardens. Not only do I find someone else to host, I find other people to attend, one of whom joins the team.
  • I organize another webinar on compost, led by the second person who told me about regenerative agriculture. People come.
  • There's enthusiasm for all things gardening and agriculture, in large part due to the pandemic. We apply for and get a grant for money to bring more programs forward.
  • The vice-president of JCAN-MA wants to talk about the limits of food and agriculture as a climate solution, and I'm all over it. (I have not saved the world with three decades of vegetarianism.) People come.
  • One of the team members hosts a webinar on how we can bring Jewish values, including caring for the earth, into our gardening. People come.
  • With some of the money from the grant (above), we host a film series and discussion including two films, Intelligent Trees and Hometown Habitat.
  • We love both films, and we all really love Sacred Grounds, a program mentioned in Hometown Habitats.

We're bringing these guys back

  • We contact the National Wildlife Federation, and they love the idea of JCAN-MA bringing this to the Northeast.
  • The president of JCAN-MA and I scramble to find people to partner with. Some people stay, some people leave, some more people come in.
  • We organize three book groups about related topics. People don't come in good numbers (mental note: it is easier for people to watch a film than to read a book), but we read Nature's Best Hope by Doug Tallamy, and I have a better idea of what we need to talk about in a Sacred Grounds session (even if I'm not totally in love with the book, and even less so after I'm reminded of what Ibram Kendi has to say about E.O. Wilson in Stamped From The Beginning).
  • We spend a lot of emails and Zoom calls trying to figure out the best way to divide the information up, as well as who can present. We settle on two programs, Why and How.
  • I get a little crazed over nailing down a date because I want to start publicizing ASAP.
  • We settle on a date and start emailing and posting.
  • Meadowmaking for Biodiversity reaches out to us, and turns out they've been doing this work in our area for about six years. They happily agree to help present at both sessions.
  • We realize we're competing with people for attendance because of another Jewish climate festival at the end of January.
  • I warn people that numbers might be low, but they're fine going forward anyway.
  • I'm trying to nail speakers for our conference in April in the midst of this.
  • I'm also setting up a presentation for said late January Jewish climate festival.
  • We have a tech rehearsal, and I start to think we're going to be okay.
  • The brilliant person who works on all of our tech, among other things, helps shape promotional slides.
  • We work up to three hours before the event. I come to the realization that almost all organizing equals admin, plus charisma. Therefore, in my case, all admin.
  • I know we're prepared, and I feel a sense of calm, if not elation.
  • The session begins! We have a lot of people. I'm an utter goofball, and so glad that I have speakers who know what they're talking about.
  • Success! But...will they come to session two?

I skipped over the items that were not part of the direct path to these sessions, but there's more work, some of which I might lay out in another post about other projects. Oh yeah, during all of this, I'm also homeschooling my sons for the last year and trying to finish the series I started working on four years ago, as well as keep track of my elderly mother and autistic sister to the best of my ability. For some reason, I keep getting sick (not with COVID-19) and I'm not getting as much exercise as I would like.

I think it would be easier to donate money.

No comments:

Post a Comment