It must be easier to conceive and execute an environmental activism campaign when larger Middlebury is starting to put together a real track record in environmental activism. And thanks to the Sunday Night Group (SNG), Bill McKibben, and alumni, a lot of the lessons from one campaign get passed down to the next. Scrappy, internet-based activism gets refined with time as Middlebury students navigate political channels, public relations games, and public sentiment.
But perhaps what’s most interesting about the latest iteration in Race to Replace is that it brings activism back to Vermont. 350.org was impressive in that it was worldwide, but it also required a team of dedicated Midd alumni and others working around the clock for months. Race to Replace seems to represent what Middlebury students (juggling finals, April snow, kid cudi being sold out) could bite off and take on as their own. This re-localization is also important in getting the larger Middlebury student population involved in ways that 350 day of action had a hard time doing. But scaling down to Vermont also provides the challenge of contextualizing renewable energy and the Governor’s race within the larger idea of climate change activism.
Either way, Race to Replace is impressive in that it appears to return to that spirit that started the original Step It Up campaign way back in 2006. Except this time, these Middkids, led by Ben Wessel and Pier LaFarge, have somewhat of a playbook to go by. Looking forward to see what happens.
Race to Replace is happening this Friday April 30th, 2010. Buses leave from Middlebury at 10:15AM from Adirondack Circle.