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BENNINGTON — While many of Vermont's citizens are concerned about climate change, rural landscapes and small communities leave many feeling disconnected from fellow environmentalists.

In the interest of enhancing that community connected in opposition to climate change, the nonprofit organization 350VT, focused on curbing climate emissions and promoting sustainability, will be coming to Bennington for a series of events starting Aug. 8.

"350VT is doing this pop-up series because we want to connect with people in different parts of Vermont," said Abby Rampone of 350VT. "Even though Vermont is a pretty small state it's easy for people in small towns to feel isolated."

Representatives from the organization will be in Bennington until Aug. 11, holding a series of events and activities in both Bennington and Manchester. The southwestern portion of the state will be their final stop, following pop-up events in St. Johnsbury, Rutland, and the Upper Valley.

"We decided to go to a bunch of smaller towns, with which we don't have a stronger connection," said Rampone. "Bennington is a part of Vermont that we don't get to often, and we don't have an opportunity to work with people there as much."

During the series of events, 350VT will be working with local organizations addressing climate change including Climate Advocates Bennington and EarthMatters, a faction of the activist group MoveOn Manchester.

"The rationale was to reach out to areas in the state that weren't as active in the 350 movement," said Barbara True-Weber, coordinator for Climate Advocates Bennington. "That really reflects the fact that most of what goes on in Vermont is more so in the Montpelier to Burlington corridor per se. They're trying to push out and connect with the rest of the state."

Events including workshops, outdoor film screenings, and pop-up exhibits will be taking place throughout Bennington and Manchester next week to bring a climate activists together and foster connections.

"It's a great opportunity for people to tell us what they're thinking about, and help people get plugged in to what's happening throughout the state," said Rampone. "We want to help strengthen the community of people who care about the same thing."

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"It's going to be fun, and people can learn more about the climate crisis and what action they can take locally," said True-Weber. "If people are concerned about or interested in climate issues, they can meet other people with the same interests."

The series of events will begin Aug. 8 8 at 3 p.m. when 350VT will hold a pop-up exhibit at the Bennington Farmers Market until 6 p.m. These exhibits, reappearing throughout the three-day schedule, will include a raffle, info booths, art, postcard-writing, kids' activities, and more. At 6 p.m. the activists will hold a workshop in Merchant's Park on solidarity singing. Tuesday's schedule of events will wrap up at 8 p.m. with an outdoor film and cantastoria, an Italian performance style incorporating sung narration and visual components, also at Merchant's Park.

Starting at 10 a.m. Wednesday another pop-up exhibit will be held at the Left Bank in North Bennington until 5 p.m. During that time, a workshop on climate justice will be held at 10:30 with a talk on carbon pricing beginning at noon. The day will conclude with a workshop titled "What kind of changemaker are you?" at 2 p.m., and an additional workshop titled "Active Hope" at 5 p.m.

Representatives from 350VT will travel north to Manchester on Aug. 10 for a pop-up exhibit at the Manchester Farmers Market at 3 p.m. and a workshop on cantastoria and art building to be held at Manchester's Tutorial Center at 7 p.m.

The series will conclude in Bennington on Friday, August 11 with a pop-up exhibit at Willow Park from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., with an e-bike demonstration at 10:30 a.m. and a talk titled "Stories from Frackland" at noon.

"These are really community building exercises; you come out, you meet your neighbors, and you make new friends," said True-Weber. "It's a way of building and sustaining community, but I think just having these pop-up events will make the downtown more vibrant and interesting as well."

"We really want to emphasize that the pop-up is not just about us informing people, we want to hear what people are worried about as well," said Rampone. "We want to hear how climate change affects them, their families, and the place they live in."

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Reach Cherise Madigan at 802-490-6471.


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