A ‘Rural Roundup’ through Texas and Mississippi
By Flannery Winchester
Last month, volunteers across CCL’s Third Coast region organized the “2022 Rural Roundup,” a tour intended to build political will around the region to act on climate change. The 27 tour stops covered Texas and Mississippi, and they included presentations, tabling opportunities, or meetings with the leadership of other organizations. Each event created chances to introduce the topic of climate change, familiarize people with CCL’s approach to climate solutions, solicit new volunteers to start a group, generate calls or postcards to Congress, or even seek an endorsement for carbon pricing.
CCL’s Third Coast Regional Coordinator, Susan Adams, was on the ground for the tour stops in Mississippi, and she shared a few updates with us.
In four events in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, the tour led to 15 new members, seven reactivated members, and one new student group. “Kylie is the new group leader for the University of Southern Mississippi group,” Susan said. “She’s the president of the Conservation Club and is planning on collaborating with the Hattiesburg chapter on campus activities,” Susan said.
Four events in Jackson, Mississippi, also activated 15 new members, including three high schoolers. “I did a presentation at St. Andrews high school to a bunch of high schoolers who were more engaged than you’d think,” Susan said. (Did you know CCL has dedicated opportunities for students? Check them out on our Higher Ed website.)
The Jackson events also helped identify another new group leader — a role that forms the backbone of CCL’s organizing structure. Welcome aboard, Caroline, and we’ll see you in D.C.!
And in six events across the Gulf Coast, Susan and her team activated 13 more volunteers and had nearly as many seafood dinners. (Shrimp and hush puppies, anyone?)“We had a particularly exciting conversation with the city engineer of Bay Saint Louis,” Susan recalls. “He started the conversation wondering at all the changes he’s noticed, sea level rise, increased storm intensity, increased rainfall, increased temperatures. He then said that he did not want to talk about climate science or whether or not humans have a role to play, because he doesn’t want to get into politics. So then we had a warm conversation, where we established some common ground. By the end, he was interested in hearing our thoughts on why he’s seeing those changes.” After the exchange, he now wants to meet with a scientist from NOAA who has specific information about their sea level rise and all the science behind it!
That wonderful anecdote really embodies CCL’s grassroots approach to climate advocacy. We meet people where they are, listen to them, and build common ground.
Congratulations to Susan and the whole Third Coast team for a successful tour!
Don’t miss the stories from another recent CCL tour through Tennessee and Kentucky.