Vermont Future Fest — the brainchild of Chase Desroches, a Cambridge resident and high school senior at Bellows Free Academy-Fairfax, and Erica Laxer, a Montpelier student — will take over the farmers market From 4:30 p.m. to dusk and feature educational opportunities around fast fashion, sustainable agriculture, composting, Indigenous practices, renewable energy and energy efficiency, waste and transportation in a positive environment that seeks to move people away from “the defeatist mindset that tends to inhibit climate action,” according to Desroches. Climate Education at Farmers Market.
“Our concept from the beginning was to create an event that could inspire and empower people to take positive climate action in their lives, and to advocate for other people to do it,” Desroches said. “We are going to have a raffle, we’re going to have some really fun activities, and a bingo game — a climate action bingo game, of course.”
Positive Promotion of Decarbonization
Desroches, 18, has had the specter of life-threatening, man-made climate disaster hanging over him by way of news reports and increasingly alarming reports from the United Nations for most of his lifetime, but he has refused to give into indifference and inaction in favor of positive promotion of decarbonization.
He has dedicated a good chunk of his young life to the cause. Desroches and Laxer have been working on environmental education projects since they were in elementary school. They joined up with the University of Vermont Extension’s Teens Reaching Youth for the Environment program to teach second graders about food systems and attended the Youth Climate Leaders Academy Retreat last December.
Now, with the guidance of Angie Krysiak of the Vermont Energy Education Program and Sara Lourie of the Cambridge Conservation Commission, they’re getting the message to the people.
“Talking about the climate crisis with other people, that’s really one of the most important things that can be done big,” Desroches said. “Because the more that we spread awareness, and the more that we talk about it, the more that we are empowered to take action and make a change, because it’s really not too late. That’s really sort of a myth is that we don’t have enough time.”
Desroches also pointed out that climate crisis, besides being an existential threat to humanity in general, has also been shown to disproportionately impact communities of color and the world’s poorer countries, making climate change the central cause to rally against if you’re looking to address racism, sexism and other great disparities in the world.
Along with education around what individuals can personally do to address climate change, Desroches is also promoting awareness of local initiatives Cambridge residents can support, like the enhanced energy plan that the Cambridge Planning Commission is hoping the town will soon adopt in its town plan.
“Reducing your climate impact and standing with the climate and standing with environmentalism is really a powerful statement to make, because you’re not only taking a stand against the destruction of plants and habitat, you’re also taking a stand with the underprivileged people throughout the world,” Desroches said.