Cohousers Part of the NYC People's Climate March

Cohousers will be part of the NYC People’s Climate March on Sept 21st, showcasing this great banner! Laura Fitch is leading about 20 people from Pioneer Valley Cohousing, and will be joined by other cohousers from NYC Coho, NYC Cohousing Group, Katywil Farm Community, New View Cohousing, and Nubanusit Neighborhood & Farm, along with others they may collect along the way. Nancy Turkle from Katywil Farm Community worked with Laura to design the banner - nice job! Let’s send good wishes to these folks giving their time to this good cause, and raising awareness that cohousing can be part of the solution!

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Cohousers meet up at the NYC Climate March.

I don't know how many cohousers were in the Sept 21st People's Climate March in NYC, but many of them found our banner in the crowd. When I was instructed by the 350.org (the primary organizers of the march) to consider choosing to align with a section within the staging area of the march, I looked over the list and learned that there was a section called "we have the solutions". It made me think that cohousing is one of the solutions and that it would be fun to walk with a cohousing banner. It was easy to come up with a slogan - cohousing, a neighborhood-based solution to sustainable living. I recruited Nancy Turkle (Katywil Farm Community) who had designed our Northeast Cohousing Summit materials to help design the eight foot long banner and then printed three of them for the march. I emailed my New England and New York City cohousing connections that I would be at 69th and Central Park West in case they wanted to march under a cohousing banner.

The banner (supported at the other end by my husband Lyons Witten) helped most of the 24 residents from Pioneer Valley Cohousing (Amherst, MA) find each other. Taking photos of my neighbors (particularly the high school and college kids) as we found each other was a fun way to kill the time as we waited for the march to move towards the parade route, which took a full 2 hours because of the density of the crowd.

Jim Salem from New View Cohousing (Acton, MA) worked his way to us early on. He said another 24 or so residents from his community were in the crowd, staging a few blocks back from us. We gave him a banner which he carried back to them.

And then Laverne Berry from the forming NYC Cohousing Group found us and we had a nice reunion as I hadn't seen her since we had worked together to program the NE Cohousing Summit last September.

Not much later a young man approached us announcing that he hailed (though coming from school in the midwest) from Nevada City Cohousing in California. Oh, so you know Chuck and Katie! And then Raines Cohen from Berkley Cohousing joined us with his fun top hat! He headed out to look for others when the crowd began to move forward.

Marching amidst so many students, I had young adults from many of the northeastern schools ask about cohousing or tell me that they had visited our community as part of a school field trip. One even said she had just had a guest lecturer from Ecovillage at Ithaca and I wondered if Liz Walker had taught the class. Little did I know that Liz and her husband Jared would work her way over to us just as we reached the start of the march. A few more blocks in, Larilee and Bill Suiter from Champlain Valley Cohousing (south of Burlington VT) would walk with us for a while.

I was glad that I had thought to grab some Coho/US business cards, as many folks asked me as we marched side by side to define cohousing and then became intrigued by the idea. When we occasionally stopped to rest, we often found ourselves amidst another set of marchers and a new set of inquiries!

I felt proud to be offering a solution at the biggest ever climate action. Most posters pointed to the myriad problems with climate change; our banner offered a tangible way to help some people think about transitioning to a more sustainable life style. 400,000 people marching influenced the proceedings of UN in the following days. I hope my banner will have a small ripple effect - it sure was fun to find so many cohousers in the crowds!