Valentine’s Day Gift for Mother EarthBefore being introduced by The Pollination Project’s Grantee Community and Special Program Developer, Selene Gonzalez-Carrillo, TPP grantees Nina Magpili-Smith and Becky Suzik, both working in North Carolina, didn’t know about their mutual connection to TPP. Later, after meeting in person at a TPP grantee gathering, Magpili-Smith and Suzik decided to join forces to plan an upcoming event that captured both their hearts: the Valentine’s Day Climate March.

This march, hosted by Extinction Rebellion–a global environmental movement with the aim of using nonviolent civil disobedience to compel government action toward climate change—and planned for Friday, February 14th , begins at Durham Central Park in Durham, NC, at 6:00 p.m. The march will wind through several city blocks with the purpose of inspiring people to take action on climate change. Their tagline—“Life on earth is in crisis. Let’s act like it!”—says it all: it’s time for people and politicians to acknowledge climate change and take actionable, measurable steps to stem the tide.

In addition to holding homemade recyclable art-signs with positive messages for Mother Earth, the participants in the march will also have the opportunity to write “love notes” or other messages to the Earth. These notes, which will be written on compostable paper, will then be buried in the earth to symbolize the participants’ physical and spiritual connection to nature. Participants are also encouraged to don wearable art or costumes–anything that’s creative that sends a loving message to the Earth. The event will also feature singing and dancing.

This event is particularly meaningful to Magpili-Smith, who is a Co-Cultivator in The RootSSwell Project, which aims to connect people back to a thriving community by cultivating a giving, empowered, just, and sustainable ecosystem through an acknowledgement of Mother Earth’s core essences.

This desire to foster community and connect people to the Earth prompted Magpili-Smith to reach out to the more vulnerable populations in Durham who recognize and have experienced the ills of climate change for themselves to participate in the event. She is inspired by people such as David Newcomb and Holly McCoy who are taking serious steps to change their lives for the better in spite of the odds related to scarce resources in food, housing, transportation, employment, child care, health care, and others.

Valentine’s Day Gift for Mother Earth

“Our aim is to make them really visible,” says Magpili-Smith. “They have talents to share, and hopes, dreams, and visions for the future and their place in the environment, and we want to make sure they are heard.” Newcomb is a skillful peer coach and carpenter. He dreams of becoming a writer and vlogger and to build mobile homeless shelters. McCoy is a talented dancer, fashion designer, model, and peer coach who aims to spread the message that beauty is one’s nature. To make it easier for everyone to attend the event, Magpili-Smith has arranged transportation from a shelter, childcare, and will even have vegan food on hand for snacks. “We want to provide every opportunity for people to participate.”

The desire to create community resonates deeply for both Magpili-Smith and Suzik. “Once we met in person, we just kept in touch, and with her background and her interests, I just knew this event would be something she’d be interested in. Through TPP, I already feel like I have community, and it really helps me a lot. I really truly appreciate that we were connected.”

If you’re in North Carolina this Valentine’s Day, we hope you can attend the event!
For more information about the event or to register, visit https://vdayclimatemarch.eventbrite.com

TPP loves hearing about connections made within the grantee community! Part of our Theory of Change—how we believe we contribute to the change we wish to see the in the world—is to foster collaboration among our network so that new opportunities for service may arise—just like this Valentine’s Day Climate March! We thank Nina and Becky for coming together to make this truly special event happen.