For two gorgeous days in June, Safe & Green had the pleasure of hosting a booth at the Clearwater Festival. Inspired by Pete Seegar, for four decades the festival has mixed music with social justice and environmental activism on the shores of the Hudson River. This year, Clearwater chose nuclear energy as it’s activism theme, as the festival was held six miles downstream from Indian Point.
18,000 folks attended over two days. They were greeted by massive “Shut Down Indian Point” banners. Our booth had great graphics and banners from CAN and NEC, SAGE tee shirts for sale, and plenty of literature. We rarely had five minutes alone without someone visiting our booth, which we shared with Beyond Nuclear. Two things became clear: everyone loves Vermont, and sees us as leaders in creating a sustainable future for the US. Not everyone knew about Vermont Yankee, but those who do follow nuke news are familiar with our legal battles and demonstrations, and take hope from our successes.
Our neighboring booths included Westchester Citizens Awareness Network, Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition, Jersey Shore Nuclear Watch (Oyster Creek), and Alliance for a Green Economy (Fitzpatrick). We swapped stories, resources and ideas, throughout the weekend. At a strategy session Sunday, we agreed to create a support network of Northeastern nuke groups.
IPSEC gets the prize for best booth. Artist and activist Jean Lee Shaw built a replica of the Indian Point reactor out of recycled materials and kids toys, complete with leaking tritium, earthquake damage, traffic jams, and evacuation bus stops. It’s a show stopper, and a great educational tool. You can watch Jean talk about it on YouTube.
Although we were too busy at the booth to get in much music, we did join the closing circle led by Pete Seegar. At 93 years old, his back is a straight as ever and his eyes still piercing blue. He led us in songs and told a few tales. Two Native Americans opened and closed the ceremony with prayers. The circle was at the edge of the Hudson as the sun was setting. We were filled with gratitude and left for home knowing we are all part of a movement full of hope.
We also learned that our comrades at other leaky old reactors are indeed looking with hope to those of us who work to shut down Vermont Yankee. They were eager to hear our stories, to learn from the long years of progress we have made. We inspire them, and their faith in our struggle has inspired us.
Thank you to Roy Volpe and Sue Gamache, Activist Area coordinators, for waiving our fees and giving us a corner booth opposite the food court. You do an amazing job! It was fabulous spending the weekend with the knowledgeable and witty Cindy Folkers of Beyond Nuclear. Special thanks to Harvey Schactman of CAN for the pop up and great banners.