ORONO - The HOPE Festival is returning to the University of Maine in Orono again this year, this time with special guest and renowned author Bill McKibben.
"What's so exciting about this is he tells us the bad news and good news about climate change and how small groups of people can make a difference," explained Ilse Petersons from the Peace & Justice Center in Bangor.
McKibben and six students created the organization called 350.org, a grassroots group that has organized thousands of rallies all over the world to promote sustainability and a more environmentally friendly way of life. McKibben will be joined by more than 70 vendors at the 2012 HOPE Festival in Orono on April 21.
"There will be people from Hike for Homeless selling raffle tickets, people from Cooperative Maine available to talk to those interested in starting co-ops," explained Petersons. "There will also be people from Food & Medicine to help those who are still out of work, and a group from the Maine Solar Energy organization will be there creating outdoor solar cookers."
The HOPE Festival is always scheduled to coincide with Earth Day. Petersons said it's a great way to not only celebrate our connection to the earth but to each other.
"When you get a sense of how many groups there are working for change, it can give us all hope for the future," said Petersons.
The HOPE Festival is free and open to the public. It will take place April 21 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the University of Maine Student Recreation and Fitness Center in Orono. For more information, log onto www.peacectr.org.