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Twenty years of HOPE

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Photo courtesy: Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine Photo courtesy: Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine

Hope Festival celebrates the Earth and our relationship with it

BANGOR For 20 years, the Peace and Justice Center has been celebrating the Earth and the people in it with the annual HOPE Festival (Help Organize Peace Earthwide).

'[The HOPE Festival] really celebrates our connection with the Earth and each other. Together we can make the change that we want to see. Together we can do things to reduce fossil fuel use and reduce emissions and slow down global warning,' said Ilze Peterson, the program coordinator at the Peace and Justice Center. 'The Hope Festival provides information and the ways that people can do just that and get involved in making change.'

At the HOPE Festival, people can check out more than 60 organizations dealing with the environment, such as the Sierra Club and the Maine Green Energy; organizations such as Spruce Run which work against domestic violence; as well as groups working for global peace and justice, such as Veterans for  Peace  and PICA (Peace through Inter-American Action). There are groups working for human rights, such as the Gay Lesbian and Straight Alliance Network and the NAACP, as well as groups working for low income Mainers such as h.o.m.e. co-op  and those promoting alternatives, such Cooperative Maine. As people browse among the information tables, pick up buttons, bumper stickers and T-shirts, they enjoy live music and entertainment.

And with 20 years of working towards seeing positive change, Peterson said she has noticed movement.

'I think there are so many more organizations doing good work,' she said. 'There are thousands of groups like ours around the world and all of them have 350.org groups working to stem climate change. I think that's a big change. That's something that wasn't there 20 years ago. We need to take care and start simplifying our lives. We need to live simply, and I think that's become more and more apparent. 

There is something for everyone at the Hope Festival, from children to adults. Maine Solar Energy Association will be on hand to show people how to charge a cell phone with the sun. Peter Baldwin a man who lives completely off the grid will demonstrate how to create a composting toilet. Window Dressers will showcase how to conserve heat with window inserts. Alternative Comfort will show off their heat pumps. And MOFGA will show how to create newspaper seedling pots.
Additionally, there will be live entertainment. Inanna Sisters in Rhythm and the HOPE Festival Singers will open the festival with songs by Pete Seeger and Songs of Peace. More music will be provided by the University of Maine student Devon Cole, who goes by Earthperson and will be sharing electronic songs for Mother Earth.

Sassafras Catering and Blue Hill Co-op will provide yummy and healthy treats for festival goers, including salads, wraps and snacks. 

There will be activities specifically for families and children, including juggling, storytelling and interactive activities.

Schedule of events:

11 a.m. 4 p.m. Organizational Fair

Sixty organizations working to take care of the earth and each other share information

Stage Main Area

11 a.m.   Opening Ceremony

Gabriel Paul, Penobscot Linguist and Ceremonial Pipe Carrier;

Bill McKibben video greeting

11:15 a.m.   HOPE Festival Singers

Noon   Zachary Field Juggling

3 p.m.   Inanna Sisters in Rhythm and Hula Hoop for HOPE: 

Throughout the day visit 20/20 Poster  Display and videos of 20 years of  HOPE Festivals near the stage.  Share your vision for a sustainable future 20 years from now on the Wall of HOPE.

Upstairs:

12 noon   Devon Cole Earthperson, music for Mother Earth

1 p.m. Sherri Mitchell, Indigenous rights lawyer and activist keynote talk

2 p.m. Poetry for People, Planet and Peace

Main Area Noon 2 p.m.

Sustainability Demonstrations:

Window Dressers window inserts

Solar Cell Phone Charger

Eco Housing

Heat Pumps

Composting Toilet

Americans Who Tell the Truth

Children's Area 11 a.m.- 3 p.m. Activities:

Fields Pond Audubon Center, Tanglewood 4-H Camps, Stillwater Montessori, Penobscot River Restoration Trust,  Master Gardeners, University of Maine Cooperative Extension, Windover Arts and others: create hats from recycled materials, make pine cone bird houses, learn about worms and  composting, and more.

11:30 12:30 try out Acro Yoga

Noon 2 p.m. make your own leaf press

Food Court  11:00 3:00

Sassafrass Catering , Blue Hill Food Coop and Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine will be selling delicious salads, wraps and snacks along with MOO Milk.

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