Lisa Trope doing what she does best: organizing in Colorado
I’m not very good at rising early, but with all the swirling chaos of the new administration, I decided I was going to push myself to be more of a morning person and get a jump on the daunting work of resisting the onslaught coming out of Washington.
So, I got up early one morning and headed to a coffee shop down the street from my apartment.
I walked past a woman sitting on a bench thumbing through her notebook who saw me and got up and followed me inside.
She turned out to be the barista. As I ordered, we chatted about the challenges of getting an early start to our work days. She asked what I did, and I remember thinking, ‘she probably doesn’t know what an organizer is.’ As she made my coffee she asked me what issues I worked on. I was excited to engage. (When does an organizer really ever stop organizing?)
When I told her that we worked on issues like fracking, her eyes lit up and she said, “Did you hear that Maryland banned fracking YESTERDAY!?” I felt so much lighter. It was exciting to hear that people noticed these big victories for our country and the planet. I explained that this was a big win for Food & Water Watch and our partners. It had been five years in the making, but we did it.
We ended the conversation learning each other’s names, her wanting to look into the work Food & Water Watch did and wishing each other a good day.
It hit me as I walked away why victories like this are so important. Not just to the future of our planet—our health, our air, our communities and climate. But they also give us hope. They remind us that positive change can happen. That neighbors can connect around making change.
Colorado has a long way to go to protect its communities from fracking. With a state legislature bought and paid for by oil and gas companies and a governor who is often dubbed ‘Frackenlooper,’ affected communities are fighting for their lives. We have 52,000 active fracking wells in Colorado and counting. We’ve experienced many defeats with the oil and gas industry suing local governments and passing initiatives that make it hard for Colorado families to protect themselves from fossil fuel development.
But victories like the one in Maryland and conversations in local coffee shops give us hope. They give us a reason to keep fighting. They give us a reason to keep our heads up and to stay grounded during this mayhem.
Just months ago, many legislators in Maryland ago were saying, “I will never vote for a fracking ban.” Now, those same legislators voted for the ban. This hope is not random. This hope comes from the progressive movement coming together and being strategic to fight the most powerful industry in the world—and win.
I see many more conversations like this happening, over the next four years. I hope I run into Rachel again, the next time I push myself to be ‘more of a morning person.’ I want to tell her she made my day.