Archive for the ‘Race to Replace’ Category

Party like it’s 1776
July 6, 2010

Nothing says Independence Day like clean energy campaigns and fireworks. Or well, at least for us it doesn’t.


Cody and I spent our 4th of July (er well 3rd of July) up in the good ol’ city of B-town. Pairing up with the Race to Replace team, as well as trusty photographer Ryan Kellett, we spent the day canvassing Church Street and later the Champlain waterfront, in the name of promoting clean energy awareness in Vermont’s upcoming gubernatorial election. That’s right; we spent the day being those annoying people you try and avoid whenever you’re out in public. And yes we got rejected more times than a 12 year old boy with acne, glasses, and braces at a middle school dance, but that didn’t damper our spirits. With ukulele in tow, we owned Church St.; registering youth voters and informing people on the importance of clean energy issues like it was our job (cause for some of us it is). It’s a tough job, and I definitely have mad respect now for those who put themselves out there for a cause they believe in.

One perk of the job would have to be meeting all kinds of different people. And when I say all kinds, I mean all kinds. There are those who are genuinely interested and not crazy (rare), those who want to prove you wrong, and those who are just bat-shit-off-the-wall insane. And our favorite: the people in costumes, always good for a photo-op (moose, blue wolf, Charlie Chaplin, etc – examples? See our profile pics).

We're voting for clean energy. Are you?


“I always have the most fun on the Fourth of July. You don’t have to exchange any gifts. You just go to the beach and watch fireworks. It’s always fun.” (James Lafferty)

What would the 4th of July be without them? There is no better way to celebrate independence than by blowing things up. Our dear friend Abi so poignantly stated, “Isn’t it funny that when guns explode people freak out but when the explosions are accompanied by pretty lights, everyone ooohs and aaahs?” Regardless of whatever skepticism there might be surrounding fireworks and how ‘silly’ they are, Burlington does an amazing job with their fireworks.

After increasing the fireworks budget to $45,000 (so much for the recession? poverty? improving education systems?), Burlington put on a monster of a show full of all the wonderfully loud and colorful expulsions of light that make even the snobbiest cynics smile with the most well-intentioned Amurrrrican pride.

We also spent the night before in Bristol, enjoying their fireworks display, which although not as impressive as Burlington’s, was still respectable for such a small town. It was a quaint night; full of creemes, freedom, and cool Vermont air.

Truth Quote

Overall it was another great, effortlessly Vermont weekend!

Semper Fi,

Audrey and Cody

(title credit: Casey Mahoney)


BP: Take Notice
June 27, 2010

Sorry about the delay in blog posting as of late. I’ve been occupying my time attending protests, helping lost spanish-school students, and eating a lot of cheese.

No big deal.

But, in all seriousness, things at Middlebury have certainly gotten more exciting. Just a couple of weeks ago, the most exciting thing to do was eat a sandwich (read: closed dining halls) but now, with language school kids here and constant outdoor adventures, it finally feels like summer.

One of the coolest things that I’ve done thus far while at Midd has been attending the “Hands across the Sand” protest in Burlington on Saturday with the Race to Replace army. As mentioned earlier, the movement was started in order to protest offshore drilling by joining hands and creating a human barricade against evil people who want oil (that’s right all you moms and your mini vans).

The coolest thing about the actual event happening in Burlington was that it was being sponsored by this really groovy group of middle-aged men and women who all have this incredible, undying passion for the earth, a passion that you just don’t find many places anymore.

I’m an aggressively social and inquisitive person, thanks to years of watching my Grandmother and Aunt become best friends with complete strangers in the weirdest places (like waiting in line to buy oranges or when attempting to navigate around Walgreens), so I, naturally, struck up a conversation with the lady I was holding hands with (shout out to Betsy) who told me about this environmental group that a friend and her started a few years ago that now has chapters in 32 states.

Mind blown.

The entire protest only lasted 15 minutes, but, in spite of the pouring rain, 15 minutes didn’t seem like enough time. There was something incredibly calm and moving about standing in almost complete silence, hands locked, staring out into the infinite sea, reflecting on the beauty of nature’s pureness.

All in all, an amazing experience, which was capped off by the infectiously energetic Ben Wessel rallying the entire crowd. Video provide, per usual:

Until the next wet protest,


Hands Across the Sand
June 23, 2010

Your instructions for this Saturday:

  1. Go to the beach at 11 AM in your time zone for one hour, rain or shine.
  2. Join hands for 15 minutes at 12:00 forming lines in the sand against oil drilling in our coastal waters.
  3. Leave only your footprints.

These are the steps to participate in the Hands Across the Sand event occurring across the globe, this Saturday, June 26, 2010. Sponsored by, Hands Across the Sand is “a movement made of people of all walks of life and crosses political affiliations. This movement is not about politics; it is about protection of our coastal economies, oceans, marine wildlife, and fishing industry.  Let us share our knowledge, energies and passion for protecting all of the above from the devastating effects of oil drilling.”

The event will be powerful with a simple message: Say NO to offshore oil drilling, and YES to clean energy.

Middlebury’s own Race to Replace team will be participating in the Burlington event. Come out and join us for a day of sun, sand, surf, and clean energy!

Want more info? Of course there’s a facebook event page: Hands Across the Sand Event

Watch this great video for footage of the very first Hands Across the Sand, which took place in Florida on February 13, 2010.

Hope to see you there!


How now brown cow
June 7, 2010

This weekend, I attended the Strolling of the Heifers, an annual cow parade in Brattleboro, Vermont.

Many of you do not know who I am, so a brief introduction is necessary. My name is Olivia Noble (’13) and I am living in Middlebury this summer running a campaign with several other students called Race to Replace, promoting clean energy as a focus in the upcoming governor’s election in Vermont. And I too am speaking English.

Now in our meetings before the summer began, our group, Race to Replace, talked about all the awesome events we were going to attend, seeking out Vermonters and talking to them about clean energy. So not only would we be achieving our goals, we would be having a great time exploring and learning more about the state. It was under this guise that Abigail, Syd, and I drove 2 and a half hours out to Brattleboro Friday afternoon for a gallery walk event where many stores stay open late and street performances are abound. We got there, explored a bit, and set up shop outside of Maya’s parent’s shop (another member of the Race to Replace team). In our matching t-shirts, we began chatting with passer-by’s, pulling in the semi-interested onlookers with phrases such as “Do you care about clean energy?” “Do you want to hear about a campaign about clean energy in Vermont?” and my personal favorite: “Hey, do you want your picture taken?”  A lot of people passed us by, giving excuses that varied from “I’m going to see the theater troupe” to one very confused woman who clearly heard Abigail ask her a question, paused, and then just walked away. The people that did stop fell into 3 categories. One, they wanted to prove us wrong. Two, they wanted the free flyers we had lying on the table, and three, they were genuinely interested. Talking to the people of Brattleboro was both fascinating and enlightening as we learned what people responded to and what they were most concerned about. We saw and talked to some of the most interesting people I’ve ever met.

The next morning after staying the night at Maya’s house we found prime seats for the parade, eager to see some heifers. Clearly, others were just as excited as the streets slowly filled up with thousands of people. It was, as it was advertised, a cow parade, complete with a cleanup crew following behind the cows and scooping up their poop.  However, there were also girl scout troops, local businesses, high school bands, circus performers, and many other participants, filling the parade with character and a genuine taste of Vermont. At the end of the parade, everyone was encouraged to tag along and follow the cop car at the back. I realized then, as Syd, Abigail, and I joined the parade, that this wasn’t just a novelty event we had stumbled upon, but a portrait of a town where everyone was a character and outsiders such as ourselves were welcomed with open arms.

Here is a video I created about the event:

Eager to visit the next small Vermont town on the list,


P.S. – If any of you readers are in Vermont this Tuesday the 8th, Race to Replace is hosting an event at the Skinny Pancake in Montpelier.  We’re paying for the first 50 drinks, so come on down!