ORONO — The 19th HOPE (Help Organize Peace Earthwide) Festival will be held 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, April 27, at the Student Recreation and Fitness Center at the University of Maine.
The theme of the festival is “Do One Thing,” or DOT. Festival organizers are seeking submissions of five-minute presentations of outlining one thing festival participants can do to create a better world.
Festival organizers credit Matt Dubel, executive director of Fields Pond Audubon Center in Holden, with the idea for the festival theme. He suggested inviting people from the local community to be the festival speakers.
“What we’re hoping for is to move as many people as possible to take action for change,” said Dubel. “The festival is an opportunity to give concrete suggestions about how to make a difference in world.
“We’re asking each participating organization to identify one concrete action that would have a big impact on their area,” he said. “Russ Libby, of MOFGA uses the example that if people spent $10 a week in the local food economy, it would transform Maine. It’s realistic and achievable.
“Just one person makes a little impact, but lots of people taking the same action scale up the impact. A lot of little actions leverages a disproportionately large result. We really want to tap into the organizations [who will be represented at the festival] and their expertise for ideas that are concrete and high leverage,” Dubel said.
Inspiration for his idea, he said, came from a number of campaigns for social change that taps into social science and how people commit to change. Studies indicate, he said, that people look to each other to take the steps that lead to change. The festival brings hundreds of people together who are committed to living peacefully and sustainably. It is an opportunity to create a social experience that will remind attendees that they are not attempting to orchestrate change alone, that “they are part of constellation of people taking action together,” he said.
Dubel said Fields Pond Audubon Center will be one of the participating organizations at the festival, but its idea for Do One Thing is still evolving.
Mari Abercrombie of Windover Arts has made a YouTube presentation featuring Dubel inviting people to submit material for Do One Thing. Organizations also are being invited to come up with an idea that participants could select during the course of the day and post on the festival’s Wall of HOPE.
Organizers are seeking submissions from students from area high schools and University of Maine students are helping to spread the word.
Festival planners will select 10 to 12 presentations in the fields of environmental sustainability, local food, peace, human rights, economic justice, healthcare, women’s empowerment, education, spirituality and alternatives, such as cooperatives. The deadline for submissions is Friday, March 15, with auditions the following week. Those chosen to make a presentation at the festival will be notified the week of April 8.
The free festival, held near Earth Day, celebrates the earth and human connection. Entertainment will include juggler Zachary Field, Timbered Lake performing music for Mother Earth and the HOPE Festival singers. A children’s program, more than 60 social change groups and locally produced food available for purchase also will be featured at the festival.
Festival admission is free. To volunteer, contact the Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine at 942-9343 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Social change organizations interested in tablespace at the festival may download applications at www.peacectr.org.