This "Solidarity Share" was presented as part of a Keynote Plenary at the 7th Annual Millennium Campus Conference. Solidarity Shares were created by pairs of Delegates from different communities across the globe, finding shared points of struggle, joy, and connection. We hope their stories inspire you to connect across borders, to see the ways that struggles in your community might benefit from solidarity with others.
Phenny Omondi and Ryan McGuine
Kenya and Wisconsin, USA
"I grew up in a rural community in the western part of Kenya where charcoal and firewood are the major sources of energy. This means that the focus should be more on resilient forms of agriculture so that my community can plant more trees and conserve the environment.
Additionally, my hometown receives 12 hours of daylight for more than half of the year. This presents a possibility to harness solar energy, which would substitute charcoal burning and therefore tree cutting. I wish there is more focus on educating people on alternative or resilient agricultural systems and renewable energy sources which contaminate less and are, on a long term basis, more economical."
"And I was born and raised in Oregon, Wisconsin, a small suburb of the state's capital of Madison. There were really no forms of transportation besides driving and the seemingly infinite supply of energy came almost exclusively from burning coal. It's fair to say that American suburbs like mine are essentially based on emitting as many green house gases as possible.
Fortunately, my city is moving towards a greener energy grid. In recent years, Madison has switched all of its power plants from coal to natural gas, massive wind farms are now a staple in farm fields outside of town, and solar panels are showing up increasingly on top of homes."
Phenny: "All people of all nations have a right to lives of the same quality as those in developed countries. That being said, if every country followed the path to industrialization laid out by the United States--years of pollution followed by a transition to sustainability--it would be bad news for the environment. Ironically, those who have done the least to cause this mess stand to endure most of the pain."
Ryan: "And should they seek to improve their own lives following that conventional path, they will likely endure even more. Thus, by advocating a sustainable path to development in Kisumu, Kenya; Oregon, Wisconsin; and communities around the world, we can affect positive change that upholds the dignity of all people."
Phenny and Ryan: "Our struggles are your struggles."