Below is EcoFaith Leader Cheryl Lohrmann’s reflections on the sHellNo Kayak Flotilla on July 25th in Portland, OR. More photos here.
Dustin, Leo and I went with another family just to see the kayaks get in the water at the Swan Island Boat Ramp. We found there wasn’t much to see other than kayaks, boats and canoes make their way to where the Fennica was docked. A woman came down the ramp with an organizer who was announcing a need for an experienced kayaker to go along with the woman. Figuring someone else would volunteer I waited a few beats. Then my husband said something to the effect of “here’s your chance” so I said I’d go.
We got into the water and it turned out I knew her, Laurie Smith, from an art show I organized almost 8 years ago having to do with raising awareness about plastic pollution! She said it was her first time coming to something like this and, although she asked, no one in her family wanted to join her. She relayed that she took some familial teasing for it.
Between catching up, we participated in some chanting on the way to the site. Once we were close we were corralled by organizers to hold the sign facing one way in front of the ship, then facing the bluff. A coast guard boat came to greet us with some firm language on a loudspeaker that sounded like we were all about to get fined or hauled off to jail. I was surprised by the response of the kayaktivists who chanted “Protect the coast, not the corporations!” as I thought about obeying and abruptly heading home. The last thing my family needs is a fine to pay! I was reassured by the chant that this was nothing to be alarmed by.
I had to head back since I had the return trip bus tickets in my back pocket that my landbound family might need. I also met up with my neighbor on the water, who also spent time in the water at Cathedral park a few nights later. She said it would have been nice to talk about it all afterward. Instead, but not totally unfortunate, everyone ate Ben and Jerry’s then headed home.
It was a perfect opportunity for more engagement.
Looking for more engagement and reflection? Check out the EcoFaith Recovery Initiative Beyond Fossil Fuels.
Cheryl Lohrmann-Riggs is a member of the Leaven/Salt and Light Lutheran community in Portland, Oregon. A parent of Leo, she is part-time director for Create Plenty, an organization that is developing environmental leadership opportunities for students in high school, with a focus on Portland Public Schools. She has also initiated budding grassroots initiatives in developing a neighborhood-based economy (Inconvenience Store 2.0), a soap cooperative called Critical Bath, LLC, and a parenting cooperative (SWAP-Swap and Work And Play) to get all the work time she needs. Email: cheryl (at) createplenty.org.
sHellNo Kayak Flotilla Reflection by EcoFaith Leader Cheryl Lohrmann