By Mara Certic
Bobbie Cohen has been a resident of Sag Harbor for over 35 years. She discusses her involvement in Hamptons in Transition and some of its upcoming events.
What is the Hamptons in Transition organization all about?
We’re the local chapter. We have a steering committee that is hoping to network with local groups and any interested people to help move Hamptons in Transition back to something more sustainable, to reclaim nature, have people support local businesses, bring things back to a more natural order, have fewer cars on the road, promote biking and public transportation, gardening, affordable housing. Anything that is in keeping with that type of philosophy. It’s not an exclusive thing where we’re only interested in a few aspects of sustainability. Anyone who is attracted to transition—whatever it is that they are passionate about becomes something that is part of the movement. We try to bring people together who aren’t usually on the same page.
What sort of people are you referring to?
Conservationists, baymen, local business owners. You know, local business owners, although I’m sure they hate the traffic, love having more and more people out here to support their bottom line. And if they see that by encouraging people who are here year-round to support their businesses and having partnerships there, that that will help them. If being out here is a more pleasant experience for people – it’s not going to hurt them. We want to accommodate everyone’s needs.
What causes has Hamptons in Transition lent its support to?
It’s designed to be versatile. I think one of the catchphrases of the transition movement: “capturing the creative genius of the community.” So anything that is in keeping with that type of philosophy. As an example of how we will embrace one of our member’s passions, even if we didn’t set out with that endeavor in mind. Josh Belury spearheads the Conscience Point Shellfish Hatchery. It was founded in 2013 and they work in close alliance with Sea Scout Ship 908, who recruits at-risk youth, and they do a lot of the labor in terms of the building and the oysters themselves. They’re instilled with responsibilities and they develop self-esteem while at the same time they are taking millions of oyster seeds and growing them at various stages. They release them into the bay and they in turn clean up the bay because that’s what oysters do—they filter out all kinds of impurities. It’s a really great project on so many levels.
How are you supporting the Conscience Point Shellfish Hatchery and their work?
We’re holding a fundraiser at Charles Addams’s house on Friday, June 13, from 5:13 until 8:13 p.m. Friday the 13th is really appropriate for Charles Addams, whose ghoulish cartoons for the New Yorker inspired “The Addams Family.” So this is at the house where he and his wife lived and where he drew many of his cartoons. Part of the appeal of the event is that people will get a tour of his house and see his sculptures, drawings and ghoulish, whimsical things. The tickets cost $100, and will go to finishing construction of the hatchery, acquiring materials necessary to run the program, and creating a marine learning center for people of all ages. The Southampton Historical Society supports the hatchery by letting them use their property.
Do you have any other upcoming events promoting sustainability in the area?
On Thursday, June 5, we were going to do “hugelkultur.” It’s a kind of gardening that’s supposed to not need irrigation, but we got rained out. We have postponed it, but we’re going to get together and dig the earth and bury logs and the other things that go into hugelkultur and film it, just promoting sustainable practices. If anyone is interested they should visit hamptonsintransition.org.