Post-Pilgrimage Reflections from Hattie Nestel

As part of my opposition to the proposed Kinder Morgan Corporation pipeline that would carry fracked gas from fields in Pennsylvania through New York State, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, I participated in six days of a Pipeline Pilgrimage led by Young Adult Quakers through six New Hampshire towns.

The pilgrimage occurred one year since my knee replacement. I wasn’t sure how I would manage in hilly New Hampshire, but I was determined to give it a try. I was the oldest person on the pilgrimage by twenty years.

Going through New Hampshire’s beautiful hills, lakes, and forests along the proposed pipeline route, I was sickened by the thought that this all can be destroyed with one signature from FERC, the Federal Regulatory Energy Commission, approving the proposed pipeline.

Since late last spring, I have worked with hundreds of others in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Pennsylvania to oppose this pipeline, called the New England Direct pipeline by Kinder Morgan. In November, I demonstrated against FERC with newly formed Beyond Extreme Energy, BXE activists DC and will do so again at the end of May.

I have sold more than five hundred lawn signs and bumper stickers opposing the pipeline. I have interviewed more than thirty-five people who are targeted to have the pipeline go through their properties. I have video-interviewed our federal and state politicians about the proposed pipeline and have arranged to have the interviews aired on twenty-six Massachusetts cable access stations and Youtube.

Nothing is ever enough. Almost daily, headlines in our local newspaper report on our progress or lack of to stop the pipeline.

Informational meetings bring experts in energy fields, politicians, and now lawyers hired to help us stop this destruct and destroy the corporate dinosaur threatening our beautiful states and ways of life.

We know New England does not need nor would we benefit from the two billion cubic feet of fracked gas intended to go through this pipeline. The gas is likely intended for Europe via duty-free ports in Maine. Fracking extracts an extremely fossil fuel via an extremely dirty process that injects chemically treated water into shale formations to break up rock. The process is an immense water hog, and storing chemically toxic waste used in drilling is as unsolvable a problem as storing radioactive waste from nuclear power reactors.

The proposed Kinder Morgan, Tennessee Gas thirty-six-inch pipeline would deliver enough fuel to produce more than twice the combined power generated in all of New England by coal, petroleum and nuclear fuels in 2012!
The gas would be liquefied and exported to Europe from Dracut, Massachusetts through the port of Saint John in New Brunswick, Canada.

Many of the towns that this pipeline would go through have only wells for all their water and feel threatened by the risk and destruction that pipelines pose to their water supply. In Massachusetts and New Hampshire, much land is conserved against development to protects wildlife corridors, wetlands, farms, and forests. The proposed pipeline threatens even conservation land, although lawyers and land specialists look for every avenue to oppose the pipeline. During the pilgrimage, I heard heartbreaking stories of homeowners who had conserved, protected, and loved their lands for decades only to face eminent domain proceedings that would rob them of their property and the prospect of land too toxic to live on or sell if the pipeline is built.

More than fifty Massachusetts towns have passed resolutions opposing the proposed pipeline to prevent it from going through their towns. New Hampshire towns have adopted the same strategy. Still, no one knows how our states rights’ to decide will stack up against the feds.

One arguments about gas pipelines is that natural gas is cleaner than coal. However, drilling, storing, distributing, and burning gas produces both carbon dioxide and methane. They are both powerful greenhouse gases. Over time, methane becomes concentrated in the atmosphere and is a great risk to global warming. Although the propaganda about fracked gas is that it is cleaner than coal, when considering both carbon dioxide and methane, gas is not a safe bridge to renewable fuels.

My knee survived the pilgrimage, and I ended up with lots more physical energy, more contacts, and increased appreciation of the beautiful landscapes and lives that will be devastated if we lose this battle. I am grateful that I was able to participate in the pilgrimage. And I had fun.

Post-Pilgrimage Reflection from Rob Levin

Promoted for awesomeness. Rob wrote this in a comment after he left us. -Jay

Hello dear Pilgrims,

I am 24-hours PPP (Post Pipeline Pilgrimage) and feel the urge to reach out to all of you, my climate family. I’ve been thinking of everyone all day as I’ve been back at work, smiling at the thought of your walking and walking and walking (20 miles is a helluva day!).

Spiritual tectonic plates are still shifting for me. I can’t say I have any more answers than I had when I took my first steps with you last Wednesday. But somehow I feel a lightness, a diffused sense of opening and possibility.

I drove home with Morgan yesterday. If you ever need a hit of enthusiasm, spend three hours in the car with Morgan! Her ideas, combined with Satoru’s wisdom on suffering and oneness, combined with 117 other conversations I had with all of you, have me bursting with energy. You have become irresistible to me.

The immediate effect of all this is that I’m hoping to Go Big with an upcoming Peace and Social Concerns Committee meeting at my Quaker Meeting. Up to now we’ve been saying that we should only take on one or two things at a time, that if we try to do too much, we won’t accomplish anything. And we don’t want to rock the boat too much. Well, after Pilgrimming with you, I’m feeling led to propose a far more ambitious package of actions. Bill M’s silver buckshot approach. It’s not going to change the world all at once, but it’s going to be a start, combined with all of your efforts.

Yours in Spirit,

Rob Levin

“Thus quieted, I heard what I believe” Reflection by Paul Dobbs, Winchester, NH

Paul journeyed with us for two days in New Hampshire, and wrote this in a comment on Patrick’s last post – but it needs to be shared more widely. – Jay

I am deeply grateful to the organizers, to the sturdy long-distance pipeline pilgrims, and to everyone who walked, for their leadership and friendship. My participation, just 21 of the total 150 miles, was ever so modest. But nevertheless it was, by far, the best thing I have done for myself in a long time. The whole of it—the silences, the walking, the silent walking, the quiet encountering of crows, phoebes, trees, rivers, sheep, people along the road (adults and children involved in their lives), the houses, fields, trees, the crushed bottles and cans underfoot, the white horse who shyly engaged us, the thoughtful conversations with new friends, and those silences, and that walking, walking, especially the silent walking—did quiet me far more effectively than my ordinary meditations, valuable as they are.

Thus quieted, I heard what I believe, that there is no reason to doubt the consensus of the climate scientists, and that their assessment is careful and true: that we humans are steering this beautiful planet toward catastrophe. And I heard a curious secret whispered to me: the fact that many, indeed most, others also do believe what the scientists say, but they are managing, as I had managed, to live each day not hearing what they believe.

It seems the goal is now to sustain the quieting, so to be able to heed what one hears and then to act, with others, to correct the course.

Abundant Gratitude

Dear Pipeline Pilgrims,

I confess that I don’t have words sufficient to capture the beauty, power and transformation of the 12 days we spent walking together. I just know that those days have continued to reverberate in my hearts and thoughts. Thank you for taking the time away from your day-to-day lives to walk with us – your spirits and your dedication continually moved and inspired me. Thanks to all who provided food, housing, support cars, trail magic, scarves, and so much more – we came away nourished in every sense by the generosity of so many. I know that I will continue to reflect on what I learned over those 150 miles for many months.

We’re going to conclude our blog by posting reflections from pilgrims. We would love to hear stories from your experience of the pilgrimage, what this experiences meant for you,or how you’re living out the pilgrimage as you return to your daily life. Just email us the text (and a photo if you want one included) and we’ll get it posted.

Many photos of the pilgrimage are on Facebook – we also heard many requests from people not on Facebook to share photos so we’ve set up a dropbox folder. Please add photos to that folder if you’d like to share them with the group. The link is

WGBH’s Greater Boston show aired a short segment about the pilgrimage on Monday night. You can find that piece and the links to all our other media hits at

See you down the road, dear friends.


p.s. Just wanted to give a shout-out to Patrick, Kelsey, Jimmy and Theo who carried the pilgrimage forward by sleeping out in the Harvard Yard with Divest Harvard on Sunday night.

Final Pilgrimage Weekend – Join Us

Dear Friends,

As we write tonight, the Pipeline Pilgrimage has traversed 119 miles from Pittsfield, MA, to Milford, NH. We have had over 100 people walk with us over the past 9 days; we have been graced by an abundance of delicious food and warm places to stay; and we have had people all along – including the media – notice that we’re doing something very different.

While we have bandaged feet and tired bodies, our spirits have been moved by the journey, the contemplation and the people we have met. Our daily worship and reflections continue to be inspired, and there seems evidence of the Spirit at work in all of us.
This weekend we will finish our pilgrimage by walking to Dracut and we would love to share the final few miles of our journey with you as we place one foot in front of the other on this journey of faith.

You can join for a few hours, for a day or for as long as you are able. If you need a ride from public transit, call or text 607-592-9328. We will also be able to provide shuttles back to your car where you join the pilgrimage for the day.

Saturday, April 11

8:00 a.m. Gathering at First Church of Nashua, 1 Concord St, Nashua, NH 03063
Walk Distance: 9 miles
End Point: First Congregational Church, 3 Main St, Pelham, NH

Sunday, April 12
8:00 a.m. Gathering at First Congregational Church, 3 Main St, Pelham, NH

12:00 p.m. Lunch Break
Walk Distance: 5miles
1:00 p.m. Closing Gathering and Worship at Christ Church United, 10 Arlington St, Dracut, MA
3:00 p.m. Finish – Shuttle back or walk with group to MBTA commuter rail.

We hope to see you this weekend.

Love and Faith,
Jay and Meg

Meeting Up with the Pilgrimage

We’ve noticed over the last week that there have been several attempts by several folks who have failed to meet up with the pilgrimage as expected. I swear we’re not playing hard to get! So this post is just to disseminate information further so that it’s easier.

1) We have our walking directions posted! If you are trying to find us, we’ve posted our route for each day so that you can follow along where we expect to be walking. PLEASE VISIT THE ROUTE PAGE

2) Make sure you have Meg or my phone number. Mine is 774-313-0881. Call us when you are expecting to join so we can give you up to the minute route information. If you aren’t able to reach us – cell service is very spotty in southern New Hampshire – please leave a message or send a text.

What Makes This a Quaker-Led Pilgrimage?

“One of the strengths of Quakerism is not telling people what they should be doing, other than encouraging them to listing within.”

Debbie articulated that basic yet profound tenant of Quakerism on our planning call the other week as we reflected deeply together on how to hold a Quaker-led walk that is welcoming to all. This journey is one that will be walked by people of many faiths, yet it is our intention to create a uniquely Quaker space.

The intentions document that we wrote together includes many of the aspirations that under-girds the Quakerness of this walk. The main manifestation will of course be frequent silent waiting worship, our lack of signs and chants, and the ubiquitous “queries”. Friends have a long tradition of holding a searching question in mind, in worship and business to explore together a topic. Climate change is certainly something that begs more questions than it does answers.

We have a vision of using the framework of the stations of the cross each day to explore our relation to the pain and grief, and the invitation to new life that the threat of climate collapse presents us. It seems likely that we’ll take some time each day in the large group or smaller breakout groups exploring these ideas with a daily query.

I also wanted to share some ways in which logistically this will be a Quaker let pilgrimage: namely that whatever business or decisions need to be made will be done so in the manner of Friends. The team of Friends (mostly the YAF Climate Working Group) who have initiated the walk will continue to provide leadership and the main decision making body of the pilgrimage, and will broaden the group to fit the needs of the decision being made.

Well, nothing too earth shattering here, but wanted to share some more of these thoughts. Can’t wait to see you all out walking today and for the next 12 days!

Logistics, Logistics, Logistics

Hello Friends! We’ve just published the list of where we’re going to be when every day. There are still some places to be determined, but we are 3/4 of the way there with housing. What a gift! The main thing is, that if you plan to join us, you can now find out where and when we’re going to be meeting, by checking out the new Logistics page.

We’ve also published a whole lot of other logistical information, if you haven’t found it already: including public transportation connections and the scoop on housing and food etc. If you’re planning on joining the pilgrimage at any point, please take the time to read through this important information.

I also want to raise up our intentions document. In embarking on this walk, this pilgrimage, we are setting out some clear intentions that make this unlike other protests or marches that you may have been to. Please take the time to read, reflect, and digest it. And we’d love it if you had reflections to post them in the comments at the bottom of the page.

Love and Light to All!


Hey All, I just wanted to write and give you a note about the progress that we’re making on logistics for the pilgrimage. I’m used to writing the hopey-changey stuff, but did want to put some concrete things out there!

First of all, we have had an incredible outpouring of support from residents all along the route of the pipeline, volunteering to help out and urging us on. It is truly inspiring. We are in the process of confirming housing along the route: already at least three different churches along the way have offered their roofs to shelter us for a night along the way, and more are looking at how they can do so. The details of which will be posted soon. We also have folks who have volunteered to step up and provide vehicular and logistics support along the route.

We are so grateful! If you are able to help with housing (like convincing the church in your town that they can host us!), please drop us a line at THANK YOU!