The People’s Climate March: A Good Planet is Hard to Find

IMG_6610Today, in New York City thousands and thousands of people walked in the People’s Climate March, a coming together of organizations and individuals to protest the inaction on climate change. Oh, how Clif and I wanted to go, but for a variety of reasons we had to stay put at the little house in the big woods. In our opinion, climate change is the biggest issue of our times, and while the world heats up, our leaders fiddle and fiddle. Instead of putting money, energy, and resources into solar and wind power, the powers that be foolishly and destructively continue their quest to extract as much fossil fuel as they can from rocks, from tar sands, from mines, and from the ocean.

Clif and I might not have been able to participate in the People’s Climate March, but we watched some of it live, courtesy of Amy Goodman and Democracy Now! As Goodman noted, this is the largest climate march in history, with “people as far as the eye can see.” And indeed there was an incredible stretch of people up and down the street. Many of the people looked like everyday folks—running the gamut from very young to quite old. Of course, there were some exotic folks, too, dancing in gauzy costumes and doing their best to look like Stevie Nicks in her younger days. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon marched, and so did the actor Mark Ruffalo. Ditto for Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio.

To get to this historic march, people walked across the country or took the Climate Train. Some even biked. Bus loads came from Maine, and, I expect, from other parts of the country that were vaguely within driving distance of New York City. Meanwhile, there were similar events in England, Germany, and many other countries.

Amy Goodman, normally quite reserved, had clearly caught the spirit of the climate march. “Something is coalescing,” she said, and there was a decided sparkle in her voice. “There is a turning of the tide.”

Oh, we hope so. This problem is so big that it needs to be addressed at all levels—from government policy to individual action. Clif and I try very hard to do our part—by buying as much local and organic as the budget will allow, by combining  errands so that we don’t drive unnecessarily, by not overconsuming. But there must be structural changes as our society turns from using fossil fuels to using renewable energy, and our leaders must initiate those changes.

In honor of the People’s Climate March, we decided that today would be a no-car day. We took the dog for a walk to the Narrows, where I snapped some pictures of leaves just beginning to turn. The day was overcast, with the sun breaking through here and there, making the water glimmer.

I was reminded of a sign we saw in the People’s Climate March: “A good planet is hard to find. Let’s save this one.”

Yes, yes.

Addendum: According to an article from Reuters, posted after the event, there were 310,000 people at the Climate March in New York. No wonder Amy Goodman was so enthusiastic!