People ask me where I’m going to be on Sunday. Not if I’m going to be at the People’s Climate March, but which People’s Climate March. Plans to drop banners throughout the Bay Area and rally at Lake Merritt are well underway by the Sunflower Alliance and others and it’s going to be a great day. I might have joined any of the other events planned down the Peninsula, closer to my home in Pacifica. It’s conceivable that I’d join my friends and family in my hometown of Vancouver to link arms at the CBC plaza. But, no, when people ask me, I say, “I’m going to be in New York”.
Living on the west coast, I’d been saying this somewhat sheepishly since seeing off the Climate Train in Emeryville, CA earlier this week, after reading my co-worker’s blog about life on the Train and the deep thinking the 200+ riders are doing while chugging across the nation, and while thinking about all the time people are spending today ‘carpooling’ on the hundreds of buses to Manhattan. Why? Oh, because I’m flying. And whenever activists fighting climate change take this fossil fuel intensive mode of transport to arrive in a place to fight climate change, we get called out as hypocrites, we get flak and discredited – all attempts to cut our credibility. Heck, I’ve been guilty of lobbing these criticisms myself.
But yesterday as I diligently got my things together, it hit me – I’m going to be in New York for the largest climate rally ever. And why I’m there is far more important than how I’m getting there.
I’m going to be on the streets with at least one hundred thousand people gathering for a single reason – demand action on climate change to save humanity and the planet. No one at the March will be there for any other reason. We demand this action of ourselves, of countries, of governments and of the United Nations; we believe this action must happen at a local level, at a national level, at a global level, even at a glo-cal level; and we believe this action will happen through technology, innovation, law and going back to the land. We celebrate this diversity.
To make this need for action the reality, we realize that it’s going to take all of us. On Sunday, we will show that we are huge in number. As we snake through the streets, pause for a moment of silence to remember those who have fallen victim to the impacts of climate change, and make our way to a giant People’s Climate Block Party to meet, connect and learn from and make art with each other, we will be having an impact as the experience will have an impact on us, and we’ll take this back to our homes, and do the work we need to do.
I’m committed to learning from people’s movements around the world. Celebrating victories and sharing struggle and suffering. I’m committed to sharing news of Global Exchange’s work to stop fracking in Mendocino County through the ballot box this November, of our campaign for Fair Trade to ensure workers are paid a living wage and the environment is protected and of our actions to stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership which, if passed, would grant corporations more power and rollback our efforts for just transition.
And thanks to you, I’m marching with the voices of Global Exchange supporters – we asked you to answer ‘We’re talking action because it’s up to us … ‘ and as they flooded in, we added them to a banner which Shannon and I will carry on Sunday. Here are just a few:
…to have breathable air and drinkable water. Mira S., El Sobrante, CA
…to stop climate change and end fracking. Robert E., Andersonville, TN
…to preserve life on earth for our children. Jamie F., Sugarland, TX
…because each day we delay makes it hotter and harder. Sally P., Salt Lake City, UT
…because Mother Nature is so alive! She is so strong and that’s no jive. Meaghan S., Fortuna, CA
So as I’m zooming through the air on a Boeing 737 towards New York, I look out the window at the bountiful land below, I look up to the delicate atmosphere above and I look around at everyone in the cabin with me and I’m already motivated by what I see.
How ever we are getting to the People’s Climate March, many are saying they have the same feeling they did in November 1999, when heading to Seattle to shut down the WTO, or in February 2003 heading out their front doors to show opposition to the war in Iraq – a feeling of excitement, power and determination. I know when we stand, shoulder to shoulder, in the streets and around the world we can change the course of history.