Quantcast
Climate

The Great March for Climate Action

Uncharacteristic Los Angeles rains weren't enough to dampen the spirits of The Great March for Climate Action at the launch of this epic journey. Luckily, there was a break in the rains long enough for a dry and inspiring rally at Wilmington Waterfront Park. Behind the stage, stretched across the horizon, towered an oil refinery and the Port of Los Angeles. More than 1,000 people were in attendance at the launch, and the group departed with the marchers to walk the first 2.5 miles. The power of hundreds marching in the streets brought local residents to their windows and yards in support.

[slideshow_deploy id='347160']

The launch of the march was relocated from the affluent Santa Monica to the Wilmington community in Los Angeles struggling with the negative health effects from the area’s local oil refineries. The SoCal Climate Action Coalition that hosted the rally for The Great March for Climate Action launch requested that the march start in Wilmington following a decision by local refineries to move from refining 25,000 barrels of tar sands a year to 60,000 barrels a day without public comment. Valero withdrew their permit to ship tar sands into Wilmington later that month.

The Great March for Climate Action has marched more than 2,700 miles through flashfloods, blinding dust storms, excessive drought and crop-crushing hail worsened in many cases by increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The Climate March began its journey on March 1 in Los Angeles and will end in Washington, DC on Nov. 1. Marchers are walking 3,000 miles, away from family, friends, work and school, to inspire and organize action to address the present and growing threat of climate change on local, national and global levels.

“Walking across the country for climate action has taken many steps—around 7 million,” said spirit marcher, Jeffrey Czerwiec. (A spirit marcher, or spirit walker, is one that has taken every single step in the journey). “Perhaps more impressive than that figure is that with each step along the way we bore witness to both the climate injustices and the local heroes that are taking extraordinary actions for their community and, in the end, the entire planet."

It is difficult to measure the long-term success of this march, but in the short-term the march is connecting activists in and across communities, and injecting new energy and inspiration to keep local fights going.

In Nebraska, the marchers organized an event with Bold Nebraska to shine light on the Keystone XL pipeline and mark the march’s crossing of the pipeline. While marching through Nebraska, a decision was made by the State Emergency Response Commission and the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency to protect oil companies by refusing to disclose which toxic chemicals were being transported via rail through Nebraskan communities.

Again, the marchers collaborated with Bold Nebraska to collect signatures in support of oil train and pipeline transparency that were delivered to Gov. Heineman on July 24 in Lincoln. Marchers carried the petition from town-to-town along the route, informing citizens and collecting signatures to demonstrate the citizens’ desire to know what dangers they face. The march hoped to heighten Nebraska's awareness of oil trains and inspire people to take action to protect their communities—and they did. The information was released to the public weeks later due to the increased pressure.

A similar situation arose in Iowa, when an announcement was made about a proposed Bakken crude oil pipeline that would run through the heart of the state. The pipeline would disturb 17 counties, thousands of landowners and provide an additional threat to Iowa's already compromised water supply. Marchers organized with advocacy groups and held a Bold Iowa Town Hall meeting, which successfully kicked-off public discussions and landowner rights education.

These examples are merely a sampling of the astonishing accomplishments of The Great March for Climate Action and its dedicated supporters. The tens of thousands of interactions and conversations enjoyed along the way are immeasurable, but crucial to the understanding of the effects of climate change. Marchers have been gathering stories from across the country of hardships from anthropogenic climate disruption. On Nov. 1, marchers will portray and represent theses stories in DC.

“It takes a community of hard working climate advocates to move a March of this magnitude across the country,” said Ed Fallon, marcher and founder of the Great March for Climate Action. “For me personally, walking every step of the way is emblematic of the kind of determination and sacrifice needed to move our country forward to grapple with the climate crisis.”

On Nov. 1, the March will meet supporters in downtown Bethesda to march for the last and final day into Washington, DC. At 1 p.m. they will hold a rally at Lafayette Park to highlight stories from the marchers about their experiences along the way. Dinner and a celebration will commence at 6:30 p.m. at St. Steven’s that evening, signifying the end of the eight-month march. Updates are available at www.climatemarch.org/dc for all those who want to join in the triumphant arrival.

It is yet to be determined what will come in the wake of the march. Some marchers plan to return to their homes and fight local issues while others will continue their work as part of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps and 350.org groups. Many will remain in DC to participate in a week of actions organized by a large coalition of environmental organizations, called Beyond Extreme Energy. The goal of Beyond Extreme Energy is to draw attention to the agency’s disregard for the environment and the voices of the people.

The marchers walking one day or more represent 37 different states and range from 3 to 83 years of age with a core group of around 50. Hundreds of other marchers have walked portions of this route to demand action on the climate crisis.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

MUST-SEE: Stephen Colbert and Neil Young Sing ‘Who’s Gonna Stand Up?’

Can Organic Agriculture Reverse Climate Change?

Studies Confirm Humans Play Significant Role in Altering Climate

Show Comments ()
Sponsored
Popular

New Mexico Tribes Step Up to Protect Land Before Fossil Fuels Vote

Native American tribes are voicing concerns and demanding input on regulations on fossil fuel development in a New Mexico county, in the latest wave of tribal voices growing louder on oil and gas development across the country.

Sandoval County, home to 12 Native tribes, will hold a final vote in January on a draft ordinance to regulate oil and gas development in the county. In packed public meetings over the proposed ordinance last week, tribal leaders called out the lack of tribal input in the draft ordinance and raised concerns over the ordinance's lack of protections for water, air and land resources.

Keep reading... Show less
iStock

How to Talk to Your Relatives About Climate Change: A Guide for the Holidays

By Abigail Dillen

Most people who know me are too polite to question climate change when I'm around, but there are relatives and old family friends who hint at the great divide between their worldviews and mine. I think they sincerely believe that I would crush the economy forever if I had my way. On the other end of the spectrum are friends and family who are alarmed by climate and genuinely want to know what we and our elected officials can do about it. But no matter who's in the mix, it's hard to bring my work home for the holidays. Most of the time it feels easier to leave our existential crisis unmentioned.

Keep reading... Show less
Print Your City! The New Raw

3D Printing Turns Plastic Trash Into Public Furniture

Dutch designers are giving Amsterdam's plastic trash a second life by creating 3D-printed benches out of discarded plastic bags.

The "XXX" plastic bench, a collaboration between The New Raw and Aectual, made its debut in late October in the Dutch capital.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular

Chocolate Makers Agree to Stop Cutting Down Forests in West Africa for Cocoa

By Mike Gaworecki

At COP23, the UN climate talks in Bonn, Germany that wrapped up last week, top cocoa-producing countries in West Africa announced new commitments to end the massive deforestation for cocoa that is occurring within their borders.

Ivory Coast and Ghana are the number one and number two cocoa-producing nations on Earth, respectively. Together, they produce about two-thirds of the world's cocoa, but that production has been tied to high rates of deforestation as well as child labor and other human rights abuses.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Food

Why Thanksgiving Is the Perfect Time to Give Up Meat

By Peter Kalmus

Of all our holidays, Thanksgiving is my favorite. It's a time out from the frenetic pace of life, a time for families to slow down and gather in the kitchen—to just be. It doesn't lend itself to the garish onslaught of commercialization. (You can sense the capitalist frustration and over-compensation in that oddest of add-ons, Black Friday). And for me, Thanksgiving was the perfect time to finally give up meat.

My journey to vegetarianism has been one of gradual awareness. In college, while living off campus, I discovered the wonders of cooking Indian food. Because the one cookbook I owned was from the Vaishnava tradition, my Indian cookery was strictly vegetarian. At a formative period of my life, I fell in love with the flavors of India. Those dishes never wanted for meat.

Keep reading... Show less
Animals
Red wolf in Randolph, North Carolina. Valerie / Flickr

Senate Republicans Push for Extinction of North Carolina's Red Wolf

Tucked away in the Senate report accompanying Monday's funding bill for the Department of the Interior is a directive to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to "end the Red Wolf recovery program and declare the Red Wolf extinct."

"Senate Republicans are trying to hammer a final nail in the coffin of the struggling red wolf recovery program," said Perrin de Jong, staff attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. "It is morally reprehensible for Senator Murkowski and her committee to push for the extinction of North Carolina's most treasured wild predator. Instead of giving up on the red wolf, Congress should fund recovery efforts, something lawmakers have cynically blocked time and time again."

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Health
Pexels

Connecting With Nature Improves Minds and Moods

By Marlene Cimons

Twentieth Century German social psychologist Erich Fromm first advanced the notion that humans hold an inborn connection to nature. Later, it was popularized by biologist E.O. Wilson as "the urge to affiliate with other forms of life." In the ensuing years, support for the positive effects of nature has gained considerable traction, grounded in a growing body of research.

In recent weeks, at least four new studies have emerged adding more validity to what science repeatedly has revealed: Being around nature is good for us. The latest research shows that interacting with nature makes the brain stronger and soothes the psyche.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
The Trump administration has proposed increased entry fees at 17 national parks, including the Grand Canyon. Grand Canyon National Park / Flickr

You Now Have More Time to Protest National Park Fee Hikes

Following widespread outrage, the National Parks Service (NPS) has extended the comment period for the public to weigh in on the proposed rate hikes at 17 of the most popular national parks across the country.

The comment period now closes Dec. 22, 2017. The original deadline had been set for Thursday.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!